McConnell Center Cafeteria
Present:Kris Cook, David Darrah, Chris Dupont, Paul Eisenmann, Michael Gallipo,
Sean Houlahan, Cheryl Savage, Lisa Stacy, Nancy Wood
Guests: Mark Geppert, John Silverio
Treasury by Kris Cook
-$43,291.08 balance at end of March. Paid out $20,000 in uniforms, UNH fields, balls, Seacoast United for Mud Jamboree, and Dover Arena. Still owe a bit more to Rochester Arena. Awaiting invoice from Berwick.
-Port-a-johns have been ordered for County Farm. To be delivered today and picked up June 15. Can extend, if wanted.
-Youth officials will be paid on a monthly basis. Adult refs will be paid per game. Nancy advocating for the youth refs to get certified for girls’ game as they have inconsistent youth refs. Michael said fine to use two adults for one game if youths are not stepping up.
-City of Dover and Schools need checks. Fee is on school web site: facilities rates and agreements. Watch numbers for >75% Dover kids.
-John chimed in that we need more balls in the shed for home games. Michael assured him we have stock; they will be distributed. Game balls will be left in the concession stand at Bellamy.
UNIFORMS and PINNIES by Cheryl Savage and Sean Houlahan
-Michael’s question: are MINIs keeping pinnies? Yes, but Cheryl said we don’t’ have time (or money) to give them subliminated ones. Regular pinnies are red. Cheryl to check inventory to see if we can do this out of stock. Otherwise, Sean will order from Jungle. Need 20 total.
-Thanks to Paul and Sean who weren’t scheduled to work uniform handout, but did. Jennifer Govoni was awesome.
-Are wet. But they’re drying. Until tomorrow’s weather! But teams are inching onto the County fields. Sneakers help to maintain surface. Teams are only practicing 2 at a time, so limited prax time. Krista was optimistic that we’d be on Bellamy 3 on Saturday. Sean reported it’s in pretty good shape.
-Nancy has called Wolfeboro to see if their field is ready for opening day, but they don’t have refs, so we’ll have to bring refs. Dustin Gray might be getting certified to ref the girls’ game.
-U9s have formal approval for Bellamy 2 for Saturdays from noon-5:00. One half lined for girls; one for boys. John asked about DMS field. Location was good, but terrible setup. Nancy to email Mary Squire to alert her to the field use.
-Paul asked about Commissioners’ Field on May 10. We need to reschedule 5 games from Opening Day. They wanted to bump the price and Michael not sure it’s a fair setup since they’d get concessions money, too. Will discuss more later.
GIRLS by Nancy Wood
-Great week. Mud Jam was awesome for 13s and 15s. Refs were strict, which was good to enforce new rules. Was very good for pre-season.
-SAYLL was a terrific day this weekend. One complaining parent, but rest were enthusiastic.
-U13s woke up after 5 minutes and gave the goalie a lot of business. Out-shot them 3-1, lots of completed passes. Groundballs and shooting need work. Played good game. Made the right decisions, even if execution was off. Good offensive motion.
-15s passing and shooting lefty. Good outing and score worked out in our favor.
-Goalie is a scholarship player. Awesome athlete and wouldn’t be playing if not for scholarship.
-Need to check sticks. 2 got called this weekend for twists; 3 new ones had octagons too tight.
-U11s: Decisions were smart and passing very efficient. 7v7 gets players lots more touches. Parents, players and coahches glad to have the change in format.
-Paul: one thing on SAYLL … one defender can come up … put it out to other coaches to see how they like this. Simpler to leave the line format 2 and 2.
-Shooting space needs to be coached for safety!
PARENT REQUEST FOR EXCEPTION by Mark Geppert
-Mark: thanked everyone for continued effort for the program. Would like to answer questions, ask some questions, and cover the chronology. Andrew was not pressured to play up. Every Berwick Academy student must play on a school team in order to fulfill the PE requirement. AD said Andrew could not play JV lax as it is their developmental program. However, AD said he could petition to tryout for varsity. Must play soccer in the fall, but he can tryout for lax, which is an involved process. Must make 1st or 2nd line.
-This was an above-board process. Went to Michael during Feb./March (note: January 23) signups to explain situation. Michael said go ahead and signup. Will likely only make 1/3 of practices and half of games. Asked Michael to run it by NHYLA. Steve Tieland said since it was only a guideline, and the spirit of the rule is for new players only. Heard that insurance might have been an issue so Mark called USLacrosse. USLacrosse asked why a varsity-level player would want to play rec ball. Mark explained it was primarily a social issue. It was also made clear that the 15s need players. USLacrosse said it is left up to the board. Would like to get clarification on why the board voted to deny the request. Is not asking for special privileges and hopes that family name isn’t a black mark. Believes any kid who can contribute should be allowed to play with Cocheco.
