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GTG Tour: Denver

They Just Want to Play

5 - Published January 11, 2013 by in Grow The Game

Editor’s Note:  Josh Acut is all for writing about positive steps that Texas Lacrosse can take to Grow The Game. Today he is reaching out to the lacrosse community to help some young Texas laxers in need.
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Over the years I have tried to stay true to the Grow the Game mindset.  Often, I get off track and get sucked into the petty stuff, but generally my mission remains the same.

This year I met a teacher in San Antonio, Texas who wanted to start a lacrosse team at the high school where she taught.  This teacher played both HS and Collegiate lacrosse, and really felt that her kids would love the sport of lacrosse.  Her students attend an inner city school that I can only describe as a not your typical lacrosse school.  The students are not your typical lacrosse players.  We often see pictures of inner city lacrosse programs, within lacrosse rich communities.  You hardly ever see inner city lacrosse programs in areas like this.

After a couple emails and phone calls, she put together an intro to lacrosse clinic and invited me out.  I brought around 40 sticks that Warrior/Brine Lacrosse had donated to the GTL Tour (Grow Texas Lacrosse), a lacrosse goal, and a bag of balls.  I drove into San Antonio, went through downtown, and yes… I had to call the teacher and ask, “is this the right place”?  She told me to park on the side of the street and she would help me unload the stuff and take it on to the field.  Little did I know that by field, she meant the outfield of the baseball field… During baseball practice!

We set everything up, and as soon as the bell rang, here they came.  She wasn’t joking when she said a ton of kids signed up.  There were almost 40 kids there.  There were even a couple of girls!  We taught them the basics: catching, passing, scooping, etc.  They ran some basic drills, and then we let them use what they just learned.  I forgot to mention the teacher played goalie, and that she jumped right in cage while I played defense.  The kids were excited to test themselves, but what happened next was amazing.

The one thing about “not your typical” lacrosse players is that they bring a different style of play.  They don’t do the regular roll dodge, or split dodge, or any other type of lacrosse move that you see on Youtube.  They bring their own style to the field.  They bring streetball moves to the game.  Where as Kyle Harrison has talked about incorporating basketball style moves on the lacrosse field, these kids are not incorporating those moves, they are using them naturally.  My 30 year old ankles, 31 now, almost got broke.  If their stick skills were better, I probably would have walked off in crutches.

We played for a while and the kids never grew tired, they wanted to keep playing.  That is why I am writing this.  That single concept of GTG was enshrined in that day.  These kids attend Highlands HS in San Antonio, TX.  Their coach, Mary Mattia, is working like crazy to make this happen, but like all new programs, they need help.  Unlike many new programs, they are not afraid to ask.  I was guilty of it as well, always wanting “new” equipment for new programs.  Mary just wants equipment though, she understands the cost of the game.  She asked if I knew of anyone that would donate some used equipment, and I said I do.  I would think by now I know the LAS Family and all of its readers.

The one thing that is constant amongst the LAS family is that we ALL understand the true meaning of GTG.  We all understand that helping others is just as important as helping ourselves.  I know that we all have an old piece of equipment, any piece of equipment, in our lacrosse bags, closet, cars, etc.  I am asking that you send it south to Coach Mary Mattia and the kids at Highlands HS in San Antonio, TX.  These kids want to keep playing and I know we can help them.  From sticks (NCAA Legal) to arm pads and chest protectors, anything and everything will help.

GTG Tour: Denver

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