Lacrosse coming to Berwyn Park District

BERWYN – Lacrosse is coming to the Berwyn Park District.

In October 2012, U.S. Lacrosse awarded development grants to 102 teams nationwide through the 2012 First Stick Program. The Berwyn Park District was one of three applicants accepted in Illinois, and the only park district in the nation accepted for this grant.

Through the two-year partnership, U.S. Lacrosse will help the park district develop a self-sustaining lacrosse program that operates by U.S. Lacrosse’s national standards and best practices.

The Berwyn Bombers lacrosse team will be for middle school youth boys, 11-14 years old. Registration for the 2013 season will begin in spring. Games are generally played in May.

The Berwyn Bombers will be led by the Berwyn Park District’s Recreation Programmer Darrell Houston, who served as captain of his high school lacrosse team at Wheaton Warrenville South and played at the University of Illinois. He plays as a defenseman for the DuPage Rangers Lacrosse team.

For those unfamiliar with he game, Houston said lacrosse is sort of a hybrid between soccer and hockey.

“Obviously, it’s a contact sport that requires equipment like shoulder pads, a helmet, gloves and elbow pads. The objective is to score by shooting the ball into the net using the stick,” he said.

The popularity of the sport is creeping its way west, he added.

“It’s primarily an East Coast sport, like from Georgetown, Syracuse, Duke – the Ivy League schools,” he said. Houston credits U.S. Lacrosse for doing a good job promoting the game.

“I’d say its biggest growth has been in the past 10 years, particularly in the Chicago area,” he said. “Ten to 15 years ago, no one had hardly seen it.”

While the game might be new to the current conscience, it harkens back to a time when warriors walked the plains.

“It’s actually a Native American game,” Houston said. “It played a significant role in the life and times of tribes across the continent. They had warriors who played. The whole goal was to bring honor and glory to themselves and their tribes. Maybe 300 years ago, there may have been tribesman playing on Freedom Park, who knows?”