Beyond the influence in their own lives, the former players and current coaches feel one of the best parts about still being involved in the sport is teaching others to play, and watching participation and audience support grow every year.
“I love being a coach, influencing young athletes to take advantage of the opportunity of what can become a lifelong love and participation in a sport that is rich in tradition and is exciting,” Stevens said. “Out west the game has grown in leaps and bounds in the past 20 years. Currently, the United States has experienced a growth in school teams of 12 percent per year. It’s an amazing number to see.”
Bovee sees the sport expanding in areas it wasn’t well known before.
“In Texas, football is the king of sports,” Bovee said. “So to bring lacrosse to the area has been a very rewarding experience. I get to share a great tradition, but also, I feel like it’s a sport anyone can do. It’s easily accessible. With instruction, time and practice, anyone can learn the game. And one of the most important aspects this game teaches is a respect for you and for others. That sometimes feels lacking in some other, more competitive sports.”
Fiorini, the Baldwinsville coach for 36 years, will be retiring this year. He said the relationships he’s made with the kids over the years has been the most rewarding part of his career.
“It is the best part of being a coach,” he said. “Watching them grow and change and seeing them go off to school and to the world and do amazing things ... So many of them come back year after year or stay in touch, cheering on the game and the current students who play. It has been such a rewarding experience to be their coach and get to be involved in a sport I have been participating in since I was in the third grade.”