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Interest Peaks in Lacrosse Program


Interest Peaks in Lacrosse Program

Junior Palmer Martin (left) and senior Cole Hodges of Hanover get ready for a game. Hanover is one of the few surrounding counties with a school lacrosse program. Photo provided by Candid Color.
Junior Palmer Martin (left) and senior Cole Hodges of Hanover get ready for a game. Hanover is one of the few surrounding counties with a school lacrosse program. Photo provided by Candid Color.

It is a sport unlike any other. It uses sticks like field hockey, but instead of hitting the ball, you can scoop it up and carry it. You score in a net like soccer, but the ball can be taken behind the goal and still be considered in play. This sport is lacrosse.

The school hosts many sport programs, including more popular activities such as basketball, soccer, track and field, baseball, softball, and of course, football. It also hosts less popular, but just as important sports, like field hockey, cross country, tennis, volleyball, and even a golf team.

There are both hopes and doubts circulating around the issue of possibly creating a lacrosse team.

“…Nothing against the sport, it’s just the question of whether we have the resources and capabilities to operate such a sport,” co-athletic director, Hezekiah Butler said.

According to Butler, operating the team could cost as much as a couple hundred thousand dollars.

“The plausibility revolves around our challenges and deficits which includes money, space present, and we have to be aware of our common opponents and who has a team that we could regularly play,” Butler said. “Many (schools) do not.”

Thomas Dale has lacrosse listed as a sport, but currently no schools in our district or conference have a lacrosse team.

Whether or not there is a big enough interest level in playing lacrosse is another issue.

“I enjoy lacrosse, [but] if you want to start a sport like that, you would have to start at the youth level,” Butler said. “If you start at a youth level, the fundamentals are being taught and interest is being generated.”

Financing the sport and finding adequate playing space for the team to practice and hold games is another issue.

“[It is] not financially realistic to put a lacrosse team together right now. [It is] a sport that is roughly less expensive than football with all the equipment and playing space,” Butler said.

Playing space is already stretched thin, with football using the field house, track using the track, girls soccer uses the high school field, baseball and softball using the baseball and softball diamonds, and boys soccer who have to ride to the old J.E.J. Moore/Health Center to practice.

“We are talking about fielding four teams: Boys Varsity and JV, Girls Varsity and JV,” Butler said. “We are currently operating on a less than sufficient budget and [finding] the space for practice and facilities is a daily challenge.”

With only three or four facilities vacant at a time, including the old J.E.J. Moore field or building (whichever is not in use) finding space to field lacrosse would be a major challenge.

“I was not around when field hockey first began, but from my understanding it developed at ‘grass roots’ level, with youth leagues and travel programs,” Butler said. “As interest grew, as well as to complete a Title IX requirement, it was introduced at the Junior Varsity and Varsity level at PGHS.”

The hope is that one day, just like field hockey, enough interest will be generated to start youth leagues and travel programs, which will evolve into an official school team.

“Interest and a small amount of sport competency is needed to elicit the expense necessary to generate the development of a Royal Lacrosse team,” Butler said.

This means that only if sufficient interest in playing for the school is presented, then the costs of funding the program would prove to be a worthwhile investment.
Despite the enormous challenges that the school would encounter, there is still a possibility that a lacrosse team would one day be a reality in Prince George.

“If there was a sizeable interest, we’d have to do our due diligence and consider it,” Butler said.

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