Middle school boys’ and girls’ players from throughout Baltimore City came together for fun and competition last Saturday at the inaugural Baltimore Lacrosse Showcase, hosted by US Lacrosse and radio station 92Q. Players competed in small-sided 5 vs. 5 games, as well as skill competitions and an all-star game during a day-long celebration of lacrosse at Patterson Park.

“My kids really enjoyed the day,” said Shaeleen Bader, founder and coach of the 13th Girl Foundation. “The girls just love playing.”

While competition and fun were among the priorities of the day, the underlying goal was to foster continued growth of the city’s underserved lacrosse community. 

“This was a great opportunity to get the community together through the shared connection of lacrosse,” said Omar DuPree of Harlem Lacrosse Baltimore. DuPree noted that some of his players from Commodore John Rodgers School enjoyed playing on teams with players from other clubs.

“Our kids develop friendships from events like this,” he said.

 

Saturday’s event provided an opportunity to further showcase Baltimore City lacrosse at the middle school level. 

“We wanted a unique way to reach a new demographic of parents and players,” said Eboni Preston-Laurent, senior manager of diversity & inclusion at US Lacrosse. “By partnering with 92Q, it allowed us to spread the message and the impact of lacrosse to parents and children that might not otherwise hear about our sport.”  

For some coaches and program leaders, events like the Baltimore Showcase help position lacrosse as a valuable tool to make an impact in the life of young people.

“Lacrosse is the vehicle that allows us to expose our kids to new things,” Bader said. “We want to expand their opportunities.”

Similarly, part of Harlem Lacrosse’s mission is to inspire children to dream about tomorrow while working hard on the field and in the classroom. The hope is that coaching, encouraging and motivating students on the field can also help to accomplish great things with them in the classroom.

“Events like this show kids that people care, and that’s an important message,” DuPree said.

“My hope is that this can become an ongoing event that we can support and rally around every year,” said Preston-Laurent.