ALL West Women-rekindling love of lacrosse

by Savanna Smith

(Meg during ALL West Women's game Team Black vs Team Blue)

Megan Kinna started her love of lacrosse after watching her older brother and uncle play, and this contributed to her beginning her lacrosse journey at the age of four. Megan has been playing lacrosse for almost 20 years, and has played both box, and field lacrosse on co-ed and female only teams. Megan was a member of Team BC female box and field lacrosse, this was a driving force that lead to Megan trying out and becoming a member of Team Canada Lacrosse, were she represented Canada in 2015, 2017, and most recently 2022 in Worlds and World Sixes. She will be representing Team Canada Lacrosse again at the World Sixes tournament behind held on October 23rd to the 24th in Sparks, Maryland. 

“If you could go back and talk to your previous self, as you were learning the sport and facing challenges what advice would you give them?” 

Be patient with yourself, you’ll make mistakes! One of my coaches recently told me that if you make a mistake on a play, in the sport of lacrosse, that same play will happen again and you’ll get another chance. So don’t let it weigh you down. 
Also don’t lose the fun as the game becomes more serious. I heard a quote recently on a podcast about Steve Jobs that said, “stay hungry, stay foolish,” I think this is a great mindset to have in lacrosse too.

Lacrosse has been a passion of Megan’s and provided extraordinary opportunities, that have help her both on and off the lacrosse floor or field. From this passion that drove Megan to begin to coach young female players in B.C. and provide ways to help elevate the next generation of players. Megan has coached for 8 years in a variety of lacrosse disciplines starting with Ridge Meadows Minor Lacrosse Association, and most recently with Fusion West Lacrosse and Fusion Spirit Foundation. 

“What made you decide to coach lacrosse and give back to the community?”

I find coaching lacrosse incredibly rewarding, I want to share the game with as many people as I possibly can in hopes that the younger generation of players can reap the benefits of sticking with this incredible sport. 
There were so many coaches that impacted my lacrosse career so I felt it was my time to pass along the things I’ve learned in thanks to those that impacted me.

We live in a time where we are at a cross roads in sport, with the emphasis beginning to shift gears and look at sport through a Holistic approach. Understanding that there is more to a sport than just the physical aspects, that the mental (emotional/ intellectual) parts are more important. Athletes have begun to talk more about mental wellness and their journey in sport, and the challenges they faced as a way to help those around them who might be struggling themselves. Megan has begun to share her mental wellness journey, and how it has helped her grow.  

“What made you decide to share your story with others, and how has lacrosse helped you in your journey to heal?” 

I found it really important to share my story because of how many student-athlete’s mental health suffers without being talked about. I found similarities in other peoples stories and I think that’s the thing about sharing what you’re going through with others. Being vulnerable builds a sense of connection and belonging even if you’ve never met the person before, there’s this “a-ha” moment where you say “I’ve been there” or “this sounds really similar to what I’ve been through.” I believe in a world full of division my goal is to make people feel important by listening and bringing people together by sharing my story to find that relatedness.(Meg Kinna during the 2022 World Lacrosse Tournament)

In 2022, World Lacrosse announced that Women's Box Lacrosse would be at the World Stage for 2023. With this being the first time that Women's Box lacrosse would be at the International Stage; with this new opportunity Megan has since added another goal to represent Team Canada on the World Stage in Women's Box Lacrosse. Megan played on the Senior Women's Salmon Bellies in 2022, were her team won their Provincial Championships; and she played on Fusion West Lacrosse Women's Box Lacrosse team that won gold in the first ever US BOXLA Women's division in August of 2022.

“What is your pre-game ritual, and how does it mentally prepare you for your game?”

In college I used to really chill out before the games. I would lay in bed with my eyes closed and visualize what I wanted to do on the field that day. Then I would meditate before I left the house for 10 minutes using the “Calm” app. Oh and I’d make an espresso shot for Selena [Lasota] and I. Then once in the locker room I try to stay loose, getting my teammates hyped and laughing. That mainly involves myself dancing. It’s my favourite thing to do besides lacrosse and cooking.(Meg Kinna with ALL West Team Blue teammate Morgan Sherley, during the final weekend of the inaugural season)

In January of 2022, Megan participated in the inaugural season for the Arena Lacrosse League West Women’s were she played on Team Blue. Megan finished the season with 9 goals, 9 assists and 2 penalties in her 5 game season. Megan is looking forward to her second season with ALL West Women's and the continued growth of the league, which has opened doors for female box lacrosse in British Columbia.

“What did you enjoy about the ALL and do you believe it will aid in your goal to represent Canada again at the world stage in box lacrosse or sixes?” 

The ALL rekindled my love for not only box lacrosse but the game entirely. I came home a year earlier from University after undergoing mental health challenges, I had stopped playing collegiate lacrosse and thought my lax career was forever gone with a this new diagnosis I received. After recovering and moving to Vancouver this opportunity to play again arose with ALL. I was a bit hesitant at first but once I stepped on the floor again it felt like I was back. The season offered healing for me to have a healthy relationship with the game and have a ton of fun with new and old teammates. Whether it's sixes or playing box lacrosse for Team Canada, I know having another season of ALL will prepare me for whatever the future might hold on the world stage.

(Meg Kinna during the 2022 World Lacrosse Tournament)