Boyertown boys' High lacrosse player Drew Kruger started playing lacrosse for the Pottstown P.L.A.Y. when he was in junior high. Fellow senior and teammate Jed Johnston asked him if he would try out for the team with him, and the rest, so to speak, is history.While playing lacrosse, Kruger was also taking Tae Kwon Do a Korean martial art which uses the hands and feet. He trained Tae Kwon Do at Kwons in Gilbertsville and there were many times when he went from lacrosse practice right to Tae Kwon Do class, then home to get his homework done for school the next day.
Unfortunately, he had to give up the Tae Kwon Do, because it became too hard to keep up with lacrosse, Tae Kwon Do and his school work. He was a black belt when he stopped training.
Kruger has seen the benefits that martial arts can give a person. Kruger knows that the cross training from the martial arts will help him during the lacrosse season. "It's helped my flexibility and has helped me stay in shape and with my stamina," said Kruger.
All styles of martial arts helps with discipline and respect for others. Kruger uses that discipline to help him become a better lacrosse player. If he did something wrong, it makes him think about what he did wrong and forces him to do better. The one thing that Kruger doesn't want to do is fail when he was at the dojang (Tae Kwon Do School) or the lacrosse field.
Kruger does miss Tae Kwon Do and the many aspects of it. "I miss the people and I miss my instructor," said Kruger. "It's a small school and everyone knows each other on a personal basis. It was more of a friendship and I lost that friendship with those people."
Kruger will confess that even though he's a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, the discipline that he has learned being a leader isn't one of his strong points. He lets his anger get a hold of him. Even though his anger gets the best of him at times, he still goes out and tries his best. "I stop and think about it and let it out on the field, and in the game," said Kruger.
There were times when Kruger wasn't able to get his homework done because of his hectic schedule and he got in trouble with the teachers. He confesses that his teachers gave him some leeway, but not total leeway. The teachers were pretty understanding and understood that he had a very busy schedule.
Boyertown boys' lacrosse coach Phil Repko perceives that Kruger gets the respect from his teammates by his work ethic and intensity. "Drew's attitude and intensity earn him his teammate's attention," said Repko. "I think Drew handles himself with controlled fury, which I suspect is a consequence of his martial arts training."
Drew's senior year isn't going so well, but he's having fun and playing with his friends. The team is searching for wins this year and Kruger isn't sure why the team is struggling so much.
Kruger is a defender on the team and that's his favorite position for many reasons. "I get to hit the kids, abuse the kids and be more physical," said Kruger. "I have a defensive mind for the game. I seem to understand it better."
Kruger focuses on what the offensive person is going to do
to get open. He tries to visualize how to stop the player from getting open. If he was an offensive player, he would visualize what moves to make to get open on the field to help his teammates score.
Coach Repko sees Kruger as a tough, physical, high intensity player. As a result, he tends to be in the middle of all the activity as the game unfolds. That's something that a coach wants to see from a player on the field because that shows the coach that the player wants to win.
The main goal that Kruger had coming into the season was for the Bears to make the playoffs. Kruger knew that it would be a tough task because the team lost a myriad of players from the previous season. There are a lot of players on this year's team who don't have varsity experience.
Coach Repko and his assistant coaches had goals for Kruger coming into his senior year. "We wanted Drew to be a steady player since his defensive teammates this year are inexperienced sophomores," said Repko. "We were concerned that he would try to do too much, which actually happened for a few games, but he has corrected himself rather well.
"I think if you ask Drew, his injured leg has limited his effectiveness. His brain tells him to do some things, but his body doesn't always cooperate."
Kruger will be attending St. Vincent College in Latrobe (near Pittsburgh) in the fall to major in either business finance or economics. He has spoken with the lacrosse coach about playing next year and the coach told Kruger that there may be a spot for him on the team next year. It was all depended upon what happens with the rest of the players.
Kruger is nervous about playing in college because he may have a stress fracture in his leg and that could cost him the opportunity to play.
Phil Haddad is a free lance writer for the times and ALL comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org