Sean: 1) nothing against you or Andrew. You deserve to know where I came from. If Berwick were in NH, it would be completely different. Dover or STA would be different. An 8th-grader playing high school is great for Andrew but weird. Since Cocheco has always used the ‘Baseball Rule’ to ask players to commit. There is nothing clear to say he can or cannot play, so I went on judgement that there’s too much right on the edge. I erred on the side of the Baseball Rule since it would be difficult to make the bulk of the practices.
JOHN: We have kids playing for their middle school teams and they often miss practices once in a while. They can still make the A team because they’re playing lax. Half my team should be gone because they’ll miss practices from time to time. We’re not asking for age eligible players from DHS to come back down. We are asking for a long-playing Cocheco player to be able to finish here. This isn’t the Baseball Rule.
DAVID: My first exposure to Cocheco was the parents meeting when we were told that players had to make a choice: If you’re playing baseball, we don’t need your money. If you’re playing soccer, we don’t need your money.
JOHN: We need to be consistent. There are a bunch of players who are playing two sports and still on Cocheco.
NANCY: Contacted John 2 years ago because Pierce was playing on the school team and there would be overlap. Apology for misspeaking in the emails. Hats off to you and Andrew: great kid. Great player. My objection is the way this was handled. Not by you, Mark, but because it didn’t come to the board first. She asked the question: what would Cocheco do if this came to light? Then we found out that there was already a waiver in place. My response was that if this comes to a board vote, I could not approve of it. I tell everyone that I am so grateful to John Silverio for what he has done for my son and his love of lax. Youth sports are out of control. There is no place for a varsity-level player on rec ball.
MARK: I did mention this, because it was awkward.
MICHAEL: I take the weight because I handled it and thought it was a long shot … if he made varsity. When I checked the USLax rulebook, it was a guideline, but not a prohibition. Let’s go to Steve Tieland. I might have used the wrong term. It wasn’t a waiver, but a rule clarification. Prior to this situation, we’ve never had our own policy. First time. From Steve Tieland said this has come up before and they have always said it was okay for the high school player to play rec ball, too.
NANCY: that’s why it felt like a back door deal.
MG: my apology
MARK: That’s why I’m here. If you, Nancy, had a great player, a great kid, who made varsity, would you let her play for you?
SEAN: my kids are going to BA next year, so whatever plays out here will likely affect them, too. So I defaulted to the Baseball Rule. Is this is a different conversation if BA didn’t have a lax team?
MARK: Andrew is a good player. I wanted people to know at the parents’ meeting, in a very forceful way, that this is how Cocheco plays. We are consistent and successful because we have a good process and good leadership.
DAVID: disagree that it doesn’t matter which other team you’re playing on. If we’re inconsistent, we can make it more explicit.
PAUL: Is there a rule?
CHRIS: Is the rule written anywhere? If it’s not clear, we need to clarify. My two problems:
1)it’s crazy for a varsity level player coming to play at the rec level. If you’re ready to play up, then that’s where you belong.
2)Baseball Rule, conversations here don’t clarify what it is. Is it written?
MARK: Guideline is in place so that Cocheco will be primary schedule for the duration.
PAUL: I think the Baseball Rule is a separate issue. We should review it, but we’ve done well talking about it. It’s probably unenforceable. This is about the word ‘should’. Not headcount or Andrew or being competitive, or what other towns are doing. The rule says: Refer to the Guideline. You should not let a player rostered on JV or Varsity play rec. Middle school is not mentioned, so not relevant. So the question is: what do we want to do as a board? How do we want to interpret it?
NANCY: We will have to deal with this again, for Reid and for the Houlahan girls. I wish you, Michael, had communicated the situation better. I brought it to you so John wouldn’t get in trouble. Feel very strongly that we need to go with the guideline.
CHERYL: Since we don’t know how many more times we’ll see this. He’s not a high school player, he’s an 8th grader just playing on the high school team.
SEAN: the word should is the thing. We need to make the rule official and let it play out for Andrew one way or another. My daughters are dancing, so only make one practice a week. The boys program is big enough that we can.
PAUL: That rule is slippery because it is unenforceable. We should just say that coaches can sit you for missing practices, etc., but we need to address and agree with the concept. Are we going to say that in certain circumstances, you can, in others you can’t?
