Lacrosse and education have been two of the passions of John Sardella’s life. A rummage through his archives last year gave him the inspiration to marry the two passions with a line of children’s books focused on the sport.
Quick Stick Harry was one of the characters developed for Sardella’s L is for Lacrosse book that he published through US Lacrosse in 2003.
“I was looking at my archives and came across Quick Stick Harry,” Sardella said. “I wanted to do it with a different twist and write it as more of a young kid just experiencing the game.”
The Quick Stick Harry series was born. In December, he published Quick Stick Harry and the Ball Hog. He followed that up with Quick Stick Harry and the Legend of Lax Bro Johnny. A third book, Quick Sticky Harry Meets Groundball Gabbie, is in the works. The first two books are available on Amazon.
“The response has been absolutely fantastic,” Sardella said. “People in lacrosse world really responded. My vision was there’s a gap with nothing like this in lacrosse. There are alphabet books like I’ve done, but not a real children’s book. People are feeding off of it.”
Sardella, a lacrosse coach for more than 30 years who is now working with the girls’ lacrosse program at Barron Collier High School in Florida, spent 15 years as a teacher and 16 years as an elementary school principal in the Liverpool (N.Y.) Central School District.
Prior to writing L is for Lacrosse, he had also published How to Start a Successful Youth Lacrosse Program. His writing took a back seat until tragedy struck his life. His wife, Margaret, was diagnosed with cancer in 2010 and died seven years later. Not able to find a book to help him deal with the pain, he was inspired to write about his own journey with loss. He published A Journey without a Map: Stories of Loss, Grief, and Moving Forward. His goal was to help others dealing with loss know they were not alone and to help them move forward.
The Quick Stick Harry series is one of the ways Sardella is moving forward.
The first book shares messages that very much resonate with the Positive Coaching Alliance — the moral of the story is about being a great teammate. The second book touches on the history of the sport, its Native American heritage and the connection players feel with the stick.
“It’s little different twist on a children’s series that young kids can relate to while you can share a message,” Sardella said.
From educator to author, Sardella is grateful for the opportunity to combine things that mean so much to him.
“It’s rewarding,” Sardella said. “It started years ago with L is for Lacrosse, supported by you guys, to a memoir of the intensity of my life experience of loss in my life. Now I get back to my roots as an educator. I have a love and passion of lacrosse and I’m sharing it at a level of being able to teach kids.”
The Best of Road Trip Dad — A Lacrosse Coaches Handbook
Dan Witmer, a college head coach for 28 years, has written a weekly blog, Road Trip Dad, for the last nine years on justlacrosse.com. He recently wrote his 450th blog for the website and has also published a “Best Of” collection.
The Best of RTD – A Lacrosse Coach’s Handbook includes 58 articles that are written for and about coaches and coaching. Within its 410 pages, there are some pieces about strategy – successful and otherwise – and others about indoor and parking lot drills. There are ‘letters of advice’ to freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors, and there are memories and takeaways from some 20 summers of working ‘old-school’ lacrosse camps.
It’s Great to Be Here: Richie Moran’s Autobiography
National Lacrosse Hall of Fame Coach Richie Moran is one of the biggest personalities in the history of the sport. A national champion as a player at Maryland, Moran won three national championships as head coach at Cornell and led the school to a NCAA-record 42-game winning streak.
It’s Great to Be Here follows the legendary coach’s birth during the Great Depression, to his family’s great sacrifice during World War II, to his years as an elite player and a revered and successful coach, to his lifetime of connecting with people in ways that only he can. The book features moving stories, priceless photos and heartfelt testimonials.
The book is available via the US Lacrosse Member Store and proceeds from the sale of the book benefit the US Lacrosse Foundation.