Lacrosse Screen Shot 2017-05-16 at 10.56.20 AM

Published on May 16th, 2017 | by Lea Yamashiro

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Boys lacrosse gives back to South LA community

A few weekends ago on Saturday April 29, a handful of the Samo boys lacrosse team traveled to Edward Vincent Park, Inglewood to give back to the Los Angeles community by teaching young boys and girls the basics of the sport.

The Samo team volunteered with a youth-development organization in Los Angeles called City Lacrosse. City Lacrosse, a non-profit organization founded in 2014 with the goal of exposing kids in South LA to lacrosse, where the sport is a rarity, pushed aside by more mainstream sports such as basketball, football and baseball.

City Lacrosse began by partnering with charter schools and helped assimilate lacrosse into the physical education curriculum at these schools as a means of enrolling kids into the program. Since then, the organization has branched out farther and made many more partnerships with schools in South LA and Compton.

Samo got involved when five players, Joseph Kean (’19), Monty McAlpine (’19), Spencer Wyn (’20), Jack Hall (’17) and Tyson Zecher (’19), as well as their coach Ben Keiser, went down to a field in Inglewood where City Lacrosse was holding a clinic for girls and boys ages 9-17. The group helped set up the fields with goals and went to work coaching the kids through different scrimmages throughout the day.

“The kids were very, very energetic,” Hall said. “Turning that energy towards lacrosse was a challenge but when they did, it was easy to see the enjoyment that they brought. I wish I could spend more time with them and keep spreading lacrosse.”

Even though it was hard to work with a lot of kids, the boys ended up feeling very satisfied and accomplished.

“It was extremely frustrating,” Hall said. “I was in charge of coaching the young kids so keeping them all in check and focused on the game was a challenge. But in the end when we won it felt good to see the smiles on their faces.”

The kids themselves were very happy to be able to interact and get coaching advice from these high school players and athletic role models.

“The kids were very respectful and were very interested in what we were trying to teach and improve,” Zecher said.

The young athletes were also very enthusiastic, and even though their energy might have been hard to control, the boys felt that it had a very positive outcome. It also meant a lot to the boys to be able to give back, and said it was fun to contribute in this way.

“It means a lot to me to be in a position to help others. Not every sport does things like this and I am lucky to be able to spread my knowledge of the game to others, especially those who can’t play as often,” Hall said.

Coach Keiser was very adamant about making this happen because he wanted at least a few of his boys to help give back and add a different aspect to just being in the lacrosse program.

“I am very proud of the boys for doing this,” Keiser said. “It is important for me as a coach to do more for them than just teach them how to play a sport. I try to instill the values in them that will help them grow as individuals and as a team both on the field and off. I feel that this will translate to their adult lives.”

Keiser is planning to send another group of boys to volunteer on May 13, and is looking forward to another positive experience.

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