Lacrosse: The Family Sport
By Sammie Lazar – April 14, 2011
When I read the Wall Street Journal Article about the Powell family detailing their collective rise to superstar status, I was struck with a thought: lacrosse is the ultimate family sport. Their father sold his gun to pay for their first sticks and they used his fishing net as a goalie stick when they were young. The three Powell brothers foster within each other an incredible bond that drives them to become exceptional lacrosse players. When Ryan matched his brother Casey’s points record at Syracuse, Casey rushed the field to congratulate him, then Ryan jumped into the stands to hand his jersey to their younger brother Mike, saying to him “This is yours now.” Mike went on to break both of their records at Syracuse.
I remember watching my little brother from the sideline of his final game of the year. They hadn’t won a game all season, and with each loss I saw my brother losing confidence in his abilities. He was so young, and our whole family could see his love of the sport slipping away after each game. My father seemed to take it almost as hard. He is the father of four, and has been on the sidelines of each and every one of our games. If it was raining, snowing, hailing, or extremely windy, he would zip up his jacket and stand on the sidelines watching us, being our biggest fan. My brother ended up winning that final game, and went on to continue playing in high school.
The one thing that stuck with me when my brother began playing lacrosse was how tight-knit the lacrosse community is. When I began writing about lacrosse, the family of players, coaches, and entrepreneurs welcomed me with open arms. I am able to communicate with players at every level, who are all happy to explain their love for the sport and their many passions within it. Working in lacrosse, I’ve realized how family oriented it is. Neither of my parents played lacrosse, but I’ve been adopted into this world as a player and a journalist. My parents have been huge supporters and have been welcomed into the tough sideline crew of lacrosse parents, always setting up tents, providing food, taking photos, and filming games.
At the various summer lacrosse camps, the coaches make that difference for the players. My brother still remembers one of his summer coaches, a college student at the time, whom I ended up working with years later, and who remembered my brother! The coach remembered details about my brother’s playing style from years ago, something I’ve never seen in any other sport. Players at the college level have young fans that aspire to play like them. One only has to see the children swarming to players like Paul Rabil to see how early their passion for the sport begins. In what other sport are your pro athletes so close to their fan-base and teammates? None that I can find. They call lacrosse the “fastest growing sport on two feet”, and if it keeps expanding as it has been, then the world can expect the lacrosse family to welcome new players with open arms to start family traditions of their own.
About the author:
“I’m a writer who hails from Greenwich, CT and New York City. I write about what I love, and one of the things I love is lacrosse. I’ve been around the sport for years, and it has embraced me and my family with open arms. I started playing in college, where I still play attack for the Fordham women’s team. I passionately follow college and professional lacrosse (favorite college teams are UVA, Cornell and Hopkins, pro teams: Philadelphia Wings, Denver Outlaws and Boston Cannons), as well as the NYC and CT high school circuit, since I still have siblings playing there. I can generally be found in the sun (or rain) aviators on, cheering on my favorite teams.”