Just when I think I can’t love lacrosse any more than I already do, a story like this comes across my desk and blows my mind. My infatuation level with lax just tripled, at least.
State University of New York (SUNY) Maritime is an NCAA Division 3 team located in the Bronx, just outside the hustle and bustle of urban New York City, and this program has been making some big strides on the field in the last couple of seasons, but what they’re doing off the field is truly remarkable. They have teamed up with Operation Baggataway to amass used lacrosse equipment, and then send it overseas to a number of different US Military bases. When you consider that, on average, around 20% of SUNY Maritime Seniors (and Senior lacrosse players) go on to active duty after graduation, this charity just makes a lot of sense. The majority of the SUNY Maritime grads go to the Marines or the Navy.
I got the chance to speak with Head Coach Dan Lawrence, and he filled me in with some more details. It’s really a pretty amazing idea.
This charitable movement hits close to home for these guys, and as you can see in the release below, they have already sent equipment out and the results are being noticed! By allowing US men and women serving in the military to play lacrosse at their bases, the US Military, SUNY Maritime and Operation Baggataway have provided a great lift to the troops’ spirits, and done their part to help Grow the Game, all in one fell swoop.
As a member of the military, it would be extremely difficult, maybe even impossible, to have your lacrosse equipment sent from base to base. So the idea here is to send equipment to bases, and then have something of a lacrosse library. Is a serviceman stationed at a base for 4 months? Well they can check out this stick and pads and join the weekly intramural game. Then make sure they hit the wall if they get some down time. This lacrosse library could provide a nice respite from base life, and that much needed little touch of home.
Down the road, bases may form teams, and then they could even scrimmage local clubs. The Ramstein Air Force base in Germany instantly comes to mind as a potential scrimmage location because it’s HUGE and Germany loves lax… but let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. What has already been done is impressive, and worth supporting. So LAS is on board. We’re ready to get involved and have our readers do the same!
Time to find some gear to donate! Reach out to Coach Lawrence if you have equipment to donate, and let’s make sure this can keep happening, hopefully at an increasing rate! Coach Lawrence can be reached at [email protected]
In addition to all of the above, this Fall, SUNY Maritime will host a free clinic with the request that each camper bring a piece of equipment to donate as their registration fee. Very cool to get the kids involved and giving back at a young age!
THROGGS NECK, N.Y. (May 16, 2011) – The Maritime men’s lacrosse team has announced a partnership with the group Operation Baggataway for the 2011-2012 school year. Baggataway is the original name given to the Iroquois game that the modern game of lacrosse is based on. Operation Baggataway is a charitable organization that takes donated used lacrosse equipment and sends it overseas to servicemen and women who want to be able to play lacrosse in their downtime. The soldiers also use the equipment to host lacrosse clinics with the local people to foster positive relationships.
The group got started in the fall of 2009, when founding members Thomas Boyle and Kevin Kaffl read an article in an issue of Lacrosse magazine that highlighted the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq and his background in the sport. The Ambassador started a grassroots movement within the embassy to start a team, the Baghdad Rhinos. After seeing this, Kaffl and Boyle worked with the North Shore Lacrosse Club of Glen Head, N.Y., to get equipment together to send to the newly formed Rhinos.
Although the holiday season and some shipping snafus delayed the shipment longer than expected, three boxes worth of used equipment made its way to Baghdad in late February 2010. Soon a second team was formed at Camp Victory and practice and scrimmages were held. Only four scrimmages have been held because of the dangerous route between the U.S. Embassy and Camp Victory, but that has not deterred these servicemen and women from getting out and playing lacrosse.
The SUNY Maritime men’s lacrosse team will be donating all of their used equipment to Operation Baggataway. The Privateers will also be hosting a free youth lacrosse clinic in the fall on campus where they will be asking all in attendance to donate a piece of equipment to the cause as well. Maritime will also be honoring the brave men and women who make up the team at Camp Victory by dedicating the 2012 season to the Victory Hammers, the team located there. The hope of the men’s lacrosse team and Operation Baggataway is to collect enough equipment to supply every request by an active duty servicemen and women overseas. Requests for equipment or more information on donating equipment can be made to head coach Dan Lawrence at [email protected]