We recently brought you an interview and update centering around Uganda Lacrosse, and how the game is really growing in Africa for the first time. The sport has been embraced, and in addition to all of the great work that Fields Of Growth are doing, it has really made a big difference in a couple of Ugandan communities. And just like any service oriented project, the first trip to Uganda was only the beginning.
Fields Of Growth is now helping a Huntington (Long Island) native, Larry Mackey, get over to Uganda to serve, and we got to sit down with Larry for this very special Fireside Chat to learn more about his intensely personal upcoming trip to Uganda.
Larry will be running lacrosse practices and volunteering in the local village as part of his two week trip to Uganda. He leaves on November 29th and will return on December 13th. Once he is back, we’ll be sure to check in and see what the trip and experience was really like!
Hey Larry, thanks for joining us! We hear you’re headed over to Uganda this week to serve at the Fields of Growth village school and run some lacrosse practices… sounds exciting! How did you get involved in this project?
I was on my facebook page and saw “uganda lacrosse” somewhere, and initially, I was like “yeah right”. But I sent them a message anyway, and was told to contact Jeff Howell of Field of Growth directly. He let me know it was possible to go to Uganda and coach. 2 months later I was on my way over.
You grew up on Long Island, where lacrosse is considered a big time sport, what was that like? Where did you play growing up? And who introduced you to the game?
Lax is big time in other neighborhoods, but not in mine. Because I liked the sport and wanted to play, I had to face some challenges from people who didn’t understand why I would want to play it. I played on the 9th grade team at Stimson Junior High in Huntington, and then JV and finally varsity at Huntington High School. Prior to my going to Stimson for a year, Steve Davis was the varsity coach at Huntington High School, and he was the one who introduced me to lax during gym class.
Do you think lacrosse could be as loved and important in Uganda as it is on Long Island? Could it rival soccer? I’m pretty sure this is your first time heading over to Uganda, so right now it’s all conjecture, but what do you think?
I think African lacrosse players can become important in the world just like African soccer players have done.
Does the trip to Uganda have any deeper personal meaning for you?
I lost both my parents to AIDS, so I feel very blessed to have this chance to help out in an AIDS ravaged country. It’s hard to talk about…
For more info on Larry’s story, check out his inspiring personal video below:
Well, we really appreciate your willingness to be so open about with us and our readers. And we salute you for being so personally invested in the experience! So, what are your expectations for the trip overall? Do you have any preconceived ideas as to what to expect?
I expect to go to Uganda and work hard for the people there, but after that I have no expectations. I simply want to experience everything I can.
What do you do back in the States? Where are you currently playing/living?
I run a non-profit lax academy, called the Tacoma Lacrosse Academy, and I coach a varsity club, Puyallup Panther varsity lacrosse club.
I currently live outside Fort Lewis, Washington in a town called Spanaway.
Who inspired you to make this journey?
After my parents died, my friends became a huge part of my family. So once I told them that I wanted to go, they were on my butt to do it!
This is just an amazing story, Larry! We wish you the best of luck in Uganda, and can’t wait to hear all about the trip, and this life changing experience! This is what Growing The Game is all about: doing the right thing, and being supported by family and friends!