MaASLAX INTERVIEW SERIES: JONAS HELLER
NEW: Maaslax Interview Series
Interested what being a Lacrosse coach, board member, or player is like? Never seen Lacrosse in real life before? Maaslax would like to introduce you to a number of its coaches, board members, and players. Interesting insights into the team and and the sport are a promise, but check it out yourself!
This interview will be starring Jonas Heller, president of Maastricht Lacrosse.
What is your board position at Maastricht Lacrosse?
My position in the board of 2014 / 2015 is the one as the President. This means to coordinate the board and make sure everything runs as smoothly as possible as well as having the official meetings with UM Sport, the MUSST and other sport associations.
Is this your first board position in an association? In your opinion, how does a board position at Maastricht lacrosse differ from similar positions at other associations?
During my bachelor I worked for one of the study associations of the School of Business and Economics, namely SCOPE | 3MA, as the PR Commissioner. My tasks were completely different due to the fact that the position differed. Next to that, working for an association which belongs to the SBE directly was way more guided and help was easier to find than in the current position, especially because we were lacking a transition from the previous boards. The position of the President also differs a lot in terms of the tasks, but hopefully my previous experience as a PR Commissioner helps to spread information about the team and grow the game.
How would you describe your personal responsibilities towards the team?
My idea of responsibility towards the team is expressed in the commitment of myself and the board members towards the team. We try to achieve the best for the whole team from a sportive, social and financial point of view. In practice, this means that we want to see everyone improving in the sport and provide the team with good coaches, the possibility for extra trainings or clinics and as many scrimmages or games as possible. In addition, the social events are part of any student sport association and we try to organize as many fun activities as possible. Last but not least, we try to keep the costs for our members as low as possible, which we know is sometimes difficult because Lacrosse is quiet equipment-intensive.
As the oldest lacrosse organization in the Netherlands, Maastricht Lacrosse is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year. How would you describe the experience of being “Lama”?
Being a Lama for me is simply amazing. Due to the people and the sport I developed a passion for this team, which I barely had for any other sport or hobby. It is awesome to see how people improve on the field and have fun during practice or games and how the group grows together. It is becoming a big family of friends who not only meet each other at the field but also help each other while studying or go out together. Fifteen years of Lacrosse in the Netherlands is a milestone and I am proud to be a little part of it.
What do you like best about Maastricht Lacrosse?
I believe the passion, which especially some of the new members put in the sport and the club, is outstanding. Next to that, we still are in contact with our Alumni, also known as “The Goldmembers” which provide us with a lot of information and insights into their experiences in Maastricht. This helps a lot to efficiently manage the club and provide everyone with a good time.
In your opinion, what are the biggest improvements within the team since the implementation of the new board?
Most likely the improvements took place in several areas and are not immediately detectable. Thanks to the prior president, we were out of debt when we took over the board and managed to stabilize the financial situation while investing heavily in team equipment and training materials. Next to that, Andries managed to work on some short- and long-term sponsor contracts to ensure financial support. Tassilo and Linus worked at the material and financial planning to ensure the maximum of financial subsidies from the university. In addition, old equipment was removed and inventory was introduced. Linus worked hard on the Chamber of Commerce documents and renewed our bank account. Ludwig managed to renew the webpage and increase the awareness of the team by investing in promotion material and activities, as well as using social media channels like Facebook and Twitter. Especially the new Facebook page for our mascot “Lenny, The Lama” (brought to life by Tassilo and Andries) is always funny to follow and Coach Ivan usually provides plenty of input in terms of funny pictures or quotes. Jenny organized plenty of awesome social events like the walking dinner, team evenings, a Christmas party in the Shamrock and also works towards the 3rd Lustrum Event. Next to that, she is in contact with plenty of clubs in the Netherlands and Belgium to organize scrimmages. Coach Inki supports with her contacts in the German Lacrosse community. Next to that, her main task, coaching our women’s team, is executed in a perfect manner and I can’t believe how much improvement the girls made, given the fact that the team is fairly young. Coach Carlos unfortunately is still injured and can’t play at the moment but shows an incredible passion when it comes to coaching the men’s team on and off the field. Besides that, we were able to strengthen or network with the university and it’s bodies, namely the MUSST and UM Sport. We also started to bond more with other associations to strengthen or position as a sport team in Maastricht.
What could be improved within the organization of the team?
There are always plenty of things to improve and probably I hardly will be satisfied with any situation. If the teams continue the growth they are undertaking at the moment, we should think of adding additional practice hours to prepare for the entry in the league again. The equipment storage rooms are not perfect and we are working on a possible solution. Next to that, we could use some more people in both teams which are able to ref potential games. In general it is a slow but steady path of improvement and the biggest potential problem in my opinion is to get consistency into the team, from a sportive as well as from an administrative point of view.
Can you think of a team moment to remember?
There are always ups and downs, in the team, with the board and during practice. We had hard moments in which people shouted at each other and the day after they went out for a drink again. It is not always easy, but it is always worth all the effort everyone puts in this team. There are plenty of funny moments, many nights of which I remember the beginning but not the end, which usually calls for an awesome night. I particular remember the first tournament we participated as a whole team this year, the Newcomers Tournament in Nijmegen. We went there and most of the people did not know each other as it was three weeks after the first practice. This awesome day in Nijmegen made the team grow, the girls even ended up second in a close final. I remember standing at the sideline with the boys, some of them did not even know each individual girl on the field but it did not matter to them: they were cheering and shouting to support their team, and for me that is what it is all about. Playing together, supporting each other and having a good time on and off the field.