DECATUR– One of the nation’s fastest growing sports is lacrosse, and thanks to a grant, the Decatur Park District is hoping it catches on in Decatur.
On Saturday morning the park district, along with some of the coaching staff and team from Illinois Wesleyan’s men’s lacrosse team held their first training camp for kids.
26 boys showed up at South Shores Park at 11 am on the dot to receive their first lessons from IWU assistant coach David Olson and his staff.
“These camps are great because they introduce kids to the sport when they otherwise have never picked up a stick, let alone had the chance to play in the game,” Olson said.
In recent years Bloomington, Springfield, and Champaign have all seen club teams for boy’s and girl’s lacrosse pop up and gain popularity.
Decatur Park District sports supervisor Tony Albertina says they are hoping the same thing happens in Decatur, “This sport has gotten so popular and all the surrounding areas are doing it and we think the kids will fall in love with it once they try it out just one time.”
The Park District received a grant earlier this year from the U.S. Lacrosse Organization that allowed for the purchase of 30 sticks and 30 balls to get the program started.
“We are pretty much the only city in central Illinois that doesn’t have a program,” Albertina added. Saying if all goes well through the pilot program, they would look to start a competitive league as early as next year.
“Lacrosse, despite its growth in popularity across the states is still a relatively unknown sport,” Olson said. “So in order to grow it in popularity each member of the lacrosse community has kind of taken it upon themselves to do what they can to spread the word. If we can just turn one kid onto the sport each session we do, that’s a win for us.”