The Jets Lacrosse Club, which started in 2009 with “a handful” of players, now has 14 teams with a total of about 250 players, mostly from Stapleton, Park Hill and Lowry, says U13 coach Stephen Flannery. Six of those 14 teams won the state championship in their division in the Colorado Youth Lacrosse Association (CYLA) championship tournament at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in June.
Interest in the sport has grown in recent years, says Flannery, partly due to concerns about head injuries in football and partly because players and parents find the game exciting, both to play and to watch. Typically numerous goals are scored and lots of players participate in the action that moves the ball around the field, making it more interesting for parent spectators than some other sports.
The affliction across the entire sports industy of spectators berating referees has affected lacrosse, just as it has affected other sports. Though no Jets games have been cancelled, Flannery is aware of other games that have been cancelled for lack of referees. Despite being a well-paying job for youth, he says few players are willing to come out and get berated by players’ parents.
Sports program administrators have to deal with parent sportsmanship, says Flannery. The Jets have a mandatory meeting for parents at the beginning of the season to “set out expectations for the parents, the players and the coaches. Their motto is: parents parent, players play and coaches coach. “We hold them accountable,” adds Flannery.
If all 14 Jets teams are holding to those commitments, they are all winners and they are all to be congratulated for raising the level of the sport.