A Pro Athlete’s Awesome Response To A Young Boy’s Fan Letter
By Alex Flanagan
Do you remember who you idolized growing up? Did you ever write them a fan letter? I bet you never got a letter back like the one below.
A friend of mine was absolutely ecstatic when her son received a reply from one of his sports heroes recently. She helped her 4th grader send a letter to professional Lacrosse player, Max Seibald, knowing it was unlikely he would get a response. She was blown away when the Major League Lacrosse player not only wrote back, but thoughtfully answered every one of her son’s questions.
A Pro Athlete’s Awesome Response To A Young Boy’s Fan Letter
My name is Evan, I am almost ten years old, and I play lacrosse middie for two teams in California. One of them is a competitive team that is almost year-round called the Rotten Cheeseburgers and the other team is an invitational team for all of San Diego. That team is called the San Diego Blues.
My coaches on the Blues assigned me the number 42 because they think you and I are alike. That made me feel really good because you are an amazing player. I watch your videos online.
I wanted to ask you a few questions. If you have time to answer them, that would be great.
- What technique do you use to make your shot so fast? And is there a special way you like to string your head that helps?
- What head would you recommend for me? (I currently play with a Maverick Optik head with a Beach Front Lax shaft. I put StringKing mesh on it.)
- What is your favorite thing to do in the off-season? I like to play flag football, basketball, and race my BMX bike.
- What is your favorite dodge? I like the split dodge.
- I really want to play in college. What did you do to get into Cornell University?
- What is the best advice a coach has ever given you? I really like my coaches and want to be the best I can.
- Are you going to be in California anytime soon for a game? I would love to see you play a game.
Here’s an article about RC. A lot of us play on both teams, http://www.delmartimes.net/encinitas-advocate/news/sd-cm-enc-lacrosse-dec8-story.html I’m the one on the far left, in the second row, holding my #1 finger up, next to my friend with long blond hair.
Thanks for reaching out. Fun fact, I am very good friends and also former teammates with three players from the original Rotten Cheeseburgers team. They all ended up playing at Cornell with me. Jake Myers, John Luoto, and Nick Gradinger.
- The simplest advice I can give to shoot hard is to use your whole body. It starts with a strong and long leg drive followed by driving the hips through and finishing off with the arms and a snap of the wrists. One of my favorite ways to work on this is to get a ‘no bounce lacrosse ball‘ and shoot against a wall. If you have a favorite wall ball spot, all you need to do is change your ball to a no bounce ball and follow this routine. From 5 yards away shoot 25 right and 25 lefty overhand as hard as you can without stepping into it, just upper body movement. Back up to 7-8 yard and do the same routine but now with one big step into the shot. And last, back up to about 10-12 yards and do the same routine, but now with a full crow hop into the shot. That’s 150 shots! And it won’t take much longer than 10-15 minutes. Your arms will be burning, but it will really work all the functional muscles you use to shoot. You can even start off with less reps and build your way up to that, but that is my routine. As far as my string job, it changes all the time. My techniques and fundamentals don’t change, so I like to think I can pick up any stick and still be able to do pretty much the same thing. That’s why they say “its not the wand, it’s the wizard!” But if I do need some stringing advice, I usually rely on: https://stringking.com/ustring/
- Like I said before, the stick shouldn’t make all the difference, however my favorite is the Nike Lakota (biased because I had some input designing it) and the Nike Vapor Elite with StringKing mesh.
- My favorite things to do in the off season are travel, play other sports, and my new-found hobby is reading. I try to be a student at all times and learn as much as I can from anyone I can, and books are a great way for me to do that.
- My favorite dodge when executed to perfection is the bull dodge. When I successfully run someone over and then bury a goal, there’s no other feeling quite like it.
- Getting to Cornell was a culmination of years and years of playing the game. I never really looked at it as hard work, because having the stick in my hands, playing wall ball, shooting on the cage before and after practice was just fun for me. But even more so, I think one of the best things I did that allowed me to get to play at the next level, was that I always played other sports. I played football, soccer, ran track and played lacrosse in high school. Playing other sports added a lot to my lacrosse game, taught me many different skills that I could transfer over, and kept the game fresh for me so when spring time came around all I wanted to do was play lacrosse.
- My coach at Cornell, Coach Tambroni, was always full of advice. Some of the things he said to me that always stuck were: “Do not fear failure.” If you are constantly worried about messing up you will always grip your stick too tight and never be able to play to your potential. And with that, “Give 100%, 100% of the time.” If you are going hard and you are passionate about what you are doing, it doesn’t matter if you make a mistake, you just learn from it. Everyone makes mistakes, it’s about having a short memory, becoming better from the mistake, and worrying about executing the next play.
- No plans to be out in California anytime soon for a game, but will be sure to let you know if that changes.
Good luck with everything and feel free to reach out anytime. Honored to have you wearing 42.
All the best, my friend,
Alex Flanagan co-founded I love to watch you play in 2015. She was flying home from an NFL work assignment when a learning specialist, who was sitting next to her, shared 5 reasons she shouldn’t feel guilty missing her son’s game. She shared their conversation on her own website alexflanagan.com and the response was so overwhelming it inspired her to create ILTWYP to help parents like herself navigate youth sports.