CityLax is Changing the Face of Lacrosse
Looking at a college or professional team–or even most high school teams–it’s easy to forget lacrosse’s Native American roots. But ask most people, and they’ll tell you that lacrosse is a “white person sport,” judging from the lack of diversity on the field. However, that’s a quality that is slowly but surely changing, due to the efforts of groups such as US Lacrosse, the NYC PSAL, and CityLax.
Part of CityLax’s mission to grow the game is of course to reach underserved youth–minority children who are typically excluded from the sport. Part of this is due to the high cost of equipment and fees, but this is also due partially to the barrier that is perceived by minority children who cannot see themselves on the field. One member of the Forest Hills High School Girls Varsity Lacrosse team is from Nepal and she explains, “When I first saw lacrosse at a collegiate level, it was all white girls and I didn’t really see any familiar faces–like, for example, the diverse people of NYC. When I saw that, I kind of felt left out and like I could never really see myself there.”
With the support of CityLax, though, Forest Hills HS of Queens is leading the way in terms of inspiring students that they can be successful lacrosse student-athletes, too. The program is made up of girls from all over the world: Nepal, India, China, Mexico, Ecuador, Tibet, and Palestine, just to name a few. The girls describe the diversity on their team as a motivating factor in just trying out the sport, never mind the incredible benefits that have come with being on the team, including a boost in self-confidence, appreciation of different cultures, and even the ability to see a future for themselves that they couldn’t imagine before.
One player explains, “Going into programs like CityLax and playing in such a diverse community as Queens has really brought my confidence up and made me feel included in a sport where most of the time you don’t ever see an Asian lacrosse player or a black lacrosse player. It means a lot to me that I get to give a minority face in a sport where we’re so unrepresented, and especially for me that I get to be that someone who my younger sister looks up to and says, ‘ I want to be like you!’”
Thanks to the efforts of everyone who is working towards truly growing the game, it is clear that we are not only growing the number of lacrosse players, but also the number of children who can believe in themselves and see the opportunities that are available to them. To the donors and volunteers, thank you again for your support in CityLax’s mission–you are truly changing lives, one ground ball at a time.