Calgary Roughnecks transition player Geoff Snider recently used lacrosse to help kids affected by the tragedy in Newtown, CT while teammate Andrew McBride brought the game to Africa in November through Right to Play.
Two Calgary Roughnecks players have been making a difference recently by using lacrosse to connect with children in places near and far. Last week, Roughnecks transition star Geoff Snider visited Newtown, Conn. to play lacrosse with kids in a community devastated by the recent shooting tragedy after teammate Andrew McBride brought the game to Africa in November through Right to Play, an international humanitarian organization.
Snider and Philadelphia Wings transition player Kyle Hartzell went to Newtown on Thursday along with seven other pros to play games and teach lacrosse to local kids, some of whom are students at Sandy Hook Elementary.
“We ran four different groups through, fourth or fifth-graders up to high school kids," Snider told Megan Robinson from 660News in Calgary. "We did drills, played some games, taught some stuff and worked on some skills. A lot of individual attention, a lot of teaching and just a fun afternoon.”
Snider was happy to take time out during the holidays to help those trying to cope in a community that has been shaken to its core.
“It was humbling," Snider said. "I was very thankful for the opportunity to be able to do what we do and be in a position where we can help out. It's a sad time there. You really respect and appreciate what you have.”
Last November, McBride spent a week visiting Right to Play programs in Benin, a small nation in West Africa, with the goal of using the sport to support community and organizational initiatives.
“You are amazed at how little they do have,” McBride told the Calgary Sun's Ian Busby. “A lot of them don’t have power or shoes. A lot of them walk two or three hours to school. They have huge smiles and we never heard them complain. It really humbles you."
During his week-long visit, McBride handed out NLL gear, showed off lacrosse demonstrations and played video of game highlights for the kids.
“It reinvigorated my passion for Right to Play and helping people," McBride said. "A lot of people around the world are less fortunate but they have a positive attitude. To see the human spirit there was so remarkable. It was a life-altering experience.”
McBridge also runs Triumph Lacrosse with former teammate and current Buffalo Bandits forward Tracey Kelusky.
"Our main focus is to go to elementary and junior highs and try to spread the game of lacrosse to young people that have never played," McBride told the Calgary Herald. "We've run a program here this year where we'll get to 100 schools, which is pretty amazing. We talk about goal setting, healthy living, striving for excellence and about lacrosse."
Over the summer, McBride also spent time working with troubled aboriginal youth in Thunder Bay, Ont. through Right to Play.
"A lot of them are looking for a positive male role model," McBride told the Herald. "I'm still in contact with one of the boys. I made a deal that for every month he stayed out of trouble, I would send him something. I've sent him a Roughnecks jersey, a stick ... just something to motivate him and keep him excited about the opportunities he has."
The National Lacrosse League has teamed with Right to Play to grow the game while helping those most in need through sport and play. Right to Play's Lacrosse For Development Program, created in partnership with the NLL and the Professional Lacrosse Players Association (PLPA), incorporates international sport-for-development expertise into a sport deeply-rooted in Aboriginal culture and history.