Gear Int'l

It’s Lax Against The World

gloves.

a_sportA new player would have to spend over $600 to play this game; and that doesn’t include footwear, a backup stick, team fees, travel, etc. Those of us who are fortunate enough to be able to afford all the equipment should really put this game in perspective.

It cost $25 for a basketball or $30 for a baseball and glove, $20 for a soccer ball or $15 for a football. All of these sports involve little equipment and allow kids of all ages, abilities, race and gender to play for a very low cost. Basketball courts are always packed and soccer fields overflow with players while you never see pick-up lacrosse games…ever.

It’s really not hard to imagine why lacrosse hasn’t exploded onto the scene yet or expanded onto all college and high school campuses. It’s one of the most expensive sports a kid could pick up. God knows how much money I have spent on equipment and I have been playing since 3rd grade! This has to change in order for lacrosse to be a worldwide successful sport. We need the cost of all the equipment to at least be cut in half. I mean honestly, how can you charge $90 for a piece of plastic? Kids quit sports left and right and parents need an affordable way to have their kid pick up a stick.

Everyone is trying to cut back this past year in order to save money. Major corporations have pulled their sponsorship on MLL and NLL teams. Prices of everything have dropped from housing to food. Everything except the price to play the game you love (and the cost of gas of course) and that’s just unacceptable. There have been less people willing to participate in leagues and tournaments over the summer because the entry fees and travel expenses cannot be afforded. No doubt that this economy has affected the game during this year as well as its future as a professional sport.

BRIDGE_lacrosseIt’s a great thing to hear about organizations like US Lacrosse that have programs like BRIDGE Lacrosse (Building Relationships to Initiate Diversity, Growth and Enrichment), which,

“works collaboratively to introduce and expand the sport of lacrosse in nontraditional and under served communities to embody diversity of players, coaches, officials and supporters.”

Also, their Equipment Grant Program which awards first year programs with a full team’s worth of equipment. This is very exciting; however it’s just the very start. More organizations need to participate towards this cause and promote added benevolence.

We all talk about expanding and growing the game. But talk is cheap and lacrosse stuff is expense! We need action. We need companies that don’t charge a monthly mortgage payment to buy equipment or more developmental programs at the youth levels. We need to rethink the sport and lifestyle of Lacrosse.

What do you think is needed to make this game the World’s past time?

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About the Author: As well as writing for LaxAllStars, Justin Otto is the President/Co-Owner Top Side Lacrosse, LLC. Justin is excited to be a part of one of the fastest growing lax sites in the US. A native New Yorker, Justin is always working to keep NY lax at the highest level. His blogs are informative and his training company is the best in Westchester.

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13 Comments

  • used equipment does help a little but I agree, the rest of the world can't play the game if we price them out of it.
    Also for most of these companies to charge the ridiculous prices for heads… and then THEY MAKE THEM IN CHINA! If you're going to make the stuff expensive, at least make it in the US. Frankly, I think that its pathetic that there isn't one US manufacturer. They ALL say it is “too expensive” to produce here but I just don't believe that for one minute. If its so cheap there, why aren't they passing along any of the savings to the consumers?
    less new sticks that they sell for only a year or two wouldn't hurt lower the costs either. long-term investment lax companies! learn it!

  • Speaking as a coach in one of the poorest and least developed (as far as lax is concerned) areas in the country, there are really a ton of ways to get these costs down to almost nothing. The USLacrosse grant programs are excellent if you can get your act together in time, but you can also buy all that equipment for much cheaper than $600. We paid only $60 for team gloves and $80 for team helmets last year and could offer shoulder and elbow pads for half the price you have listed above. Another good strategy is to get your start up program hooked up with another one that is well-off and set up an equipment recycling program. I know the sport is expensive, but this is a bit out of proportion.

  • excellent points, Kevin!
    You can certainly do it cheaper than we proposed above. However, the costs listed above are pretty accurate for a HS team that “needs” decent equipment. The lower end products are certainly a lot cheaper than the top end but probably not cheap enough. The quality of some of the lower end products is also really low and that can make it hard to keep kids interested. For example, when you buy a pair of $60 gloves, you sometimes get palms that will take forever to break in, or fingers that don't really allow for much movement or a restrictive wrist guard, or bad protection. I know it is all part of the world we live in but I think Justin's main point is that if we want the sport to spread, we need to make it EVEN MORE accesible to everyone regardless of whether or not they can find a wealthy club to help them out or use the Bridge program. Manufacturers will even see a bump if the game spreads because of economies of scale… so they should actually be the ones pushing for it! yet they jack prices up and make short terms gains.

