Museum reopening part of big-year buildup Governing body formed

world championships near

March 12, 1998|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

A walk through the Lacrosse Museum earlier this week meant side-stepping loose boards and stepping aside as employees worked feverishly to finish exhibits. A short stroll away at Homewood Field, pounding and clanging continued on the stands being added for the world lacrosse championships this summer.

Amid the confusion of construction, however, lacrosse hasn't been more organized. In one of the sport's most eventful years, a number of independent organizations have merged to form US Lacrosse, a national governing body located on the Johns Hopkins campus.

The organization will have its first celebration Saturday, when the Lacrosse Museum and National Hall of Fame on University Parkway has its grand reopening. It coincides with a doubleheader featuring the top-ranked teams in Division I (Syracuse) and Division III (Nazareth) at Homewood.

"This is a great time for lacrosse, but it feels a little overwhelming at times," said Steve Stenersen, executive director of US Lacrosse and a former North Carolina player (1979-82). "If I'd do it again, I probably wouldn't open a museum, host the world championships and form US Lacrosse at the same time. It's been a crazy couple of years."

Stenersen worked four years to merge such associations as the Lacrosse Foundation, the National Junior Lacrosse Association, two officials' organizations and two club lacrosse leagues. The only major holdout has been the U.S. Women's Lacrosse Association, which has enjoyed remaining independent from the men's game since its formation in 1931.

That may change. Last week, the USWLA's board of directors voted 34-2 to recommend joining US Lacrosse, which would then feature separate men's and women's divisions. Members will have the final vote on April 17.

"We need to decide where we need to commit our resources, human and financial, and what will give our girls the best opportunity to play," said Cathy Samaras, president of the USWLA. "Right now, we already do what US Lacrosse is doing."

However, Stenersen said that belief was the main struggle in forming US Lacrosse and had to sell the fact that a divided front has hindered the growth and national image of the sport. The major goals include: increasing participation in all 50 states, developing consistent rules and conducting research to make the game safer.

US Lacrosse has placed a priority on the youth level, overseeing publication of "Lax Mag for Kids," "Coaching Youth Lacrosse" and "The Parent's Guide to the Sport of Lacrosse" as well as conducting the World Youth Festival on July 18-20 at Towson University.

"The creation of US Lacrosse is the most significant step in the sport's history since the invention of the plastic stick," Stenersen said. "I think lacrosse has suffered dramatically with the lack of a unified purpose. We need to pool our human and financial resources. We have tremendous inefficiency in a sport where we have no excesses."

The first step to upgrading the image of the sport is the renovation of the museum and hall of fame. The new look features a wall-sized mural and exhibits about the Native American version of lacrosse, a spruced-up hall of fame exhibit with computer interaction and more colorful and redesigned showcases.

The premier event for US Lacrosse occurs July 15-25 when it plays host to 11 nations as part of the men's world championships.

Women's Top 15

No. School (1st) .... W-L Pts .. Prev

1. N. Carolina (5) .. 2-0 175 .... 2

2. Temple (4) ....... 0-0 165 .... 3

3. Virginia ......... 0-0 154 .... 4

4. Duke ............. 2-0 142 ... 14

5. Maryland ......... 0-2 135 .... 1

6. Loyola ........... 0-0 133 .... 7

7. Princeton ........ 0-0 127 .... 5

8. Penn State ....... 2-0 123 .... 6

9. J. Madison ....... 0-0 114 .... 9

10. Georgetown ...... 1-0 111 ... 10

11. Wm. & Mary ...... 0-0 99 ..... 8

12. Dartmouth ....... 0-0 79 .... 11

13. Brown ........... 0-0 70 .... 12

14. Yale ............ 0-0 57 .... 13

15. Delaware ........ 0-0 47 .... --

Others receiving votes: Towson, Rutgers, Old Dominion, Vanderbilt, Colgate

Pub Date: 3/12/98

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