Kids packed Summit Charter School’s soccer field on Saturday to spend the afternoon learning the basics of a lesser-known sport, lacrosse. Future lacrosse players from grades 3-10 donned helmets and pads and brandished sticks ready to hit the field, first things first though, they needed to learn how to play.
Anthony Qemali, 13, is new to the sport and said he appreciated Summit for putting on the clinic for all the lacrosse newbies on the Plateau. (Qemali is also pictured at the top of the article.)
“I like that the whole community is here doing this and letting us try it out,” said Qemali. “They’re showing all the people who have never played before. It’s a new sport with a lot of technique involved, that takes practice and it’s a lot of fun.”
Summit Head of School Kurt Pusch said there were three goals for putting on a lacrosse clinic; give kids a chance to have a good time outdoors, learn the fundamentals of a new sport, and possibly spark an ongoing interest in lacrosse.
“It’s a great game and this is an opportunity to introduce it to the community,” said Pusch. “There was a lot of enthusiasm from the kids so we’re trying it out. We’ll see how it goes and go from there. But the kids are doing a great job and having fun.”
Sammy Lehotsky, 12, said he’s just happy to be outside involved in organized competition.
“I like running around for things and basically sports in general,” said Lehotsky. “You have to put a lot of energy into lacrosse and it’s physical, but not too physical like football. I knew a little about it before I came here; but it’s cool that kids, teachers, and the community are here to teach us.”
He added that Summit doesn’t have some of the sports that big schools may have and it’s a good idea to start up a program at Summit.
Charley Miller, 11, said it was a great idea for Summit to host the clinic.
“I’ve only done this at camp, but it’s really cool to do here,” said Miller. “It’s fun to hang out with your friends and throw a ball around.”
Lacrosse isn’t like basketball or soccer where you grab a ball and some friends and look for a field, there’s a lot of equipment involved. For Saturday’s clinic, girls gear was provided by Camp Merrie-Woode and the boys gear was from Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School.
Camp Merrie-Woode Executive Director Jim Dunn said he used to run girls-lacrosse programs at camp and several former Merrie-Wood campers moved on to play lacrosse at the college level.
“We had all the sticks and equipment and it’s fun to see this taking off, especially with the girls,” said Dunn. “It’s amazing watching all these natural athletes doing so well, some for the first time.”
He added that depending on interest, who knows what the future of lacrosse on the Plateau will be.
“We’re excited about the kids learning a new sport and who knows, maybe well get enough people for a club team, we’ll see,” said Dunn.
The next lacrosse clinic is at 1:30 p.m. on March 14 on Summit’s soccer field. The clinic is free.
To learn more about Camp Merrie-Woode click HERE.
Article and Photos by Brian O’Shea
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