Lacrossing Barriers will be visiting Strathmore on March 30 to share their love of lacrosse with people of all ages and abilities.
Director and Founder of Lacrossing Barriers Scott Godfrey started the group in 2015, and explain what it's all about, "Providing opportunities for people to play sport and learn who aren't always given the chance."
"Whether they have one arm, whether they have visual impairment, whether they're in a wheelchair, whether they have motor skills (deficiencies), or whether they're just shy, we make it adaptive so that they can enjoy themselves because a lot of people with learning uniqueness or physical anomalies or physical challenges aren't always given a choice," he said.
For Godfrey, giving people the choice on whether or not they want to play is the biggest reason he started Lacrossing Barriers. He doesn't want anyone to feel excluded or left out because they believe they can't play, and he said he'll always find a way to get players involved.
"We don't make it easy, but if someone wants to play, we will teach them and we make it fun so that they want to come back. They aren't their diagnosis; we ask them the questions: does that hurt your arm? How big do you need the ball? Can you see what I'm throwing at you.? We work hard to understand that we're dealing with an individual and not a diagnosis, and the diagnosis is the direction that guides us toward playing lacrosse properly and happily."
Not making it easy is another big aspect of what Godfrey does, as he said differently abled people understand when you're pandering to them, which can feel patronizing.
"We want to make it authentic and earned... scoring a goal, we don't just have the goalie fall out of the net and let you throw it. If you want to shoot on the goalie, they have the right to stop it. And if you want to score, this is what you have to do to score."
While the authenticity of the sport is very important to Godfrey, that doesn't mean he treats it like a professional team doing drills or anything like that. He explained he wants the people who participate in Lacrossing Barriers to have the same experiences other people have in more traditional sports, which means fun, friendly competition where your accomplishments feel earned. For example, one of his friends has cerebral palsy, and he can throw, pass, move, but not catch. In this case, they have an enabler with the person to help with catches, but enabling isn't a negative thing, as it allows the person to truly participate in the sport with what they can do without focusing on what they can't.
Godfrey explained sometimes there's challenges with people getting frustrated, saying they can't do it and wanting to give up.
"They get upset and say, 'I can't do anything,' and I say 'yes, you can,' and we adjust and show them. And when they do it, you don't make a huge deal, but you make a deal out of it. You can high-five and say 'look, you did that. I didn't do that. No one gave it to you. You earned that.' And that's when they have a sense of achievement and accomplishment and pride in hard work paying off."
When Lacrossing Barriers comes to Strathmore on March 30, Godfrey added he plans on having some players at the collegiate level join, as well as some players that were in the WLA Summer League and hopefully some National Lacrosse League presence as well.
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