Team Moms, Parents And Coaches Help Lacrosse Succeed in Highline

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by Ralph Nichols

Like any other youth sports program, the Highline Lacrosse Club is all about its young athletes. And like each of these programs, it’s parent-volunteers who make possible the play of Highline’s lacrosse teams.

Heather Malo is team manager, team mom, and a board member of the Highline Lacrosse Club. And, say the coaches, they couldn’t do it without her – and other involved parents whose support they depend on throughout the three-month season.

For Heather’s part, the time and other commitments it takes to do all this comes from a growing, infectious enthusiasm for lacrosse, which she describes as “exciting and thrilling.”

Looking on at practice, Malo said “most of us [with youth lacrosse players] were baseball parents, and after the first practice we were hooked on it. It’s such a fast-paced sport – one big adrenaline rush.”

Of her role as team manager, she admits, “It’s a challenge.”

“Heather is always sending out e-mails to us for score keeping, running the clock, lining the field for games,” said Leanne Pollock, also a mother of a player who is active with the club. “It’s a team effort.”

Pollock, who was new to lacrosse this year “and didn’t know what it was about” at first, credited Malo for helping get her involved.

“It’s a volunteer effort,” Malo said. “All the coaches make this a group effort for our kids. Mark does such a good job of building the boys’ self-esteem, of building their self-confidence.”

“Some of them came onto the field afraid the first time. Now they are some of our bolder players. It’s the least I can do to help him.”

Mark Benendum, a former collegiate lacrosse player, coaches the 5th-6th grade team. He is the founder of the Highline Lacrosse Club, which was built on and expended the Highline-area high school lacrosse program.

“It’s really special for the kids when they have coaches who have played this sport,” Pollock noted. “They love it.”

Malo added, “Men like Mark, who no longer have children this age, are such a rarity to invest in the community just because they can.”

[Editorial comment: As a one-time youth football and basketball coach for junior high boys in Anchorage, I cannot speak too highly of the assistant coaches who did their part – and especially of the team moms who worked behind the scenes to make it all possible! – RN]

And parent-volunteers, coaches and team managers and moms alike, do all this for the players – kids like Liam Allan, a center midfielder, and Quin Malo, a center defenseman and right defenseman.

“It’s just a good experience and you hit people and it’s really fun,” said Allan during a break in practice. “And it really helps you with your hand-eye coordination.”

Malo described lacrosse as “really not like any other sport” but a game that combines “the speed of soccer and the footwork of basketball with football’s aggressiveness.”

For more information, check out the Highline Lacrosse Club’s Facebook Page here.

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