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A new sports league is planning to make its debut in Los Alamos this spring.
Los Alamos Volcano Lacrosse is currently accepting registrations for youth players in hopes of playing competitively this year. The season is scheduled from March through May.
Lacrosse, an outdoor field game that is similar to the European sport of team handball, but employs the use of small baskets attached to sticks, is one of the original sports played on the North American continent. The origins of lacrosse can be dated back approximately 4,000 years to Native American tribes living in modern-day Canada.
Teams, consisting of 10 players each, attempt to move a small ball across the field into the opponent’s goal. Lacrosse is a full-contact sport in which helmets and shoulder pads are used at the competitive level.
A group of about eight players from Los Alamos has been regularly competing on a Santa Fe-based team, but several of those players desired a team based closer to home.
Volcano coach James C. Miller said there was a good turnout for the two registration sessions over the last two weeks.
“It’s really exciting to get this stuff going,” Miller said. “I’ve been working at Los Alamos National Lab as a student for the past couple of years. I want to make Los Alamos my home for the long run. I’m really excited about helping grow the sport here…New Mexico is kind of a hotbed for lacrosse. There are teams from Santa Fe and Albuquerque. It’s great to get a program started here.”
Miller said he’s hoping to get approximately 20 players for each team the league is planning.
Right now, the focus is on getting the high school-aged team together, but there is also a youth league planned for players in grade 4-8.
One of the league’s organizers, Carole Rutten, said the program has been awarded an equipment grant from U.S. Lacrosse.
The grant, given to the new league in November, will help provide protective gear for players, including helmets, pads, gloves and sticks.
Volcano’s first workouts will consist largely of fundamentals of the sport, including learning the rules and getting the basics of using sticks. It’s likely that the bulk of Los Alamos’ players will have little experience with lacrosse and will have to get a feel for how the game works.
Miller, who played lacrosse at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia from 2001-2004, as well as coaching the women’s program at Texas A&M for a time, said lacrosse takes some getting used to.
“Normally, when new teams begin, there are half the kids that played and half that haven’t,” he said. “Here, everybody’s basically going to be at ground zero, but that makes it a little easier to try to get the fundamentals down.”
When the season does start, Los Alamos is hoping to get somewhere between four and eight high school-age division games against Albuquerque and Santa Fe teams, and even as far away as Durango, Colo.
The program is also seeking coaches with experience, as well as referees.
Interested players can still sign up. Registration information is available on the league’s website, www.laylax.org.