Welcome to DENTON AREA Lacrosse

DENTON Lacrosse is a youth lacrosse league located in North Texas.

Girls and Boys from all over North Texas, including 

Lake Dallas, Corinth, Hickory Creek, Denton, Shady Shores, Little Elm, Lantana and Argyle

are all welcome.

Lacrosse: Sport is catching on in the area

12:00 AM CDT on Sunday, April 24, 2011
By Todd Jorgenson / Sports Editor

CORINTH -- Until a few months ago, Max Marshall hadn't heard of lacrosse.

Like many of his friends, the second-grader at Stephens Elementary in Shady Shores was more drawn toward football and baseball until a lacrosse stick was placed in his hand.

“The first time I tried it, I liked it immediately,” said Marshall, who is one of 19 members of the Lake Cities Lightning, a youth lacrosse program aimed at growing the sport in the area.

The first-year organization has a team of boys in second through fourth grade that has been playing games throughout the area this spring.

That has meant a switch from the usual baseball routine for many parents, including the team's coaches, who themselves became hooked on lacrosse within the past couple of years.

Head coach Allen Webb, for example, said his son got a taste of lacrosse during a trip to New York a couple of years ago. He returned to Texas with his own stick and soon afterward joined a lacrosse league in Flower Mound.

Webb was a football and baseball coach with little knowledge of lacrosse. But he became more involved when his son started trying to recruit his friends to play, and when the Flower Mound program needed an extra volunteer to launch a second team.

Last fall, Webb teamed with Gerry Marshall, another dad who helped coach football and baseball, on the idea of starting the Lake Cities Lacrosse Association. Marshall contacted the lacrosse team at the University of North Texas, who helped to organize a camp to gauge local interest in the sport.

When more than 30 kids showed up for the camp, the coaches knew the idea could work.

“Getting the stick in their hand was a big deal,” Webb said.

Lacrosse is traditionally popular on both coasts, especially in the East, where most of the sport's top college and professional teams play. But participation is steadily growing in Texas, where high school programs in Highland Park, Coppell and other areas have been developing talent for years. Youth leagues in Frisco and Plano have expanded rapidly.

Webb and Marshall saw similar potential in Denton County. So they joined with Aaron Bernstein, another parent who played lacrosse in college at the University of Denver, who agreed to join the staff.

“It's pretty foreign in this area,” Bernstein said. “What was amazing is how quick these kids got it.”

Webb said the reasons why lacrosse appealed to different kids varied. It combines the agility and strategy of various other sports, from football to hockey to soccer.

“Some of them like the contact. Some of them like the speed,” Webb said. “Every kid gets something different out of it.”

Some kids have stopped playing baseball while they give lacrosse a try, and others have added it to their athletic resume while trying to spread the word in the hallways at school.

“I joined it because it's a mixture of all sports. It's a lot of action and a lot of fun,” said Jake Parsons, a fourth-grader at Pecan Creek Elementary. “A lot of us have gotten better with practice.”

The Lightning has competed this spring with 19 kids from six different elementary schools in the Denton and Lake Dallas school districts. The team typically practices twice a week and plays games on weekends, using a football field at Corinth Community Park as its home base.

The Lightning has fared well against more established programs from places such as Highland Park and McKinney, which Webb attributes to his team's work ethic and penchant for physical play that carries over from the football field.

“I said at the beginning of the year that we may not win any games,” Webb said. “We're just trying to spread the sport and get more kids to come out here and play and improve their skills every week.”

Once the season concludes in May, the organization will hold the Green Lightning Camp on June 2-5, which is open to players in grades 1-12 and will feature the UNT players and coaches as instructors.

Marshall hopes to draw more than 200 kids to the camp, and plans to hold a coaches clinic as well.

“We're definitely getting word-of-mouth,” Webb said. “The curiosity from the other kids is definitely there.”

The overall goal is to spread the popularity of the sport, which Marshall said is comparable in terms of equipment and travel costs to playing youth football or baseball.

He said the Lightning hopes to add a girls team next year as well as teams for older kids in the near future. Eventually, he would like to see lacrosse introduced at area high schools.

In the meantime, Marshall is marketing the Lightning toward parents and potential sponsors who are as skeptical as he once was.

“I'm addicted. I can't get enough information on the sport,” Marshall said. “I'm not going to give up at all.”

TODD JORGENSON can be reached at 940-566-6871. His e-mail address is tjorgenson@dentonrc.com