Evans, Ga. (WJBF)– A local lacrosse league questioning what their next season will look like– now that they don’t have a designated place to practice.
Research shows lacrosse is one of the fastest growing sports in the nation. For the Augusta Patriots, a local travel league, the head of operations says not having a “home” field makes it hard to grow here locally.
“It seems like everywhere you turn, there a basketball goal or a soccer net, but there are no lacrosse goals,” Steven Boe, Head of Operations of the Augusta Patriots, said.
For many high school students, sports scholarships are their only ticket to college.
In addition to playing on high school teams, many kids get necessary competitive experience by playing on travel leagues. For local lacrosse players, the Augusta Patriots is the league they want to be on. But for the past year, that league hasn’t had a place to practice.
Boe held a meeting Thursday night in order for lacrosse players, parents and coaches to get on the same page.
“A lot of it was the fact that we went to a tournament last weekend, and the performance was lack-luster, so we wanted to make sure that the players, coaches and parents were on the same page. It came down to.. where are we practicing, and how are we doing things? And it came down to– it’s hard to find practice space at a premium in Columbia County, anyway.” Boe said.
Boe says for the past year, the league has been practicing inside a facility called Platinum Sports.
“It’s a great facility, but it’s a little confining inside. Lacrosse is meant to be played outside. It’s a full-field game,” Boe said.
“If there’s no place to practice, then it’s not going to grow like we want it to. If we get a place to practice, then there will be a chance for it to boom and be in every school around here, creating more opportunities for kids to play the sport and go to college and get scholarships,” Samuel McIlwain, a past Augusta Patriots coach and current Lakeside High lacrosse coach.
Dennis Hodges, manager of Columbia County Parks and Rec.says the Augusta Patriots can practice on their field– But it will require 2 million dollar insurance protection.