“Champions aren’t made in gyms. Champions are made from something deep inside them — a desire, a dream, a vision, a goal.”
I saw this quote on one of those sports quotes twitter accounts. And I re-read the quote over and over again in my head.
It wasn’t credited to anyone famous.
The quote just stood out to me and I wondered who in the game of Lacrosse has these champion-like qualities?
Instantly, I thought of Warrior National Prospect Invite director Chris Boland. The 30-year old possesses those champion qualities of, a vision, a dream, a desire, and a goal deep within him.
I followed Chris throughout his playing career and always knew he was a tremendous leader. Chris is someone you would in a heartbeat go to battle with. But I didn’t see it up close until last year.
Last spring, Boland called me up to help with promoting the WarriorNPI. First, I was flattered he thought of me. And second, I knew this event would be great because Boland was directing it.
But watching him work and lead his team of employees for the event last summer for the inaugural WarriorNPI was something to see.
Chris wants the NPI to be a great event and for the players that are nominated to leave with a great experience. Not to just get recruited and be seen by colleges. But to learn to respect the game and to be able to play the game the right way.
Boland says being a champion involves many things factors, hard work, unselfishness, toughness, perseverance, grit.
“I always seem to come back on consistent accountability. Not only of yourself first, but others. Having a common goal in mind and holding yourself to that standard each and every day is not easy. Being able to then hold others to that standard is even harder.”
Before joining Legacy Global Sports Lacrosse and spearheading the WarriorNPI, Boland paved his career starting in high school in Baltimore at one of the most competitive schools in the country, the Boys’ Latin school in Baltimore, Maryland.
In 2006, Boys’ Latin had one of its best seasons in program history. The Lakers went undefeated and won the MIAA-A conference title. Boys’ Latin was crowned the National Champions. Boland was a big part of that season, scoring 35 goals and 71 assists, and he finished his high school career with 123 goals and 175 assists and was a Three-time All-American and was an All-Metro Selection.
Boland reflects on his final year for the Lakers. “It was incredibly rewarding. As a senior class, we had come so close the previous years- so to cap off your high school career with an undefeated season and MIAA championship was extremely exciting. There is nothing like winning a championship. Knowing all the work you had put in all year has paid off is something you cherish forever. It will always be a moment that we look back on and remember as a senior class.”
The success continued at the next level for Boland where he helped guide another program with a rich tradition, John’s Hopkins University win the 2007 NCAA Men’s D1 National Championship. He led the Blue Jays in scoring in 2009 and 2011. Boland is the only Hopkins player to have scored five-goals in a first round NCAA tournament game in the Blue Jays victory over Brown University.
Boland cherishes the relationships he formed while playing at John’s Hopkins. “Those relationships will always be there and my former teammates are some of my closest friends to this day. The moment you step foot on campus you immediately are a part of a family that has a rich history and tradition of success.”
“I have been very lucky to be a part of some great teams and programs with very rich traditions. After all the personal and team accolades, the thing I am most proud of is being a captain. Not only at Boys’ Latin, but fortunate enough to be a 2x captain at Johns Hopkins University. There isn’t a higher honor of respect then to be voted by your teammates to lead the team.”
The one thing Boland can say that a lot of players in the game can’t say is that he got to play for two of the games best coaches, Bobby Shriver (Boys’ Latin) and Dave Pietramala (John’s Hopkins).
Shriver just retired as the Lakers head coach at the end of the 2014 season. Concluding a 36-year coaching career. Shriver won 6 Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA/MSA) A-conference championships at Boys’ Latin, including three undefeated seasons that resulted in a No.1 National Ranking.
Pietramala is still currently (17th season) the head coach for the Blue Jays. “Coach Bobby Shriver and Coach Pietramala have impacted my life so much that it has shaped me into the person I am today. I learned more from them by watching the way they carried themselves than their actual words. Their commitment to each player’s personal development not only as a player but a person is unmatched. They knew when to push and they knew when to put an arm around someone. However, they always loved and were empathetic. Finding a balance and committing to individual relationships ultimately leads to everyone buying in and they both taught me the importance of that.”
Boland loves to compete on and off the field.
Chris is the head coach of the Northeastern University men’s team that plays in the MCLA, which is the highly competitive collegiate club league. And the (N0. 24 in the country) Huskies just recently won their 5th PCLL (Pioneer Collegiate Lacrosse League) championship.
The WarriorNPI is a Legacy Global Sports Lacrosse event which takes place in the middle of July along with the National Lacrosse Classic, National Lacrosse Academy and brand new this year, the Collegiate Preview.
The players that are invited to the NPI have gone through a pretty thorough selection process.
“I think wanting to compete at the highest level against elite level athletes is something that you should always be looking for. Competing outside of your comfort zone and giving yourself opportunities to improve your development is what ultimately builds a champion. With the National Prospect Invite, we have created an atmosphere that provides just that. An event that brings together elite student-athletes from all over the country through a strict online nomination process. Players are selected based off of not only lacrosse ability but the student and person as well. GPA, test scores, extracurricular activities, and character are just some of the things taken into consideration when our selection committee is evaluating applications.”
It’s a goal for Boland to make the WarriorNPI one of the games best events for student athletes. And with a champion directing it, it already is growing into a hot destination for student athletes.