High Time Lacrosse Abandons Low Quality Facilities

By Liz Wagner

By the time little girls turn five years old, they have learned two main things: how to play soccer, and how to share. But, it appears the FHN girls soccer team has only mastered one of these two skills. Girls soccer has had sole control of the turf for years, every year to be exact. And now that the lacrosse program has been implemented at Francis Howell North, it can easily be agreed upon that there needs to be a new reign of the stadium.

Last season alone girls lacrosse had 19 games cancelled due to rain, which could have easily been moved to the turf if it was marked up. For a growing team this is much more than just the cancellation of 19 games. This is the loss of 19 opportunities to grow as individual players, mesh as a team and learn from success and mistakes in a competitive environment. You cannot get better if you spend a majority of your season solely watching film.

Yes, soccer has 1 (one) singular state championship, but they have all been playing since they were 5 years old. Their fundamental skills are not being taught on the turf, honed in yes, but the concepts are not brand new. The skills and talent that are ever present on the soccer team come from years of dedication, not from stepping on some magic turf their freshman year. Lacrosse on the other hand is a new and growing sport. Many girls have never held a stick before tryouts. Having games and practices rained out consistently takes a much bigger hit on the lacrosse team than soccer. In terms of learning new skills, lacrosse practice time is far more valuable. No, lacrosse has not brought home championships, we can all agree on that. But, if you want a team that wins, give that team the necessary means to improve.

But, the soccer girls can’t play on the grass field because, “it’s bumpy.” This seems a little hard to believe since the soccer boys share the turf with football and practice on the upper field with little to no complaints. It seems like “bumpy” is just an excuse for their poor passes.

In addition, the conditions of turf and grass are very different. Whether it’s field players scooping ground balls or goalies tracking bounce shots, the two respond to play very differently. When the lacrosse team travels to away games on turf not only do we lose the home field advantage, we also have to learn in a matter of minutes how to play on the new terrain. Now that we are playing home games on turf, our practice location must reflect our game conditions. Without this similarity, even when we are at home we do not have a home field advantage.

The overlying point is, neither sport is better than the other. Both are school sponsored and contain Francis Howell North student athletes who deserve adequate practice conditions. Both teams work hard and give their all no matter what terrain. Lacrosse isn’t demanding the soccer girls be banned from the stadium, but for our team to be allocated equal practice conditions of the other Knights. It is only 8 lines of paint, it does not need to draw a line between two teams.