‘Do good to receive good’: Ridgeview Lacrosse Club hosting equipment drive for African lacrosse league
(Update: adding video, comments from head coach, player)
REDMOND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The Ridgeview Lacrosse Club is working hard to be a high-level varsity team, while collecting equipment for a team in need in a distant land.
The club is a cohort of Redmond-area athletes competing in the Oregon High School Lacrosse Association.
Head Coach Austin Ryan said the club struggles picking up new players.
“Yeah, absolutely -- exposure is really our biggest problem, just getting everybody started at the youth level,” Ryan said. “We have some guys on our team who are more year-round lacrosse players, then a lot of people picking it up for the first time or playing a little bit in the Parks and Rec.”
Wyatt Kleckler, a sophomore with the club, is an 8-year lacrosse player.
“My dad first signed me up in third grade, and I played for the Ridgeview youth program,” Kleckler said. “Then our program wasn’t doing very great, so I played for Bend -- and now I’m glad to be back here.”
Players like Kleckler want to see the program add enough players for a JV team, and see the varsity team compete with the best in the state.
With lacrosse not an official OSAA sport, the club is fully supported by independent fundraising.
However, Coach Ryan realized they’re not the only club in need of support.
He decided that while raising funds for itself, the team will host an equipment drive in support of the Ghana Lacrosse Association in Africa.
“Since we are reliant on a heavy part of philanthropy from our local people to be able to support our club itself, I think its an important part to educate them that in order to receive, you have to give as well,” Ryan said. “So being able to give, whether it's local or abroad, is kind of the key we’re trying to push for them.”
Ryan said one of the largest barriers to entry in the sport of lacrosse is access to equipment, so his team is looking for donations of helmets, shoulder pads, sticks, gloves and other gear to send to Ghana.
He and his team feel as a part of the lacrosse community, they have to be ambassadors for the sport both in Central Oregon, and around the world.
Kleckler touched on how great the sport is.
“I think it’s a great game that a lot of kids would have fun trying,” Kleckler said. “A lot of kids might look at it and think they might not like it, but most kids that try it really like it.”
The club is hosting a pancake feed this Sunday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Eighth Street and Evergreen Avenue in Redmond, at the old City Hall parking lot.
Tickets for the pancake feed, which benefits the Ridgeview Lacrosse Club, can be bought on site.
Equipment donations for the Ghana Lacrosse Association can be dropped off there as well.