Several schools in town had the privilege of a visit from Andrew McBride who taught students on the basics of lacrosse.
McBride spent 13 years playing lacrosse for the Calgary Roughnecks in the National Lacrosse League (NLL) as well as the Coquitlam Adanacs of the Western Lacrosse Association(WLA).
When playing with the Roughnecks, McBride and his team won two champions cups.
He has just retired from playing with the Roughnecks and now spends time working with children, introducing them to the lacrosse sport.
When teaching the students in their physical education classes, McBride knows how to relate to the students.
In his visit at Ecole Mother Teresa School last Wednesday, a Grade 6 and 7 split class was but one of the physical education classes he taught. He also visited École Steffie Woima School and École Fox Run School during his informative stop.
During his time at Mother Teresa, he first asked the students what they were learning in their other classes, then shared a bit about himself – including how he is fromVancouver.
He went on to explain the importance of lacrosse in Canada and its historical significance.
“I think Lacrosse has a bigger tradition than hockey,” he said. “Lacrosse is such an important part of the First Nations’ heritage as well as their culture and it continues to be.”
After a brief over-view of the origins of lacrosse, the students were more than excited to grab a stick and learn different tricks with the stick and tennis ball.
Most of the students had previous experience with lacrosse, but even so, McBride showed them a few tricks including how to throw the ball up, spinning the stick several times and then catching the ball in the net again.
Although McBride made it look easy, the kids shared a laugh when they found out just how difficult it really was.
After getting comfortable with the stick and ball, the students lined up and did relay races around pylons. This is where they ran while trying to keep the ball in their basket by cradling it.
Doing the different drills helped to cement various lacrosse skills, such as being able to run and not drop the ball.
“We want to get them running, picking up the ball and scooping, which is basically how you get the ball,” McBride said. “I think kids like the different tricks. You want to show them something fun and shooting is something the kids all like. The name of the game is to get the ball and shoot in the net so it’s good to show them that skill as well.”
After McBride showed the students how to throw the ball, he separated the boys from the girls into two opposing teams.
Each team competed to throw the most balls into the net on the opposite side of the room. The girls ended up winning.
McBride is motivated to teach children how to play lacrosse because the sport can lead to many great opportunities.
He also said that lacrosse is a great sport to teach in an environment where kids are just learning how to play.
“It’s fast, there is lots going on, you can do lots with sticks – you can fire a ball around pretty quick,” McBride said. “Kids seem to really take to it and enjoy it and I think that’s the thing about lacrosse. It’s also pretty affordable with lots of great opportunities.
“Once you get a kid with a stick in his hand and are able to give them that experience, it’s really a sport that generates and drives itself.”
He knows that many children are involved with hockey, but highlighted the fact that many of the greatest hockey players also played lacrosse.
“There are tons of people that would play hockey in the winter and lacrosse in the summer,” McBride said. “Lacrosse is growing a lot and there are many great opportunities.”
Lacrosse compliments the skills learned in playing hockey with many of the skills being the same – such as hand-eye coordination.
“Lacrosse is running and walking, something you do everyday,” McBride said. “So I think kids who aren’t necessarily the greatest athletes that understand they want to be athletic – they can pick lacrosse up and it translates a little bit easier than going on ice right away.”
McBride also highlighted the fact that playing lacrosse is the number one sport students can get a scholarship with.
He said there are so many opportunities for kids playing lacrosse as it is a fast growing sport in North America.
“Tons of schools are taking it over and it’s a really exciting time for kids not only in the United States but in Canada,” he said. “There are lots of opportunities and even more opportunities for girls – it’s an exciting time for lacrosse in the province.”