Mark lacrosse as another casualty of 2020, as the COVID-19 virus has bulldozed just about every youth sport and community activity on the docket this spring and early summer.
Charlestown Lacrosse and Learning Center has been a stalwart of after-school programming and, most importantly, youth sports in the spring – a sport that has become extremely popular in the Town between hockey and basketball seasons and baseball and softball seasons.
But this week Director Reed Catlin said they have unfortunately had to cancel the spring season, and while they have smaller programs at other times of the year, spring is their major time to play competitively.
“Our spring season is cancelled for both the boys and girls programs,” he said. “There is not really summer or fall youth leagues either. We do a little fall ball and other things, but it’s a spring sport only.”
He said they are looking carefully at when things open up in the Commonwealth and whether or not there are some chances to get Sunday games in, or maybe a short jamboree tournament so it isn’t a total loss – but that is still uncertain.
“Like out leagues, we are waiting to see if things open up,” he said. “If they do and things are allowed, we would try to do something. It would be ad hoc. If we’re allowed and there is nothing scheduled, we’d grab teams and play some friendly games. But we have to be careful with that. We don’t want cases to flare up because we wanted to get a fourth grade lacrosse game in over the summer. In the grand scheme of things, there are more important priorities.”
That said, if there is a chance, Catlin said he’s interested in having a two-hour clinic on a Sunday for players that are interested, and to provide something when there is no Little League or softball – not wanting to interrupt their seasons.
“I don’t think we’d push for lacrosse in a time that usually isn’t lacrosse season,” he said, noting that many lacrosse players also play fall soccer, baseball, softball or football. Lacrosse in Charlestown is typically completed in mid-June about the same time as the end of the regular school term.
Finance-wise, many youth sports programs are in flux all over America, but Catlin said they have built up enough of a Rainy Day Fund to sustain the organization through the pandemic. He said he also isn’t too worried about losing existing players who have made lacrosse part of the ebb and flow of their athletic routine.
He is concerned there might be some loss of players who had signed up for the first time, and maybe won’t be interested next time around.
“The bigger worry for us is the first year player that signed up this year and was excited to try something new,” he said. “Who know if they’ll have that same excitement nest year? There’s really not much we can do about that…There could be a little dip in our numbers next year, but I really don’t see that as a big problem.”
As for the Learning Center in Memorial Hall on Green Street, they are beginning to ramp up an online curriculum. He said that has been a tough lift as the Learning Center has thrived on individual instruction and attention to students looking to get help or tutoring from the staff. Doing such things online has not been as easy, but they are adapting quickly.
“As always, the Learning Center is open to anyone,” he said. “It’s tough really because we’re a place where kids would go and we worked closely with the kids. The part that was really important was building learning relationships with the students. We’ll see how that works on Zoom.”