A Salmon Arm lacrosse player is in Denver to represent team Canada in the World Lacrosse Championships.
Brian Blair is playing for the Canada west team, in the 55-plus division, and competing against teams from across the world. He was hand-picked to attend, and was excited to hit the field.
The games started on July 10 and will run until the 19th.
“It’s awesome,” said Blair. “I never thought it would happen.”
Blair started playing lacrosse when he was a child, and has continued to play consistently for most of his life.
“I just tried and liked it,” said Blair. “It gets in your blood.”
Having played box lacrosse for most of his career, Blair says he isn’t concerned about playing field lacrosse at the championships; however, he thinks the biggest challenge will be the increase in altitude in Denver. He spent time preparing for the altitude shift before leaving for the games.
One of the major reasons Blair took a liking to lacrosse is because it allows him to stay active.
“It’s a great activity and good physical exercise,” said Blair. “It’s also a really good way to get rid of frustration.”
But the fitness aspect isn’t the only reason Blair loves the sport.
“The camaraderie is incredible in lacrosse,” he said. “When you’re on the floor you’re playing against a team, but afterwards you can all sit and talk.”
Blair has had multiple stints at the Canadian Masters Championships, and currently is the only Salmon Arm member of the Okanagan Masters Lacrosse team.
Blair has also tried his hand at coaching lacrosse as a way to give back to the sport. For eight years he coached teams in Langley and Aldergrove, and also spent time coaching the Shuswap Outlaws for one season, leading them to provincial championships.
His past coaching career ties into Blair’s current desire to see the lacrosse presence in Salmon Arm grow.
“It’s about trying to keep the young guys interested,” said Blair, noting he thinks every kid should at least try the sport.
Blair says lacrosse isn’t as rough as it may seem, and that it’s also a cheaper alternative to hockey.