Opinion

A very deserving hall of fame inductee

TORRENS TALK

Last Saturday, I had the pleasure and honor of attending Klahowya lacrosse coach Rob Hawley’s induction into the Washington State Lacrosse Hall of Fame. He is the third local person I have the privilege to know and work with in developing lacrosse in our community. Laurie Usher and Everett Smith (posthumously) were honored last year.

I first met Rob as one of the parents of one of my North Kitsap middle school players. He made every effort to attend his daughter’s games and we would converse about lacrosse on the sidelines. I remember very clearly one summer he brought his set of goals to our field for use because ours were being repaired. While he didn’t think it was any big deal, I knew the constant putting up, taking down, unloading and loading the goals still took some effort. It was an effort not many people would do.

I have watched Rob coach players at the summer camps and clinics Kitsap Youth Lacrosse Association (KYLA) has put on. He has an easy way about him and clearly enjoys teaching the basics of the game to new players. At the same time, he can easily switch to the higher levels of skills needed for coaching the high school kids. That may sound easy but it isn’t.

It is obvious Rob is respected by his players and youth coaches. The teams work very hard for him and themselves which has resulted in them going to the state Division II playoffs every year since 2004. All of his youth coaches are former Klahowya players. One even commuted from Seattle while attending college to be one of his coaches. That doesn’t just happen — it is the result of a really good person doing a really good job.

I have gotten to know Rob even better as a fellow board member of the KYLA. Rob and Klahowya parents, Alice and Ed Flowers, called me up two years ago when they had this idea about a youth lacrosse organization to see if I would join them. Given my own desire to see lacrosse grow in Kitsap, I said yes.

Rob has brought the same level of dedication and desire for excellence he has for his teams to KYLA. In the space of two years, KYLA has fielded two boys’ youth teams, sent girls to the North Kitsap program, hosted clinics and camps and started a boys’ summer league. Rob has been instrumental in all of that, in part by getting grant money and arranging for equipment discounts through a national lacrosse supplier as well as coaching the boys at the clinics and camps.

Rob also has instilled a desire in both of his children to play lacrosse. His daughter Ruth is one of the top Klahowya players and scorers. His fifth-grade son has already set his sights on playing for perennial powerhouse Johns Hopkins.

But, in some ways, even more impressive, is Rob had Ruth be his presenter at the banquet. Ruth did a wonderful job, but to me it spoke of his love and appreciation for his family in their support of his involvement with lacrosse. It also showed his belief in kids and their ability to rise to the occasion. I thought it was very fitting.

Rob is now one of 14 people who are in the Washington State Lacrosse Hall of Fame. Four of those 14 have come from Kitsap County (Trip Goodall started the Bainbridge boys’ program but I never knew him). Given how large the community of lacrosse is in this state — there are almost 80 boys teams and almost 40 girls teams and this does not include all the club teams at various levels — it is clear that Kitsap enjoys some very fine people in its midst.

Rob Hawley more than earned his honor. And, just like him, he will be out teaching KYLA clinics tomorrow, Oct. 12 at Marcus Whitman in Port Orchard and on Oct. 19 at Poulsbo Middle School from 1 to 4 p.m. If you want to see a top-notch coach and disciple of the game, come join him.

Rob’s induction is truly well-deserved and I’m proud to call him my friend. Congrats, Rob!

Val Torrens covers local issues for the CK Reporter and North Kitsap Herald.

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