The Scoop Winter 2016 - Page 11

Fortunately, this does not happen very often.

Jim Dalton finds this balance in “representing the region and bringing the concerns of the directors of towns to the board, and I take that seriously." Dalton is a new director, but feels that if he makes a point he is listened to. “It’s a big organization, so maybe there are things you’d always like to adapt quicker or be changed quicker, but it is a big ship to turn," he confesses. "I think it’s a great organization when you think about the towns and cities we represent.” Dalton praises MBYLL President Tom Spangenberg for being an organized guy “who knows how to listen to people, motivate people, but also run things efficiently.”

MBYLL has a classic league and a select league. The select league has standings and playoffs and the classic—which has neither—is more of a teaching league. Another important part of MBYLL is its scheduling motto: "Like Who You Play, Play Who You Like." This can cause issues for scheduling the regular eight game Sunday schedule. Coleman notes, “We want to make sure the schedules are as balanced as possible: there are stronger programs and there are developing ones; some have 12 teams and some have three teams.” Coleman explains that this is an example of finding a balance within being on the board of directors and being the regional director. The “Play Who You Want” concept sets MBYLL apart and makes the relationship between the regional directors and the towns better and stronger in general.

Disagreements between the league’s board of directors and the regional directors can happen from time-to-time. A rule change that lets some of the younger players use certain types of equipment (like a long defenseman stick) might

require serious discourse. Being on the board of directors and presiding over regional matters “is a balancing act,” Coleman says.

Being such a large organization divided into multiple regions with many towns and many teams (around 950 in total) there will always be areas that need improvement and conflicts to be addressed. Being an entirely volunteer–run organization means those board directors and regional directors must have day jobs. Jim Dalton has worked at the Lighthouse

School in Chelmsford for over 29 years as a school administrator and says what he does professionally helps him run his region.

Dalton goes back to his job when he thinks about the meetings. “If you have a bunch of feelings you don’t share or resolve there’s going to be a buildup of anger over time,” he says. This is another reason the regional meetings are so crucial. The directors go back to their towns as Dalton is quite familiar with as a coach and director for Chelmsford Youth Lacrosse, so he must go back to the town coaches and the parents and talk about what is happening at the league level. Dalton also has to be able to represent what they want when he goes back to the region and then ultimately to the board of directors. He says the process flows “grassroots up.” Ultimately, it comes down to being a good leader and learning how to help his region along with the board of directors.

Regional meetings are important for the towns in the region and everyone involved. Through these meetings, all directors agree that communication is what is gained and coaches and directors and everyone who attends get to build relationships. These meetings bring together every program in the region.

“Program directors get to know each other so if and when there are issues during the season, they know who the ‘other guy’ is,” says Swenson. "Everyone at the meetings has the common interest—which is of course lacrosse—and at these meetings a kind of bond can form between everyone over this shared passion and they can discuss current lacrosse events."

The meetings allow everyone to be on the same page. The town directors have a common purpose when they come together. There are

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