Do you remember that one lacrosse coach that took you aside, gave you some valuable pointers, and helped you fall in love with the game? For a lot of kids growing up in the southern New Jersey and Philadelphia areas, that coach has been Frank Bonner. He has also played for Puerto Rico, and is involved in helping to Grow The Game internationally.
Now, after helping so many kids and giving the gift of lacrosse to so many, Frank needs help himself, and the lacrosse community is being asked to give back.
There is a great article on PhillyLacrosse.com, by Chris Goldberg, which fully explains Coach Bonner’s involvement in the game. It spans not only decades and multiple states, but entire continents. It’s well worth a read. From what I’ve been able to gather about Frank, he’s always been a giver, and has never been afraid to help out a new program or player. Even now, as he is battling a very serious disease and needs a kidney transplant, he still finds himself out on a local field, coaching kids, and giving his time.
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John Barrett of AccessLacrosse, provided a great quote to me on what Frank Bonner means to their lacrosse community, and to John as a friend:
“In my 8+ years of knowing Frank Bonner, he has always had a positive attitude, and when you asked him for help, he was always there. Frank is a very altruistic person – it may something he learned in his many years as a law enforcement officer, or it may be something he was just born with, but this trait comes through on and off the field or court. When I was starting a new youth program, I needed help, mostly in the form of someone to help me work with these children. Frank helped out and subbed in whenever needed. He did it without hesitation. He made it fun, he helped kids learn. Frank has not only been a good friend and teammate to me, but he has also mentored and provided guidance to probably well over 1000 up and coming players in the South Jersey and Philadelphia areas.”
Speaking of one of those players, Andrew Souders was heavily influenced by Frank as he grew into a man, and had this touching note to add about Coach Bonner:
I don’t know anyone who has met Frank Bonner that hasn’t come away better for it. For me it was my first year at Rizzo in the PBLA. This little, shaved head dude would always say hi to me when I got there even though I had no idea who he was. I had no idea this smiling guy would be one of the most influential people in my life, not just about lacrosse, but about being a husband and a father. Frank is the type of player who makes those around him better, he’s also the type of man that makes others want to want to model themselves off of.
I wouldn’t have any of the lacrosse knowledge that I do if it wasn’t for Frank. He taught me everything he could about field and box lacrosse. Because of Frank I’ve been able to play on some pretty good teams all over North America. Listening to the stories from his days playing in Prague and his glory days in the PBLA really makes me wish I had been around for them. I am hopeful that he will be around for many more years to continue to pass on his wisdom and love for the game to many generations to come.
Frank Bonner can not work due to his illness, and medical bills are not cheap. He needs your help!
You can access a GoFundMe page set up for Frank below. Please consider giving!