Freshman Benett Sackheim, who plays locally for the Sacramento Aces, recently joined a nationally ranked lacrosse team called Brady’s Bunch, named after the founder’s son, Brady Wein. Wein was diagnosed with leukemia when he was three months old and was supposed to live two years. He is now 6 years old.
Sackheim will next play for Brady’s Bunch in the Denver Shootout in Denver, June 17-19.
Q: How old were you when you started playing lacrosse?
A: I was 11 years old. I’ve been playing for five years counting this upcoming spring season.
Q: What position do you play?
A: Defense. I pick the best offensive player, and that dictates if I’m on the left or the right.
Q: How much time do you practice?
A: I practice about 2-4 hours every week. Brady’s Bunch is in San Diego, so I can’t make it every week. I’ve only gone down to San Diego to practice three times.
Q: What team is more important to you – the Aces or Brady’s Bunch?
A: I think Brady’s Bunch is more important to me because they participate in tournaments that have college recruiters at them.
Q: How did you hear about Brady’s Bunch?
A: Seeing the Brady’s Bunch at tournaments and seeing them crush everyone that they played made me want to play with them. It just didn’t seem realistic that they were that good.
Q: What did you have to do to get on the team?
A: I got invited to this camp called “Camp 12” at UC San Diego. It’s a rigorous training camp. While at the camp there were coaches scouting for kids they would want to play on their teams.
Q: How many people are on your national team?
A: There are at least 15, but the roster isn’t set in stone and can change any time.
Q: Where are they from?
A: Mostly the kids are from San Diego and other parts of Southern California, but we have some from Oregon, Washington, Colorado and Texas.
Q: Is this your first time playing on a national travel team?
A: Yes, and so far it’s been an unreal experience. I’m meeting some of the college recruiters. Seeing the recruiters while I play is both exciting and nerve-racking.
Q: Where do you travel?
A: The furthest we’ve gone is Virginia. (It was extremely windy and unpleasant every day.) In January I (traveled) to a tournament in Palm Springs.
Q: What teams did you play against in Virginia?
A: I played against teams from Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Virginia and two teams from the West Coast.
Q: How was it different from playing in California?
A: The referees are way more strict. East Coast kids have better ball control, and West Coast kids focus more on shooting and passing.
Q: What was the best part about playing there?
A: I would say seeing the variety of college recruiters. Recruiters from University of North Carolina, University of Maryland, Princeton, Tufts, Loyola, Villanova, Lafayette and others all came to recruit players.
Q: How much pressure do you feel playing for college recruiters?
A: I have to play as hard as I can all the time because you don’t really know when they’re watching.
Q: How is Brady’s Bunch doing?
A: So far we are 10-2 . We have a lot of talent on our team, but sometimes it’s hard to work as a unit. When we do it’s pretty awesome to watch.
Q: Does missing practice for Brady’s Bunch affect you a lot?
A: I usually go to practice for my local team, so when I practice with Brady’s Bunch, it’s pretty even.
Q: How much school do you miss because of this?
A: So far I’ve only missed several Fridays, which is pretty hard because it’s not easy to balance sports and academics.
Q: How do you balance playing on multiple teams?
A: Most of the time the two teams never play in the same tournament. When they do play in the same tournament, it’s hard to decide. When there’s two different tournaments and two different teams on the same weekend, I just have to make a decision. The coaches understand if I miss a tournament.
Q: What is special about your team?
A: We get a lot of cool jerseys, shorts, shirts, socks – and some kids even get sticks and shoes. We get these from the coaches, who buy them from dealers.
—By Ben Miner