HOPE HIGHLIGHTS – 7/23/2021

As promised to my readers, I took a break from covering lacrosse topics, but tonight I can’t contain my excitement. It’s a great weekend to be a lacrosse fan and I’ll tell you why.

Lacrosse enthusiasts across the country can celebrate two huge victories and sleep soundly knowing that lacrosse is expanding and becoming accessible and of interest to the masses. Have I peaked your interest?

The first is the 2021 (or should we call it 2020?) Tokyo Olympics. They kicked off today with a torch lighting ceremony by the greatest active tennis player, Naomi Osaka. On the eve of the long-awaited Games, the International Olympic Committee, (IOC) granted full recognition to the international federation for lacrosse.

The lacrosse community is filled with countless players, coaches, alumni, volunteers, and fans who unite together under the shared vision of broadening the sport to every level and every location. Not only does the full recognition make this mission of growth more plausible by eliminating barriers to entry like price and roster size, it also appeals to the next generation of athletes with a refined focus on speed, tempo, and scoring.

In addition to this milestone, earlier tonight, CBS Sports became the first major network to air a professional women’s lacrosse game. The team is Athletes Unlimited Lacrosse and it is “the third league to be created under the Athletes United banner” alongside volleyball and softball. The athletes on the field are a combination of some of the strongest and most relentless female athletes. Kayla Treanor,  Michelle Tumolo, Caylee Waters, Emily Garrity and Amanda Johansen are some of the players on the tremendous squad that was showcased tonight. The fast-paced game incorporated a 60-second shot clock, a rule many collegiate teams will be adjusting to this upcoming season, as well as a 10v10 player count on a 90yd x 60yd playing field. In the following weeks, the top four players will draft their teams as captains in order to attain a high-scoring game, being that MVP titles and cash bonuses are a prize.

This paves way for potential exposure as alumni and fans gather to celebrate these milestones in lacrosse history.  As you can see, a great day for lacrosse

As a collegiate athlete who has reaped the benefits of playing sports, I am glad to see the growth of any sport, admittedly most thrilled to see the growth of the fastest game on two feet. Children should be encouraged to participate in sports from the moment they can stand on two legs. Sports build character, leadership, teamwork, grit, perseverance and determination. Sports prepare us to pivot in unknown circumstances and adjust the game plan when life gets turned upside down, as it did in 2020.

So, there you have it. Look for my column next Friday and, until then, here’s Hope-ing you stay safe!