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2009 E-Lacrosse Feature: Stenersen, Pope Inducted into local Halls of Fame

Steve Stenersen, the President and CEO of Baltimore-based US Lacrosse will be inducted into US Lacrosse's Greater Baltimore Chapter Hall of Fame Saturday. The induction ceremony will take place at The Grand Lodge in Hunt Valley, Md. Renee Ensor Pope was inducted into the US Lacrosse Chesapeake Chapter Hall of Fame on Jan. 25th. Both are good friends of mine and deserving of the honor.

Last year, SportsEvents Magazine named Stenersen on its list of the 25 most influential leaders in the sports industry. He's easily the most influential individual in our game. Like any president, he has his fans and his detractors. I have been both over the years but though every experience he has always been a thoughtful leader who had the best interests of the game and the governing body at heart. Under his leadership, US Lacrosse has increased its membership to 275,000 members from like 5,000. I am also proud to have been one of the 5,000. Steve is one of the big reasons people say lacrosse is the fastest growing sport in the country.

Steve joined the Lacrosse Foundation as the editor of my favorite publication, at the time, Lacrosse Magazine, after starring at the University of North Carolina as a dominant faceoff man for championship teams. He was a St. Paul's athlete before that and a Mount Washington star after, so I saw him play his whole career.

Steve oversaw the transformation of the Lacrosse Foundation to what is now US Lacrosse, the governing body of our national game with over 60 chapters, and the leading organization in the world of lacrosse, which is now played in over 30 nations formally.

Steve was pivotal in the building of the US Lacrosse headquarters and museum, and the plans for a new 42,000-square foot National Lacrosse Center with a 3,000-seat exhibition field.

On a personal level, Steve has been a confidential and confident counsel to me for years and has always been a supporter of my efforts in lacrosse. I am somewhat stunned that he has not already been inducted into the Hall of Fame nationally, but this Baltimore Chapter inclusion is a start. Congratulations, Steve!

Renee Ensor Pope has been a friend for a long time. I always support anything she does because it always advances the game and her teams are our country's best and most prolific ambassadors of the sport.

The Hero's Women's club team has been to most lacrosse-playing nations and most big tournaments in the U.S. Here's a list of their accomplishments from a recent article: "In addition to 6 consecutive top 3 rankings in the MACLL league, the team finished: 1st at "Charm City 2007, 2006 & 2003," "Ocean City Lax Classic 2006," "E-Lacrosse Amsterdam 2004," "Laxtoberfest 2001 & 2002," and "Lax Vegas 2000" tournaments; 2nd at the "Florida Lacrosse Classic 2006," "E-Lacrosse London 2004," "Charm City 2004," "Mardi Gras 2003," "Victoria Slam 2003," Hawaii 2001," and "Lax Vegas 2001" tournaments; and 3rd at the "Ocean City Classic 2002," "Lake Placid 2002," "Mardi Gras 2005" and "Prague Cup 2001" tournaments."

They are the reigning champions of the MACLL league, and were named the Team of the Year by the US Lacrosse Women's Division Post-Collegiate Club (WDPCC). This was the inaugural recipients of this honor and they set a high bar for future winners.

The Hero's organization is more than just a women's team though. Renee runs the largest summer league in the nation, serving boys and girls from youth through old age. The Hero's annual Bull and Oyster Roast was joined this year by a charity golf tournament. These events helped fund four fully endowed annual college scholarships to Anne Arundel Community College.

Renee's "Laxtoberfest," the behemoth fall lacrosse tournament is one of the best in the nation and always supports worthy charities. I am often seen hanging out with Renee and her teams because they are just more fun than most people -- their enthusiasm and excitement are contagious. That's just one of the reasons they are so welcome and well-known all over the world of lacrosse. Congratulations to Renee!

A SIDE NOTE: Hero's Women's Post Collegiate Lacrosse Team is conducting tryouts for the 2009 squad during the months of January and February. This is a playing, charity and social commitment and is a truly fulfilling experience which I recommend highly! If interested, contact Renee directly at heros_lax@yahoo.com.

February 2, 2009
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