Wheelchair Lacrosse Emerges as a New Action-packed Team Sport

by Sharon Kelleher

Sharon Kelleher in action playing lacrosse!

I have a new passion in my life: wheelchair lacrosse. This exciting sport was created two years ago by Ryan Baker and Bill Lundstrom in San Diego. I had a chance to try it last spring and was hooked. Wheelchair lacrosse is a fast-paced game of skill, speed, and finesse. The wheelchair sport is very similar to the game of lacrosse played on two feet, however it takes place on a roller hockey rink instead of a grassy field. There are 7 players on the court at one time: 2 Attack, 2 Midis, 2 Defensemen and a Goalie. Players pass around a hard rubber ball using sticks with nets attached to one end. They attempt to shoot the ball into the net, scoring a goal and one point for their team.

If you have never seen this game, you are missing some thrilling action. Very popular on the East Coast, lacrosse is gaining momentum in the West, and many youth are now playing it in local leagues. In fact, one of these youth, a superstar 13-year-old player named Byron, is a volunteer coach of the Northern California team. Our other talented and knowledgeable coach is Susie, president of the Women’s Lacrosse Team at San José State University. Our dedicated coaches are helping us to get ready for a big showdown against San Diego’s inaugural team this summer. We happen to have the nation’s second wheelchair lacrosse team here in Northern California. Our team is co-ed and welcomes players of all ages, from 12 years old to 50-plus.
San Jose's Lacrosse Team
I have played wheelchair tennis for over twenty years, and although I love tennis, I just can’t get enough lacrosse. I enjoy the team camaraderie, the physical nature of the sport (checking is allowed in wheelchair lacrosse), and wearing all the gear makes me feel like a warrior. While we play, we wear helmets, chest and elbow pads, gloves and kneepads. This gear protects us from other players’ sticks, as well as from the ball. It was a little hard to get used to pushing my sports chair with all the gear on, but now I am starting to appreciate the protection, and I’m getting slightly faster on the court. Feeling invincible inspires me to be more aggressive during our team scrimmages, which makes playing even more exciting.

Speaking of gear, we are very grateful to Sling It! Lacrosse in Mountain View, a local lacrosse store, and Ryan Baker, one of the sport’s co-founders, for donating several sets of gear to our team. Thanks to their support, we were able to start practicing right away while we continue to look for additional team sponsors. We are thrilled by the amount of press and attention wheelchair lacrosse is getting across the nation. Visit www.wheelchairlacrosse.com to see the latest articles, interviews and video clips.

Team Practice
Northern California’s wheelchair lacrosse team is sponsored by the City of San José. The city provides staff as well as gym space for practice. In the spring, we will move to an outdoor roller rink at one of San José’s community centers. San José is hosting its Second Annual Wheelchair Lacrosse Camp June 4-5, 2011. Several other wheelchair lacrosse camps are taking place this year around the country, and I encourage you to get involved. The sport is a fun way to improve your fitness and hand-eye coordination. It is great for stress relief and an instant mood lifter. It’s also an enjoyable way to engage in some healthy competition with your friends.

In a recent article by Atlanta Youth Lacrosse (http://ayllax.com/wheelchair-lacrosse-interview), the co-founders of this awesome sport, Ryan and Bill, discuss why they are traveling around the country to promote wheelchair lacrosse. They want to create more opportunities for people living with disabilities to be active. They want everyone to have more choices and find a sport they truly love. They talk about their dreams to see both women’s and men’s wheelchair lacrosse leagues pop up all over the U.S. and the world. They explain, “We are not made of glass, and we have all the same desires as anyone else living their life; we want to raise and provide for our families, have a fulfilling jobs, meaningful relationships, stay in shape, and eat right. We want to contribute. We want people to know that just because they are living with a disability, they don’t have to get stuck in going through the motions of living life and getting by. We want them to feel like they are truly alive.” And that is how I feel when I play wheelchair lacrosse: truly alive. Thank you Ryan and Bill!

For more information, visit http://www.wheelchairlacrosse.com/ .

7 comments:

  1. I’ve seen many web pages and I can definitively state that this one is my favorite.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is awesome. I love lacrosse because when I invest my time into following a team or following a game, I know that each player is going to bust his ass for that goal, for that extra loose ball.

    new york lacrosse

    ReplyDelete

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