Steamboat Springs It’s never been hard to catch the lacrosse bug in Steamboat Springs.
That bug got its start somewhere, and maybe no two individuals define the Steamboat Springs and lacrosse relationship better than the Flax brothers.
Andy and Jake Flax started in 2003 during the game’s infancy. Picking up a stick at 14 years old originally meant passing time between hockey seasons.
But as the game grew, so did their interest. They played at Steamboat Springs High School, went to Colorado State University to play club lacrosse and eventually helped the Rams to a conference championship.
The two no longer play, but the bug still is with them. And as the Steamboat Classic Lacrosse Tournament opened play Saturday, it wasn’t hard to find the Flaxes.
Andy is coaching a U15 team this weekend, and Jake has a U12 team.
The two also helped coach the freshman team at the high school this spring.
“Steamboat lacrosse is what we do,” Jake said. “As far as other jobs and opportunities we could be doing, it doesn’t compare to this. We want to be involved in this program. We’ve seen it go from the bottom of the pile to where the varsity just won its first playoff game.”
The Flaxes certainly have seen the program grow up. When they first picked up sticks as freshmen in 2003, the ball pinballed around the gymnasium.
When the Flaxes graduated in 2006, the program had progressed.
Now, it’s to the point where the high school team — which is split into two classifications — has a legitimate shot to compete for a state championship.
“The fact they get to play so young — I’m jealous,” Andy said. “It’s awesome they get to. The game here just keeps getting better. This helps us keep involved.”
For the Flaxes, the game of lacrosse has gripped them, and they don’t want it to let go. Each has helped out with Steamboat Youth Lacrosse for years and has become a fixture with the program.
“We don’t see any better coaches than Andy and Jake when we travel around the state of Colorado,” said Neill Redfern, the Steamboat Youth Lacrosse director. “They’re great role models. They know the game inside and out. We’re lucky to have them. They could coach anywhere at any level. I mean who wouldn’t want them on the sideline?”
The two said they aren’t sure what the future holds, but as they’ve grown with lacrosse in Steamboat, they remain certain of one thing: Lacrosse is and always will remain part of their lives.
“This,” Andy said while gesturing behind him to a field full of eighth-graders, “is what we love to do every day.”
To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com