MARK: I believe that if a player is playing lacrosse, it’s okay. It’s different when it’s another sport. In this unique situation: if you had full rosters, we wouldn’t be here. Go ahead and vote. Then I have another question.
CHRIS: What percentage of the schedule will he make?
MARK: Half practices, all the games.
SEAN: Doesn’t the school schedule end earlier?
JOHN: I was very insulted by a lot of the comments made during this discussion. I have done a lot for this program and it bothers me that some things have been said meanly.
DAVID: I agree with Nancy that this wasn’t handled properly, but not by you. I appreciate that you want to bring the best team forward. Wanted to not go back and forth any more on email. I apologize that my comments came across as derogatory. This is not directed at Mark or John. It’s just how it felt to board members when we heard about it after the fact.
NANCY: I talked with you at the annual meeting and you told me about it, but that was the last I thought of it. Then I heard the whole thing had been handled without going to the board.
MARK: Mission statement has to say good things about what we’re doing. Was told by other programs that if Cocheco doesn’t want Andrew, we’ll take him.
PAUL: When does your season end? Do we have 9th graders that will be available?
SEAN: We just leaned on the general guidance.
MARK: Do you do everything that the guideline say?
MICHAEL: Every variance we’ve approved has been based on letting kids play with their friends. Don’t know if everyone has seen a Boys U15 game. It’s hard core lax.
MARK: You’d need 6 Andrews to beat Bedford.
LISA called the vote: That we abide by USLax guidelines to not allow a high school rostered player to play rec ball.
Paul: 2nd motion to vote. Michael voted no. Paul voted no. Then, the vote was allowed to be interrupted by SEAN saying we need more time to discuss the rule. It’s not about Andrew, but about the situation. I honestly think Andrew would be able to play. I understand the intent. But there’s so much grayness around this, it makes it difficult for me to say yes. Interpretations are not good enough. We need a concrete rule, get it in writing and make it official. I think Andrew is gonna be able to play, because it goes back to the intent.
Sean: moved to allow Andrew to play while the board works out the language. But if the board decides against, Andrew will withdraw.
Nancy: willing to have the discussion, but feel very firmly about the Varsity/Rec thing.
Next U15 game is 4/27. Vote was 7-1 to allow Andrew to play until the board votes again.
U9s boys referees. First couple weeks we will have 2 officials on the field. Will up the cost a little, but believe this games will be done better.
Next meeting: TBD
Following the meeting, John Silverio submitted this written report via email. Thanks, John.
BOYS by John Silverio
In order to save time at the next meeting I'll just give a quick review of the agenda items not covered tonight that involved the boys side of the program.
Week 1 Update: So far things have gone pretty smoothly. The biggest challenge has been getting all the teams equal practice time between the two rinks and now the limited grass space at the court house. The coaches fully understand that all the teams are being considered equitably in the distribution of time and resources. Hopefully, next week will allow us to go forward with our formal practice schedule. Until then, we need to focus on the safety of the players and preserving the field so it lasts the spring season.
Jamboree: All involved felt it was a positive and worthwhile experience. All the teams from U11 up got to play games and the U9's got to practice on the turf. From what I understand their SAYLL Jamboree was a big success. Five other programs were involved: Timberlaine, Oyster River, Bow, Derry and Abenaki. We got positive feedback from all the visiting teams. It also gave us the venue to work with our US Lacrosse Level I and II youth officials. We have a great group of youth officials who either are or have been associated with our program.
Reschedule Update: Of the 8 home games scheduled for last Sunday, three of the teams went on the road and competed. Michael will use a Saturday on Bellemy to play the other 5 games. So from a Cocheco budget standpoint, we saved some money on officials even if the parents had to incur travel costs to make it happen.
U9 Officials: Michael said that we would use two youth officials for the games to help manage the action on and off the field more efficiently.
Dartmouth Trip: It was our second annual trip to see a local collegiate lacrosse game, and we had another great time. Special thanks to Matt Cox for his efforts in setting it up. I'm sure it will be a trip for future players down the road. Last year we got to see top ranked Duke play at Harvard and this year we were treated to #2 ranked Cornell play at Dartmouth.
Boys VP Role for the Year: Just so we're all on the same page. When the position was announced that it was open, I told Michael that if no one stepped up to do it, that I would help him out since it's too big of a job for one person with all the teams and coaches. No one stepped up so I offered again. It's been pretty time consuming so far considering I'm also coaching at the same time. I'll do it for the rest of the year, unless someone comes forward to take it for the long term. In the meantime, I'm not looking for a vote, but just to be another person to help provide a positive experience for the players, coaches and family members.