By Alvar Nunez
For Today’s Catholic
Christmas brought a special gift to the Central Catholic Youth Lacrosse (CCYL) with the awarding of a 2017 First Stick Grant by U.S. Lacrosse, the sport’s national governing body. The Grant valued at $6,000 covers equipment and protective gear cost for grades first through fourth plus membership in U.S. Lacrosse.
Head Coach Tommy Villa is thrilled with the news and says “the grant gives us a unique opportunity to let families that are interested in the sport “try before they buy.” The equipment cost is probably the largest hurdle when it comes to getting started. Parents won’t have to worry about making the pretty sizable investment in protective equipment, just for their child to decide he wants to play something else next year.”
Registration began on Dec. 14, with the first Introductory & Practice Lacrosse Clinic to be at Central Catholic High School on Saturday, Jan. 27, from 9 a.m. to noon. Wear comfortable running shorts and shirts along with running/soccer shoes. Bring a lacrosse stick if you have one but sticks will be available.
Teams will be organized into groups: third and fourth grade, fifth and sixth grade, and seventh and eighth grade. Official practice will begin on Jan. 29 at Holy Spirit CYO Baseball-Softball Complex. February 18 marks the first game with a season that stretches until April 30. Further details can be found at the web site of Central Catholic Youth Lacrosse: CCylsatx.org.
Central Catholic Youth Lacrosse presently includes players from the Archdiocese of San Antonio Catholic school system: St. Anthony, St. Matthews, St. Pius, Holy Spirit, St. Luke and St. Gregory in grades first through eighth. Existing officially for the last three years and prior to that unofficially for the last seven years they are the only Catholic based organization within a 90 miles radius of San Antonio in the South Texas Youth Lacrosse League.
Lacrosse matches two teams playing each other with nine player positions and goalie per team on a field 60 yards by 110 yards. The players (grades fifth to eighth) use the head of the lacrosse stick to carry, pass, catch, and shoot the ball into the goal similar to hockey. Grades three and four play on a field reduced 50 percent with six player positions per team and no goalie.
Lacrosse combines the best aspects of soccer, basketball and football in terms of contact along with open speed running. A popular sport in the Northeast that combines offensive and defensive strategies, football coaches are known to use this medium to keep their players in condition throughout the Spring. Jim Brown, the legendary running back with the Cleveland Browns, played while in his college years at Syracuse University. For those young developing players with an interest in baseball or tennis the sport of lacrosse complements eye/hand coordination skills as it involves tracking the ball with a stick.
Lacrosse originated as a native American sport hundreds of years ago in North America and was part of the cultural tradition of the Iroquois (Haudenosaunee) people. The sport played a significant role in the community and religious life of tribes across the continent. The Jesuit Missionary priests recorded that the game was played “for the Creator” and indeed was referred to as “The Creator’s Game.”