There were lots of important games this weekend with big implications; Bainbridge won over Lakeside, solidifying a playoff berth, DII Meadowdale punched out of their weight-class and knocked off DI Shorecrest in OT, and in a battle of undefeateds, Sehome-Bellingham bested Stanwood by one goal. All important games on the eastern shores of Puget Sound. But Saturday, on the other side of the sound, at the other end of the divisional races, a couple of other games happened that might be even more important down the road.
The Olympics Mountaineers lacrosse program, made up of Port Angeles and Sequim High School, loaded up their trailers and cars to bring their two high school teams, their volunteers and their enthusiasm for the sport to Port Townsend. (They would have brought their newly refurbished team bus, but the turbo blew recently.) This game was the culmination of a couple of year’s of work by Head Coach Dave Farrington. He coordinated with the Port Townsend Parks and Rec department to come and have an exhibition of lacrosse for the community of Port Townsend to see. So the Mountaineers drove 50 miles east, and the South Kitsap boys’ team and the Mount Si girls’ team drove west to help bring the game to a place that hasn’t seen lacrosse yet. Pretty cool, eh?
The boys’ game started off at 10am, to be followed by the girls. The games were early because it was Senior Prom night for both Port Angeles and Sequim high school. However, prom was held back in Port Townsend, so the players would have to return home, get gussied up, and then drive back the 50 miles to a have their prom night. Ah to be young again…
But let’s connect some dots here. The boys’ game faced-off at 10am, an hour away from the team’s home base. The field had to be marked off and lined from scratch, that usually takes about an hour and a half. The equipment has to be unloaded and the goals set up, probably another half an hour. And all that has to be done before the teams arrive to warmup. That means a bunch of volunteers were up and out of the house at 7:30 on a Saturday. Later, the girls’ lines had to be put on after the boys’ game for their noon draw. Then after that game, it all has to be loaded up and schlepped back 50 miles west to Port Angeles. There’s no way the Mountaineers’ volunteers got back before 3pm. That’s a long day. And they did it all so another community, another group of kids, could get some exposure to a game they’re not familiar with. That is a spectacular example of what happens away from the spotlight in many communities in our state.
Coach Farrington’s program is five years old, they’ve got boys’ and girls’ High School teams, and a boys’ middle school team. They’re trying to fire up a 5/6 team in the future, as they know they’ve got to get a solid youth program going to have sustained positive results at the high school level. They’ve got plenty of talent, plenty of athletes and with that much parent support, it seems clear they are on their way to success.
But today wasn’t about success in the standings, it was about growing the game. It speaks volume about our sport that teams will go to this much effort to help make that happen. Hats off to the teams from Port Angeles-Sequim, South Kitsap and Mount Si.