Lax Grad Plays in World Championship!

Less than two months after taking the stage to accept his diploma at Brooks, Si Young "Brian" Choi '18 took to the world stage, playing lacrosse for Team South Korea at the Federation of International Lacrosse Men's World Championship in Israel.

"It is an absolute honor to represent my country in a world championship," the Seoul native emailed from Israel, where he'd joined athletes from South Korea in the 10-day tournament that kicked off on July 11 at the 13,000-seat Netanya Stadium, and continued at the Wingate Institute. "Watching and playing against great players from all around the world is extremely exciting. This is definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience!"

Lacrosse is a growing sport in South Korea. The nation has participated in the world championships since 2002, but is not among the top six teams that comprise the tournament's most-competitive "Blue Division." (The 46 competing countries are grouped into 14 divisions, each named for a color. South Korea played in the "Green Division" with Germany and France).

Choi, himself, has been playing lacrosse since the summer before middle school when he learned how at a sports camp in Virginia. "I wanted to continue playing and hopefully share this exciting sport with my friends back home in Korea," he recalls. So Choi and a friend created a team for their middle school, the Korea International School.

There's a team for everyone at Brooks School.

"We competed in high school leagues and summer leagues," he explained. "Back then, it was just a sport that I enjoyed playing. When I came to Brooks and had the opportunity to grow my knowledge of the game and skills, my perception of lacrosse completely changed, and it became my favorite sport."

During summer breaks in high school, Choi made every effort to keep up with the game back home in South Korea. "The summer before my junior year, the coach who used to coach me back in middle school asked me to try out for the national team that played in the Asian Pacific Lacrosse Championship the following summer," he writes. "Without any hesitation, I accepted his request, but I didn't expect much."

He was happily surprised then, when he was selected to play for Korea in Jeju Island, South Korea — and again to play for the country in the World Lacrosse Championship this spring.

Naturally, Choi's Brooks mentor, boys lacrosse head coach, and English Department Chair, Dean Charpentier P '20 is thrilled to see his former athlete continuing in the sport. "I've always been proud of Brian," he said. "He's been a fantastic teammate and a great young man for as long as he has been in the Brooks program. He was a leader in the community."

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Despite an injury that sidelined Choi for much of his sixth-form year, Charpentier said, "He stayed with us, worked hard, and fought his way back on the field for the last few games of his Brooks career. I can't think of anyone who would be a better ambassador for Brooks School and Brooks Lacrosse."

Choi, likewise, has only great things to say about playing lacrosse for his alma mater. "Playing at the varsity level at Brooks definitely prepared me to play as one of the representatives of my country with not only the skill sets but how to play as a team and to make sacrifices for the better of the whole group," he said.

And play he did during the recent championship – that his Brooks teammates watched online from the states. Choi took the field in at least three of the seven games that his team played before the tournament concluded with South Korea finishing 35th following wins against Mexico, Uganda and Russia. (The United States team won the championship with a 9-8 victory over Canada).

"The most important thing we can learn from Brian's experience is that if you love the game, lacrosse can provide you with some unique opportunities if you look for them," said coach Charpentier. "I've been to Australia twice to play lacrosse ... and have had a great experience coaching. Brian is playing for his national team in Israel. All you have to do is dig a little bit, and lacrosse can direct you to some really cool experiences!"

Choi is counting on that going forward. This fall, the 2018 grad reports, "I will attend Johns Hopkins University and try out for the school's varsity team as a walk-on with the hopes of learning the game at such a high level [that I can contribute] to the development of lacrosse back in Korea."

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