Lacrosse team earns first victory of season

Staff Writer

Being an NCAA athlete is difficult: Between practices, games and tournaments there is little time for relaxation. But imagine having to coordinate practices, schedule tournaments, hire coaches and fundraise for your team’s equipment and uniforms. Such is the life of club sports officers, like Michael Small, team captain of the St. Edward’s men’s lacrosse team.

“There’s a lot of work and preparation that goes into running a club sport team,” Small said. “I was planning this spring 2014 season with the help of my officers in the summer of 2013.”

As captain, Small spends an average of 30 hours a week on lacrosse logistics, including organizing, planning and participating. He and his teammates also spend a lot of their time planning fundraising activities to keep up with the costly demands of the sport.

“Lacrosse is a very expensive sport and people don’t realize that,” said Small. “It costs an average player around $1,000 to play and that includes purchasing the necessary gear and protective equipment.”

Campus Recreation can only provide a limited amount of funding to club sports, so lacrosse players must raise their own money to keep individual costs down for their players.

“We have team fundraisers to help lower dues for players. We’re trying to change the perspective, in that lacrosse does not have to be an expensive sport to play,” said Evan Pun, a lacrosse team officer. “We also use Play it Again Sports which has some great lightly used gear for a very affordable price.”

In addition to fundraising, scheduling games and tournaments is also the responsibility of players, and their coach. The lacrosse program has an annual league meeting at Baylor University in Waco in which all lacrosse teams from Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma send representatives to negotiate times and dates to compete. Small explains that finding a coach in itself is challenging.

“We hire and pay our coach, which takes tremendous effort because as President, I have to find a coach that the team will respect and who will put in the necessary time to make all practices and all games with little pay.”

Since club sport athletes do not receive sport scholarships, organizing and getting numbers at practice on Monday and Wednesday evenings can be tough. Fellow captain Joshua Phillips says the team welcomes anyone interested in playing the sport to try it out.

“Anyone can join,” said Phillips. “It takes some work to get familiar with it all but we are willing to work with anyone that is motivated to excel at something new.”

The lacrosse team began their season this past Sunday with a thrilling 6-5 win over Rice University. It’s just the first win of many needed to earn a spot in the long journey to playoffs in mid April. Despite the challenges that come along with running a club sport, its players still manage to enjoy themselves, according to Phillips.

“The best part of playing,” said Phillips, “is having the opportunity to immerse yourself in an activity that is pure fun.”

The team’s next home game is March 1, against Stephen F. Austin State University at 2 p.m.