The Huntingdon Community Center (HCC) hosted its first introductory lacrosse session for boys and girls in kindergarten through 6th grade Tuesday night.
The free clinic has three more sessions which will be held at HCC, from 5-6 p.m. each evening: Thursday, Dec. 12, Tuesday, Dec. 17, and Thursday Dec. 19.
Leading the session was the Juniata College women’s lacrosse head coach Naomi Radio, with the help of her assistant coach Natalie Gibson and members of the women’s lacrosse team.
“We’re really trying to provide an intro to the game and teach kids the basics,” said Radio. “We have soft lacrosse sticks and balls. We though it would be a cool way to provide an intro to everyone in kindergarten through 6th grade, boys and girls. And it provides a chance for kids to run around when it’s cold and wet outside.”
The kids won’t be the only ones who will be having all the fun, though.
“We’re encouraging parents to get involved and play, too,” said Radio.
All equipment is included.
Once isolated to certain regions of the country, lacrosse has recently been rapidly increasing in popularity.
“It’s been expanding geographically from Baltimore and the D.C. area, as well as Long Island and into Virginia. Syracuse and Long Island in particular have really good pockets of lacrosse and it has been spreading out for there. It’s becoming way more accessible everywhere,” said Radio. “Certainly over the last 10 years it’s been the fastest growing sport in the country. We’ve added somewhere around 200 intercollegiate programs in that time. We still have a lot of catching up to do with other sports though, specifically with women’s lacrosse.”
More kids are being introduced to the sport at a young age.
“Lacrosse has been getting into gym classes,” said Radio. “It’s a good game for teachers to introduce because it improves hand-eye coordination and agility.”
As to whether lacrosse will become a permanent fixture at the youth level in Huntingdon remains to be seen.
“If there’s enough interest it’s something we could bring to the community center,” said HCC director Ted Aurand. “We’ll wait and see.”
Nathan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.