Growing Box Lacrosse in Uganda
Originaly published at www.stormselects.com (Linked here)
Ssekamwa Isaac, the Executive Director of Sports Aid Network in Uganda is working to not only increase his network but also add box lacrosse to their already growing list of sports. Sports Aid Network is geared to providing opportunities to enrich the lives of less fortunate young people in the developing world through sports.
Sports Aid Network catalyzes a collaborative response to the complex sports needs of underprivileged communities and supports the rehabilitation and transformation of youth in post conflict and post trauma regions around the world through sports. This is an area that we feel parallels many Indigenous communities.
Sports Aid Network runs several lacrosse programs in Uganda under their organization founded schools, refugee settlements and of recent just opened up a box lacrosse program within Kampala, the capital city of Uganda, for girls.
The Sports Aid Network wants to promote and grow the program and reached out to us to get a bit more support and guidance on how the sport of box lacrosse is played.
From January 29, 2020, until now, there have been almost an ongoing myriad of emails floating between some of our female box lacrosse coaches, such as Savanna Smith, Kiana Point, and grassroots program developer, Penni King, from PMLA to Kevin Sandy, founder and president of the Iroquois Lacrosse Program.
It even opened doors to connecting us with some of the executive committee members of Uganda Lacrosse Association the world lacrosse recognize National governing body.
Growing lacrosse in any community takes time and willing and passionate volunteers. From showcasing lacrosse in schools and community events, and even looking for sponsors to help purchase equipment to grow the game and support its ongoing development. We all know there is enough competition for our athletes time but there is just something about lacrosse and the roots it has in our own people that is a driving force to keep it going.
Uganda is unique in the sense that it wants to “create an independent program that will not necessarily depend on a foreign force for its operation and survival”.
That sense of independence and autonomy will ensure that Box lacrosse in Uganda will still continue to grow once all of the visitors have come and gone. For certain, we know that providing equipment does not necessarily guarantee the game will be played. With that, you need a willing set of volunteers to help promote its development both on and off the field. Once that is in place, then the growth begins. And Uganda has been developing its field lacrosse athletes and coaches. At the last clinic with World Lacrosse, they had over 50 participants attend the coaching and officials clinic for field lacrosse. While Uganda is fairly new to the World Lacrosse, it is not stopping in its quest to develop its athletes from the ground up.
To properly grow box lacrosse, similar to planting a seed, Uganda is looking at bringing over coaches to mentor coaches and athletes. It is not unheard of. In fact, the Canadian Lacrosse Association has been doing it in order to grow the sport of box lacrosse in smaller regions. The transfer of knowledge to the athletes, coaches, and ultimately, communities can then continue.
Uganda is also considering the deeper cultural connections to the game. Not only understanding the origins of lacrosse but also the potential for cross cultural exchanges to offer greater synergy and understanding between Nations. Iroquois Lacrosse Program with Kevin Sandy, has been instrumental in ensuring a greater understanding of the history of the roots of the game to Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities for over 20 years.
And this is where we are at. We all know that the growth of lacrosse can be difficult in any community. But we do know it can be done.
- When do we send coaches to Uganda? What time of the year is best to engage with communities and youth?
- Who would be interested in taking a 30 hour trip one way to Uganda to share their love of the game?
- How would we ensure there is equipment (lacrosse balls, gloves, sticks, kidney pads, upper, helmets, and for the goalies, shin pads, pants, gloves, uppers and goalie helmets) to Uganda? How would we engage and get that support needed to grow the game?
- What other materials are needed to strengthen the growth of lacrosse in Uganda or what other partnerships can be developed to support it?
Box Lacrosse is a game that is called the fastest game on two feet for a reason. When opportunity beckons to grow the game, you get ready to train for what will ultimately be the most exciting game to occur knowing full well that in order to play the game well, we have to be ready to give 100 percent effort.
We look forward to seeing the growth of box lacrosse in Uganda and appreciate the email to begin the steps moving forward.
For more information, you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
(click play to watch an inspirational video of field lacrosse in Uganda)