I had a chance to chat briefly with Brett Hughes at the California Lax Classic on Saturday while his U-13 OC Crush played the QC Starz in pool play, and I’m using that as an opportunity to highlight a passionate guy who lives loud (one of his favorite expressions).
In describing Hughes, it’s tough to know where to start. He is an Ohio native who started every game during his four years at the University of Virginia, where he was a two-time All-American; he is a six-year veteran of Major League Lacrosse, currently playing for the Ohio Machine; he has served as an assistant coach at Palos Verdes HS, the reigning LA County CIF champ; and he also is quite entertaining on Twitter — @Brett_Hughes.
But more interesting than all of that is his nonprofit organization, Lacrosse The Nations. Hughes co-founded the group with Brad Corrigan in 2008 and now serves as its chairman of the board. According to its mission statement, “Lacrosse The Nations unifies the lacrosse community to sustainably improve education and health while creating hope and opportunity for children in need.”
You can read more about LTN at its official site, but the group currently runs international programs in La Chureca and Chiquilistagua, Nicaragua, and Potrero, Costa Rica, as well as domestic programs in Charlottesville, Va., and Weinland Park, Ohio. It’s work Hughes feels passionate about — using sports, and specifically lacrosse, to teach life skills and help kids learn to be healthy.
This summer, Hughes said, he had the opportunity to apply some of that close to home, when OC Crush director Jon Fox, head coach at Foothill HS, asked Hughes if he wanted to coach a team and co-brand it with the Lacrosse The Nations colors, logo and URL. The result was a great-looking uniform worn by kids who were getting some terrific positive instruction and coaching and — hopefully — some exposure for Hughes’ worthy project.
The U-13 Crush rolled through pool play, winning four games by a combined score of 50-6 before taking a 9-6 loss to FCA in the Platinum semifinal on Sunday. Despite the loss, I can imagine Hughes looking back on Sunday and calling it by another of his favorite expressions: Another Best Day.