A sport which combines aspects of many other major sports’ techniques and agility is looking to make Mansfield a center of athletic talent. With lacrosse growing rapidly as a popular sport in North Texas, the Mansfield Parks & Recreation Department and Mansfield Athletics is offering three free clinics for children ages 6 and older.
Lacrosse has already spawned the Texas High School Lacrosse League and a sister organization for girls lacrosse, which fosters the sport and conducts the statewide playoff system and state championship. Many Texas players have gone on to garner college scholarships to play at the next level.
“Lacrosse combines football, hockey, soccer and a little of every sport,” said clinic coach Jerry Broccoli.
The free clinics will be held on Aug. 7, Aug. 12 and Aug. 18 from 1 pm – 2:30 pm at the Mansfield Activities Center, 106 S. Wisteria Street.
The Parks & Recreation department has offered other clinics in the past. The department began the investigation of offering the sports clinics following an initial query of the community toward a general interest level in the sport.
Many former lacrosse players who grew up on the East Coast and Northern U.S. have moved to the Mansfield area over time and created a growing demand for the next generation to learn the sport.
Broccoli is one of those former players now in the North Texas area.
“Once we determined there was an interest in Mansfield, I weighed in that I could help out as needed,” Broccoli said. “I have done this before in upstate New York.”
Broccoli responded to query for the level of interest and got involved with Mansfield Athletic Center.
“I’ve done this before, and they told me, ‘You’re the guy if you want to do this,’” he said after talking to the MAC.
The goal is to eventually field some teams from the Mansfield and Arlington area and begin playing other teams in the area.
“You don’t do it overnight, but if there’s an interest we can field some teams,” he said.
First things, first, though.
Broccoli said the clinics will teach basic elements such as how to hold a stick, catch, passing, shooting and other fundamentals. He said even information on how the game developed from the Native Americans how it got its name will be discussed. “It’s Lacrosse 101. You can’t get any more fundamental,” he said.
Lacrosse isn’t necessarily misunderstood, Broccoli said, but rather just lacks exposure. There are increasing numbers of youth lacrosse leagues, high school programs and even professional lacrosse which can be seen on television.
The type of athlete suited for lacrosse is varied, as size isn’t a critical factor like in many other sports.
With helmets and pads, the player is well-protected, although Broccoli admits it can be an aggressive sport with taking and giving checks and does require some hand-eye coordination.
“You run all the time, like soccer,” Broccoli noted, “but there is a strategy perspective just as in basketball and soccer.
“If you have two legs and feet and can run, you’re able to play lacrosse.”
To register or for more information, contact Nick Garcia at the Parks & Recreation Department at 817-453-5420 or Nick.Garcia@mansfield-tx.gov.