Interlaced Talent

Junior masters complex techniques, and builds custom-made lacrosse sticks

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Interlaced Talent

Doing a clear in a lacrosse game, junior Alexander Rodenbiker (in black) plays lacrosse against the Waukee Warriors. This game was a long and adventurous one, lasting almost three hours. “Playing in the intense summer heat made this game hard,” Rodenbiker said. “I play on the offensive side of my team, which means I have to do a lot of running around the field.”

Doing a clear in a lacrosse game, junior Alexander Rodenbiker (in black) plays lacrosse against the Waukee Warriors. This game was a long and adventurous one, lasting almost three hours. “Playing in the intense summer heat made this game hard,” Rodenbiker said. “I play on the offensive side of my team, which means I have to do a lot of running around the field.”

photo courtesy of Catelyn Rodenbiker

Doing a clear in a lacrosse game, junior Alexander Rodenbiker (in black) plays lacrosse against the Waukee Warriors. This game was a long and adventurous one, lasting almost three hours. “Playing in the intense summer heat made this game hard,” Rodenbiker said. “I play on the offensive side of my team, which means I have to do a lot of running around the field.”

photo courtesy of Catelyn Rodenbiker

photo courtesy of Catelyn Rodenbiker

Doing a clear in a lacrosse game, junior Alexander Rodenbiker (in black) plays lacrosse against the Waukee Warriors. This game was a long and adventurous one, lasting almost three hours. “Playing in the intense summer heat made this game hard,” Rodenbiker said. “I play on the offensive side of my team, which means I have to do a lot of running around the field.”

By Jordan Bakar, Millard West High School

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Being a part of the Millard West Lacrosse team, junior Alexander Rodenbiker, has a great talent of creating things such as custom-made lacrosse sticks. Rodenbiker enjoys planning and designing complex items, but he adds his own unique twist on the various projects he works on.

Having a very creative mind, Rodenbiker loves to participate in do-it-yourself projects. Rodenbiker loves to watch videos on how to create various items and arts, and usually follows along until he can do it on the spot at any given time. He normally starts these projects from scratch, or with the minimal materials needed to create the finished product. Rodenbiker usually does these projects during down time that he has, or whenever he wants to do a recreational activity.

Getting the materials to make lacrosse sticks isn’t really a challenge for Rodenbiker, and it doesn’t take up too much of his time to create one either.  He has a collection of materials from other projects he has worked on in the past that has been building up. The real challenge is making the lacrosse stick strong enough to handle and support the wear and tear caused by games, and stringing it properly.

Rodenbiker begins by acquiring a pvc pipe which he rolls outs, with the use of a heat gun and some clamps. This is to get the shaping and brace of the lacrosse stick heads. For the handle part, he finds an alloy pole or composite pole at a nearby store if he doesn’t have a wooden pole substitute. Rodenbiker then drills many holes into the lacrosse head brace in preparation to add the netting. To finish it off, Rodenbiker obtains netting fabric which he ties onto each of the drill holes to create the netting head for the stick. Rodenbiker also runs some tests on the completed pole, to see if they are par to what he feels is a satisfactory lacrosse stick.

“I take inspiration from people who have done some of the crafts I have taken a part of  and incorporate my own style,” Rodenbiker said. “I enjoy creating my own stuff, other than purchasing them or having someone else make it for me, because I like the feeling of knowing that I created it and getting that experience is very unique. I occasionally make stuff for people all the time, from making Origami, to making crafts and arts. I’ve even made commission from my works, including some of the lacrosse sticks that I have done.”

Rodenbiker also shares his expertise with his teammates on the Millard West lacrosse team. Rodenbiker has created personalized lacrosse sticks for himself, and members of the Millard West lacrosse team. Originally, he wanted to know how to create lacrosse sticks for his own benefit, but has gotten good enough to make them for other people. Some of the clients Rodenbiker has built customized lacrosse sticks include,  junior Colton Wunderlich, junior Jack DeFreece and numerous other people.

“He made one of my heads for my defense pole and it is the best job I have gotten yet,” Wunderlich said. “Rodenbiker used materials that were high quality and made a high quality net for my lacrosse stick. He is very talented and dedicated to what he loves and I respect him for that. Not everyone can do what he does.”

Rodenbiker acquired his talent by doing research on how to create and net lacrosse sticks. Rodenbiker now has the knowledge on how to maintain lacrosse sticks, just in case a repair or a replacement needs to occur. Rodenbiker mentioned that it’s not too difficult to do, but to do it right and professionally, it can really be time consuming.

“He is really good at stringing lacrosse heads and playing on the field,” DeFreece said. “He is definitely my go to guy when I need repairs or a new lacrosse head netting. Having him on the team will definitely help us perform better on our lacrosse team this season, as we now have someone who understands the intermakings a lacrosse stick.”

Rodenbiker wants to continue his talent of knowing how to create and design things, by studying and learning how to make more innovative items. Rodenbiker plans to share tutorials that shows the step by step process, of some of the skills he has picked up. To get updates and tutorials from Rodenbiker, make sure to go through his YouTube Channel, A.J. Rodenbiker.

This story was originally published on The Catalyst on September 4, 2019.