‘We’re hoping to build a program in a school and we’re hoping this can be a gateway to a better life.’
“I have been involved in lacrosse for years and I’m being recruited to teach fundamentals in Kenya. I know a guy named Isaac Kirinya who teaches orphans in Kenya. I started becoming his teacher in lacrosse. He gives the orphans sticks to play lacrosse and goes around helping people; he’s the most amazing person I know.
“Lacrosse is this yuppie sport now and it has become a cash cow for lots of people, but the spiritual roots of the game are Native American. They called it the medicine game or the giving game; it was a healing game. I coached the Australian national team for eight years and I also coached Spain, so I know the international game. I also coached at Adelphi this spring. I’m more interested in the education of lacrosse and getting these kids in school. Many of them can’t afford school.
“In America, we’re whining because we didn’t get playing time. When kids in Kenya come to lacrosse, they get a meal, and it may be the only meal they get all week. I’m meeting with a woman who is at the Kenton College Prep School and hoping to create opportunities for kids to use this game to get an education.
When you lose hope, then you go downhill fast.
“For these kids, it’s way more than just the championship. We’re hoping to build a program in a school and we’re hoping this can be a gateway to a better life. Fundraising is going to be massive to make this happen at kenyalacrosse.org. I was supposed to go in July, but it was shut down because of COVID.
“The world doesn’t seem to be getting better but I’m pretty sure I’m going to go in October because we have a camp. I’m retired as the director of social studies at Oceanside High School. I’ve written four books about hope, grit and determination. I’m teaching at Molloy College, offering a college experience for young adults with severe challenges like autism spectrum disorder and Down syndrome.
“Most of my doctoral work was on hope — it’s a positive psychology construct and my research was that kids in alternative schools, kids who can do the work but choose not to, have lost hope. When you lose hope, then you go downhill fast. Whereas hope is the best predictor of college graduation. I see lacrosse and all these aspects of my life coming together to build hope.”