Lacrosse: Americas New Craze?
By Rick Coates
This week, hundreds of kids from around Northern Michigan are taking to the fields for what is quickly becoming Americas fastest growing team sport. No, not baseball: lacrosse -- a sport which involves whipping a ball up and down the playing field with hand-held racquets.
Thats bringing smiles to lacrosse enthusiasts such as Wally Kidd of Petoskey. Kidd was a high school All-American at Townson High School in Maryland and went on to be a part of two national championship teams at Johns Hopkins University. He developed the lacrosse program six years ago in Petoskey and he has seen interest in the sport grow rapidly.
Give a kid who has been playing baseball one year at lacrosse and he wont go back to baseball, said Kidd. Lacrosse is gaining momentum around the country and in particular here in Northern Michigan.
Pete Jones, who coaches in Traverse City through the Grand Traverse Youth Lacrosse Association (the group partners with the YMCA for leagues and instruction), agrees.
We have had a record turnout of players this year and we need more coaches as we have to create more teams, said Jones, who is coaching a group of 6th to 8th graders. We are still getting calls from kids and parents wanting to sign up kids for the season.
The Grand Traverse Youth Lacrosse program is for players from first through eighth grade and focuses on the fundamentals of the sport. In addition to teaching lacrosse basics, the program also has a competitive component with games and leagues.