Chinese philosopher Confucius is quoted as saying to students, “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.”
For Long Valley residents Tom Forbes and Doug Moore, that’s exactly what they’re hoping to accomplish with the entrepreneurial effort of 1637 Lacrosse, an organization that will instruct boys and girls of all ages on the proper play of the sport.
Both men–with six lacrosse-playing children between them–have spent time as the Long Valley Lacrosse Club’s president. Moore is a life-long resident of Washington Township and Forbes moved to the area in 2001.
The Long Valley Lacrosse Club was available to kids in grades two and up when Forbes arrived, but because his son was only in first grade at the time, there was no lacrosse activity for him.
When Forbes asked Moore if his son could play up a level, he was denied, but given the permission to try and begin a first grade level for lacrosse players.
A couple of conversations and 40 first grade players later, the club had instantly expanded, and Moore and Forbes were working together for a common goal.
“We’re both driven by the same set of goals,” Forbes said about beginning a business with Moore. “It’s not about the money, rather, providing a good product for the kids. If we have the ability to go to work with a whistle everyday, there’s nothing better than that.”
Forbes said 1637 Lacrosse has already begun running clinics–one of its top offerings as part of its business model–for middle school-aged students looking to learn the game and gain experience.
The organization, which Forbes and Moore began at a kitchen table in November 2011, will offer fall and winter clinics, in addition to summer camps. Forbes said there will also be instructional courses and seminars offered to coaches.
All young athletes are welcomed to participate in the clinics and other offerings, but Forbes said 1637’s focus is on northwestern New Jersey.
“The closest place for kids to participate in clinics and get instruction is Randolph,” Forbes said. “There isn’t much when you look west; going toward Warren Hills and up toward Newton and so on. There’s no instruction for these kids.”
Forbes and Moore will conduct some of the trainings themselves, but also have a staff of 10 trainers, many of which went through and played lacrosse at the collegiate level.
Most clinics will be held at the Sports Galaxy in Hackettstown, Forbes said.
Ask any enthusiast what one of the fundamentals of sports is, and they’ll likely tell you about the history behind the game.
The past plays a major role in 1637 Lacrosse’s philosophy, Forbes said. History shows that the first documented game of lacrosse was played by the Huron Tribe in Canada, but the year is debatable, Forbes said. It is still unverified whether the game was played in 1636 or 1637, but Forbes said he and Moore chose the latter.
“Philosophically speaking, we need to maintain a connection to the past,” Forbes said. “This game has been going on for centuries for reasons much more than just for play, and we need to respect that.”
Another philosophy the organization’s members hope to instill in their players is how to win and lose with dignity.
“We want to be teachers of the game, and want the (kids) to do that as well,” Forbes said. “This is still a game; let’s not make it bigger than life.”
Forbes explained that bringing this kind of organization to the area could help make clinics and training more affordable for players.
“Some of these clinics are so far away that you need to stay overnight to participate,” Forbes said. “Doing this locally can drastically reduce the cost of travel, and our clinic prices are less expensive as well.”
Forbes said a five-hour clinic with 1637 Lacrosse could cost between $150 and $175, and that comparably speaking, his organization’s prices are around 30-percent less expensive than other programs.
Forbes and Moore aren’t worried about competing, though. They’re just looking forward to doing what they love and sharing that philosophy with their students.