This is the story of how and why we’re building Rabil Events, Part 2
PR: Whoa. All of a sudden it’s December, Rabil Tour 2017’s Florida finale ended our 13-market event series with excitement and gratitude (we donated $5,000 in lacrosse sticks to the Florida Youth Lacrosse Foundation and DIVE program), my co-founder Mick Davis picked up his bags in San Francisco to move to our humble HQ in Baltimore, and we just announced our 2018 Rabil Tour dates and locations!
Welcome back and thanks for tuning into Part 2.
By way of background, in our first LinkedIn article, Mick and I set the stage for how we started working together and what we’re building under our new lacrosse company, Rabil Events.
We signed off with a mission statement, curated over the course of several conversations attempting to answer the question: “What does Rabil Events do?”. The mission statement read:
Rabil Events creates great lacrosse experiences by the best players in the world
And that’s where we’ve decided to pick back up. Admittedly, we’re 6 months behind…so there’s a lot that’s happened that we’d like to share with you. Say, Mick?
MD: Yep. For those tuning back in, I’ll take the heat for the tardiness on Part II of our saga. Honestly – I made the first draft a few months ago, didn’t like the result, and the dust began to collect.
PR: Equal heat. Media and timeliness are supposed to be my things.
MD: Fair. Back to (the) business. As we discussed in the first part, Paul and I began our journey with a handful of different ideas. We considered partnering with existing lacrosse organizations, attempting to revitalize rec lacrosse, creating our own tournaments and showcases, and the list goes on.
PR: In the end, we wanted to do something that was impactful, we were uniquely positioned to accomplish, and got us excited.
We experienced an “aha moment” when Mick and I were in the middle of the first stops along the Rabil Tour – and we started to see something click.
MD: We had a pretty good idea that players and parents would respond well to training events featuring Paul. He’s spent years building an educational skill-set; I’ve also never seen anybody connect with players and parents like he does.
It was Paul that wanted to take things further with the event – creating a national tour that combined a world-class training experience with a high-energy festival vibe, and a rock band motif. Paul – you do a much better job of explaining.
PR: Nope. That was great, Mick.
We wanted to build our instructional series as a world-class band imagines an album tour – rich with content, energy, competition, and fun. Moreover, we created an atmosphere that was also inviting to the parents. We wanted the entire household there with us.
MD: From the beginning, Paul and I loved the event-concept. Working within Paul’s tight schedule – creating events gave us the ability to focus our energy with bursts of time on the ground. It also gave us the flexibility to operate on a national level immediately, giving us the chance to serve a broader community of players and parents.
Rabil Tour solidified our position on events. We were learning how to operate, players and parents were responding well, and we were having fun… But Paul can only host so many events.
PR: This is the exciting part. Looping back to our mission statement, our goal isn’t to just have a singular, exciting property. We want to replicate the experiences we’ve created on tour, and build new, innovative properties with other top-notch lacrosse players who want to pursue a greater level of entrepreneurial involvement in the youth space. As top performers at the professional level (and close allies), we had a ton of energy around finding ways to get other pro’s involved.
MD: We goaled towards empowering other players – creating a platform for athlete-driven brands and events. The concept felt unique and impactful, and we loved it for a few reasons.
PR: Yep. And to unpack those feelings – want to quickly address your word “empower”.
We went back-and-forth on a Board Call on whether the mission would read: “…creates great lacrosse experiences WITH the best players in the world” or “…creates great lacrosse experiences BY the best players in the world”.
MD: I initially favored the former as my OCD around grammar can genuinely take a toll on me. Note: I’m not proud of that self-assessment.
Grammar aside, the intention was spot-on. “By” the best lacrosse players in the world implies ownership and agency in the creative process via the players.
When you walk into a Rabil Event we want you to know it’s going to be a great experience because the final product comes from a player that has spent countless hours perfecting his or her craft – and put pen to paper to curate an experience that will provide a ton of value. It’s one of the items that elevates the event to an experience.
PR: One of the broader goals that we have as a team – and a common goal that we share with many peers in the sport of lacrosse – is to drive the sport forward by putting more sticks in hands.
Our hope is that our efforts with Rabil Events will create more space for our partners to pursue lacrosse careers on their own terms and condition the market for others to do the same.
Creating more careers in lacrosse signifies a virtuous cycle of growth for the sport. More careers in lacrosse, more sticks in hand.
MD: Another piece that we love. Through our conversations with parents, operators, and coaches, we identified the feeling that there’s a lot of “noise” in the youth lacrosse world. I’ve personally heard it called the “Wild West” probably 15-20 times at this point.
PR: If you had a nickel for…
MD: Many parents have a tough time making informed decisions when it comes to youth sports – and lacrosse is no different. Parents put a lot of stock in their decisions regarding their children, and choosing the right experience – be it club team, rec team, showcase, or personal trainer – can be tough.
By creating events behind the brands of the best players in the world, we hope to provide peace-of-mind for parents who know they will be getting an incredible training experience.
PR: So to summarize a bit on our goals for Rabil Events:
Goal #1 – Provide unique and valuable lacrosse experiences for young players
Goal #2 – Empower the best players in the world to create youth lacrosse experiences
Goal #3 – Provide thought-leadership in the youth space through our network of players and partners
MD: That’s right – and in Part 3 of our LinkedIn series, we’ll tell you why we partnered with Kyle Hartzell and Tucker Durkin to launch The Defensive Academy, as well as Scott Rodgers and his new property, Scotty Rodger’s Goalie Training.
PR: For now, you can check out their websites – shout-out Rabil Companies Head of Product, Neil Savage, on the design. You can also register for an event near you.
MD: We’re super proud of the product and feedback we’ve received so far from The Defensive Academy and Scott Rodger’s Goalie Training. By the end of 2017, we’ll have successfully run 30 events between both properties. Huge props to Kyle, Tucker, & Scotty for taking the early leap with us; we can’t wait to see what the future holds. And to those reading – we hope to see you at an event soon.
PR: Final highlight. As we’ve underscored the importance of the people working at Rabil Events matched with the families we work with, I wanted to end with the announcement of our latest hire: Director of Events, assumed by my father, Allan Rabil.
We’re especially excited to get “Big Al” in-office not only for his senior leadership but his cultural and experiential skill sets in the workplace. At an early age, my Dad taught me how to work hard, with discipline, empathy, and compassion. I’m grateful for his many distributions to me and am energized to leverage his seniority for the future success of Rabil Events. Also, few can articulate the challenges of raising a young student-athlete, making multi-sport decisions, while understanding the intricate recruiting landscape, and develop character more than him. We want to add these learned lessons to our future programming for parents.
Note: if you want to help host an event – we’re just an email away email@example.com.