The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on August 13, 2003 · Page 317
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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 317

West Palm Beach, Florida
Issue Date:
Wednesday, August 13, 2003
Page 317
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WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 13, 2003 29 PORTS & REClEflTISN. THE PALM BEACH POST After summer skills camp, kids sticking with lacrosse By JODIE WAGNER Palm Beach Post Staff Writer JUPITER When Andy Schef-fer moved to Florida from his native New England 13 years ago, lacrosse lagged far behind soccer, baseball and football in popularity. "There were 10 teams in the whole state," said Scheffer, a longtime lacrosse coach. Today, there are more than 100. Thanks to the efforts of a handful of transplanted northerners who have established recreational and club lacrosse leagues throughout the state, the sport has experienced a tremendous growth spurt in recent years. "It's a great sport," Scheffer said. ; JupiterTequesta Athletic Association officials don't disagree. When Bobby Smith and Steve Caruso approached then-JTAA president Jeff Leslie in late 2000 about establishing a recreational lacrosse program for kids, Leslie enthusiastically endorsed their proposal. In the three years since, the JTAATide league has grown to include eight teams, with more expected to be added for the 2004 spring season. "It's a lot of fun to play," Scheffer said of lacrosse, a centuries-old game that blends elements of hockey, soccer, football and rugby. "There's a lot of action, there's a little bit of physical stuff and there's a lot of skill." Not surprisingly, kids have flocked to the sport More than 200 youngsters ages 5 to 15 participated in the Tide's 2003 spring rec season, while more than 50 have participated in Jupiter's annual summer lacrosse camp in each of the past three years. The primary thing is they want to have fun," said Scheffer, who has coached in the JTAATide program since its inception in 2001 and will take over the Cardinal Newman boys team this fall. "If they enjoy what they're doing, - i inininhiiraif t ' ' n unlit h-" .. .n - they're going to continue doing it. They're not going to drop it." Judging by the turnout at Lighthouse Park last month, that is highly unlikely. Despite the searing heat, boys and girls of all ages turned out to learn lacrosse fundamentals from Scheffer and five other high school and recreational lacrosse coaches. "We go over throwing, catching, and ground balls, how to play 1-on-l defense, how to dodge and how to shoot all the basic fundamentals," Scheffer said. In addition, coaches also split w the kids into teams and had them participate in games and shooting contests. "We try to have a skills station and scrimmage situation, then another skill station and then another scrimmage situation ... so that they're not doing drills all day," Scheffer said. The campers appreciated those efforts. "It's cool because it's fun," first-year pLwer Stephanie Lavold, 9, said of the camp. "I like using the stick." "We learn more stuff every ... time," added Ervin Wetzel, 7, a two-year camp veteran. "We learn stuff that is new." Scheffer expects more of the same next summer, when the camp is expected to return for its fourth installment. "Primarily, it's (the goal of the camp) to improve the skills of the kids so that they can progress through to the rec team . . . and eventually go into high school (play)," he said. For information on JTAA Lacrosse, visit BILL INGRAMStatl Photographer Craig Quarles, 11, (left), slaps the ball away from opponent Danny Meyer during a morning drill at the Jupiter-Tequesta Athletic Association lacrosse camp in Jupiter.

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