Club sports controversy

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Will lacrosse ever become an official school sport?

Will lacrosse ever become an official school sport?

Will lacrosse ever become an official school sport?

Ian Woodward, Staff Writer

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Club sports have always been a huge controversy at East Lake High School, with certain sports not being allowed to join as a school sanctioned Varsity sports team. These teams that are not allowed to join have been relegated to make themselves a “club sport.” These club sports include the East Lake Lacrosse club team as well as the East Lake Hockey club team. The East Lake lacrosse program was founded back in 2010 when the lacrosse scene started to expand nationwide and hit Florida. With lacrosse still being a relatively new sport to the majority of the country, it is expected that in the earlier years we would remain a club team for quite some time. However, much concern has arrived as the club is undergoing its seventh consecutive year as a club sport and not a school sanctioned varsity sport.

East Lake club sports have been very successful in previous years, as the lacrosse club has reached the semi-finals in the playoffs and is currently 13-0 and dominating in their league, and the hockey club team has recently had back-to-back playoff appearances as well as a state title. The Eagles are thirsting for some tougher competition, which they know can only be achieved by becoming a varsity sport. However, according to the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA), for every one strictly boys’ varsity sport, there must be an equal number of girls’ varsity sports available, and the major concern from Pinellas County schools athletics is that there may not be enough interested girls to form a women’s lacrosse team or hockey team. Other obstacles are forcing East Lake lacrosse to remain a club team, such as a waiting list for certain sports to be added into the FHSAA Varsity sports. With sports such as men’s indoor and beach volleyball being suggested each year, it is not looking too bright for lacrosse or hockey. With the amount of money that a school-sanctioned lacrosse or hockey team may take to build, the district is looking towards a smaller and easier program to add into the ranks.

I was fortunate enough to speak with East Lake’s athletic director Mr. Toscani one on one and discuss the matter. With lacrosse being one of my favorite sports, right away Mr. Toscani expressed his admiration for the game’s speed and physicality. However, as we got deeper into the matter, I gained a much better understanding from another perspective on why East Lake lacrosse and hockey are not given a chance. I asked, “What is holding East Lake back from embracing lacrosse/hockey as a school sport?” and Toscani answered, “There just simply isn’t enough budget to go around in order to add such a large scale sport.”

Another problem that was brought to my attention was field space; what days are lacrosse supposed to play or practice on the game field? With flag football in season there isn’t enough room to share field time between the two sports. It’s not looking good for the lacrosse team, and I don’t even know where we would play hockey near school grounds, as the nearest ice rink is 25 minutes away, which would almost eliminate the school sport aspect of the sports environment.

With all of these obstacles keeping lacrosse and hockey from becoming a school sport, all the club sports can do is just wait it out until they become more popular among the student body.

 

 

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