Members of the Plattsburgh Lacrosse Club’s K-2 team played a brief scrimmage during halftime of the Plattsburgh State men’s lacrosse game against Oneonta Wednesday.
The scrimmage, played on a game advertised as “Youth Lacrosse Appreciation Day,” was part of a larger cooperation between the Cardinals and the youth program, in which the college athletes meet with the young players twice each month to work on skill development.
“They love being around the college kids,” said Joe May, PSUC head coach.
The team on the field Wednesday featured a co-ed group of young athletes. Rolla Parker Jr., who coaches the third- and fourth-grade team for PLC, said that the program begins to separate the genders at the 12-year-old level.
Parker said that the K-2 team has approximately 30 players, while 40 children play in the grade 3-4 level. Parker said that the program has seen a huge increase in participation over the last two years.
“Having the college team definitely helps,” Parker said. “We’re definitely getting the team out there using social media.”
During the PSUC game, dozens of PLC members enjoyed practicing lacrosse outside the fence around the field, including many children older than the K-2 players who participated in the halftime scrimmage. The kids were seen smiling and laughing throughout the game, despite the rainy conditions.
“Hopefully, some parents saw how much fun those kids were having and how much fun lacrosse can be,” May said. “Any way that I can help grow the game in the North Country, I’m pretty happy with.”
The Cards were just as happy as their coach to see the recognition given to the local youth program.
“Youth lacrosse, for me, was everything,” said Nick Della Ratta, PSUC’s junior captain. “You develop your skills when you’re young. When you’re growing, I think it’s big to be around the game daily. It really sets you up for a bright future.”
With the increases in participation PLC has already seen, along with efforts, like Wednesday’s scrimmage, to increase awareness of the program, there is confidence that the future of lacrosse in Plattsburgh is bright.
“It’s going to be huge,” Parker said.
Email Nathanael LePage at firstname.lastname@example.org