The message of BRIDGE Lacrosse is pretty simple…
WE ENRICH NONTRADITIONAL LACROSSE COMMUNITIES BY DEVELOPING AFTER-SCHOOL PROGRAMS AND BUILDING HEALTHY STUDENT-ATHLETES
…but it’s one that is also close to our hearts.
When we heard about what David Higbee and the rest of the BRIDGE Lacrosse organization was doing for the communities of North Texas, we were sold.
There are great physical and social needs in their community and BRIDGE does not hesitate to address the situation.
Their mission is to enrich the lives of those living in urban environments around the Dallas, Fort-Worth area, and one of their best mediums is through the great game of lacrosse.
BRIDGE divides the year into three seasons and the organization runs year-round, I encourage anyone living in Texas or the surrounding area to learn what programs are available and how to get involved.
Although BRIDGE may be a smaller non-profit, they are making a HUGE impact in their community and is all we could ever ask for. Let’s get to know more about BRIDGE Lacrosse through the insights of David Higbee.
David is a 2008 graduate of the University of Oklahoma where he was a middie and received a B.S. in Biomedical Sciences. Upon graduation he moved to Dallas and before long, David joined BRIDGE in 2009 as a volunteer coach. He has enjoyed coaching year-round and participating in various events on behalf of BRIDGE. In spring 2011, David was a recipient of the Positive Coaching Alliance’s Double Goal Coach Award for North Texas.
Please describe the state of lacrosse in your area.
The area of North Texas, which includes Dallas, Fort Worth and surrounding suburbs, has continued to see great growth in both scale and quality of play.
For youth boys and girls, the game continues to grow primarily in neighboring suburbs, where fast growing cities like Frisco and Allen are booming with transplants. The same is true of the high school boys and girls.
In addition, the quality of talent has increased due in large part to more travel opportunities provided by select and elite teams, plus the infusion of new coaches. Most recently, four major programs (Coppell, Southlake, ESD and Plano West) have brought in talented coaches from outside the state.
Lastly, homegrown talent that has since graduated from their respective NCAA schools are beginning to return to the area to help foster the talent of youth teams.
In what way(s) are you involved with growing the game in your area?
I currently run the nonprofit, BRIDGE Lacrosse, an urban youth development organization bringing lacrosse to nontraditional areas by advocating for healthy student-athletes.
Through some great community partnerships we are slowly becoming a primary resource for organizations and communities looking to bring lacrosse to their student-athletes.
Most recently, we have a partnership with Arlington Parks and Rec, a regional based charter school system and Dallas Parks and Rec.
How did you get involved? Where did you learn about lacrosse?
I didn’t begin playing lacrosse until college. Growing up in Oklahoma limited my knowledge of the sport, until a club team was formed at the University of Oklahoma my sophomore year, 2004.
During that time we had a great group of coaches willing to work with a pretty rag-tag group. The local Air Force base provided us some talented coaches for us, including an All American from the US Naval Academy.
What is your favorite thing about our sport? What drew you in?
I love the variety of play and athlete that the game offers.
One of the things that makes lacrosse great is how any type of athlete can find their home on the lacrosse field. Because of this, we’ve found recruiting to be quite easy.
We often make comparisons to other more familiar sports when recruiting and convince them that the similarities are there.
If you could change one thing about our sport, what would it be and why?
My hope is that lacrosse continues to be a strong school-centric sport. I am concerned that the increasing number of club programs may decrease the value of school teams.
It appears sports like soccer and hockey tend to favor elite and travel teams more so than the high schools. This will especially be hard as lacrosse isn’t a school sanctioned sport. Though I’m not in favor of that either.
Do you have a favorite lacrosse? Favorite player(s)? Why do you like them?
Being from a nontraditional lacrosse area myself, I tend to favor teams outside the more traditional lacrosse homes, like New York and Maryland. I tend to root for the Denver Outlaws and Denver Pioneers.
With so many more Texas players making their way to D1 rosters, I’ve also been known to favor them. For example, Christian Louis-Banister at Boston University and Chris Hipps at Duke, are both great Texas kids.
What do you do outside of lacrosse? (i.e. school, career, other activities…)
BRIDGE is almost entirely my life, but if I’m able to put down the coaching, grant writing, board development or fundraising, then I do enjoy traveling and binge watching Netflix.
I’m also part of several social and civic organizations here in Dallas, focused on innovation, design and entrepreneurship.
What would you say has been your biggest accomplishment when it comes to helping grow the game in your community?
As an organization we are incredibly proud of some great alumni we have. Including several girls who are now playing club lacrosse and continuing their careers.
Most recently, we have two of our varsity girls receive All Academic honors. And, lastly, one of our own alumni just committed to play at Duke University.
What do you think the biggest obstacle for growth of lacrosse is in your area?
One of the biggest obstacles I see, and unfortunately something that cannot change, is the lack of year-round potential to play. During the summer months, Texas heat is virtually unbearable and therefore lacrosse is very limited and many teams travel head outside of the state to play.
Because of this, states with better summer weather have become the primary destinations for summer tournaments.
Who, or what, inspires you most to help Grow the Game?
Not meaning to sound too cliche, but it is a great honor to work with the kids that we do.
Our programs have a wide diversity of backgrounds, but regardless of differences and similarities off the field, they each love the sport the same on the field.
I’ve enjoyed coaching many of our student-athletes and alumni, and watching them develop and grow has been very inspirational.
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Check out more great Game Grower Spotlight interviews to find out where the game is blossoming around the world!