  • $200 gloves? HA! You guys must have missed the $300, all-leather, special edition gloves that WARRIOR was selling… FIVE YEARS AGO. Don't get me wrong, they were sweet. and I totally picked up a pair on Ebay for $100 but still… in stores, they were selling for $300. straight up offensive pricing from Warrior. They care about growing the game, as long as it lines their pockets. I understand its capitalism America here but don't claim to just love the game and then try to bleed money from a stone. there's no real honesty there… yet people still buy their stuff… so what do I know?

  • At some point I feel lax will hit a ceiling as far as popularity if the prices stay where they are. If prices lower, you will sell more products at a cheaper rate as opposed to less products at a higher rate. Sure, the quality of play will most likely decrease because of the influx of new players, but over time, those players will develop and the cycle can start over again. It's a win-win for the game and the manufacturer. It can't all be about profit ya know?

  • The only sport more expensive is hockey, where the equipment can easily cost over $1000, so one thing I've always wondered is how hockey is so huge at all income levels in Canada…how does everyone afford it? Government subsidies? Lacrosse equipment is getting to be way too expensive, I got most of my stuff from other people so I didn't pay a dime…I haven't actually bought any gear in years because of the prices…I laugh when I see the attempts to start programs in 3rd world countries, I think they are just worried about buying food, not to mention a $200 lacrosse stick

  • It's not fair to price this out then compare it to football only costing $15.

    Either you need just an entry stick and ball for $30 versus football's sphereoid costing $15, or you compare the full set of lacrosse gear to a full set of football gear.

    But it is true that part of soccer's global domination is the fact that it's zero cost of entry. Even basketball needs a backboard and hoop, soccer goals are often improvised like the bases in a stickball game.

  • As an inaugural member of BRIDGE, it's very exciting for us (Lacrosse for LIFE: Leadership, Integrity, Friendship, Education) to see the concerns programs seeking to increase opportunities in the game getting press.

    I agree with a lot of the comments here – we work with dozens of other, more 'privileged' programs in our area, as well as high schools and colleges, to receive their “gently used” equipment. Players on opposing teams have done gear drives each season for several years, drastically lowering our need for the purchase of new gear/sticks. Kids learning the game benefit from broken-in heads as well as gear. For liability reasons, we don't accept helmets with re-certification. Several local retailers as well as manufacturers and camp directors provide us with generous discounts on gear and activities. In return, our players commit to a strict code of conduct, maintenance of grades, and “give back” to our program, their communities and the lacrosse family.

    It is hard work to create programs in underserved communities – the cost of equipment is only one obstacle. But there are lots of people doing it. Certainly high-end gear seems over-priced, but you don't need to start with a $100 stick. Get a starter stick at half the cost, and negotiate with retailers for discounts. You don't get if you don't ask, and you'd be amazed at what the lacrosse world will provide to developing programs!

    Johanna Thomashefski
    Executive Director
    Lacrosse for LIFE
    http://www.lacrosseforlife.org

  • I agree thet the cost of plastic heads made in china are extreme! I have several Teams and I am one of the original Bridge Programs. I have trouble attracting corporate sponsorship for I amd not inner city, but underserved surburbia. But I still use some of the original sticks I purchased 17 years ago. Just nedd restringing every few years. When you get to High School you need protective equipment not entry level as playesrs yielding titanium d-shafts can cause some damage. Unfortunately this is a “rich mans” sport. It is tough to compete with the programs who can have travel programs and play 10 months a year. But were there is a will ther is a way. So continue to grow the game and introduce the sport to as amny as you can. Bill Allen, Plam Beach Lacrosse Foundation

  • I agree thet the cost of plastic heads made in china are extreme! I have several Teams and I am one of the original Bridge Programs. I have trouble attracting corporate sponsorship for I amd not inner city, but underserved surburbia. But I still use some of the original sticks I purchased 17 years ago. Just nedd restringing every few years. When you get to High School you need protective equipment not entry level as playesrs yielding titanium d-shafts can cause some damage. Unfortunately this is a “rich mans” sport. It is tough to compete with the programs who can have travel programs and play 10 months a year. But were there is a will ther is a way. So continue to grow the game and introduce the sport to as amny as you can. Bill Allen, Plam Beach Lacrosse Foundation

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