Lacrosse is not the problem

March 07, 2012

I recently finished reading Susan Reimer's column about the disgrace of lacrosse as a sport and the detrimental actions it encourages ("For lacrosse parents, a tragedy too familiar," Feb. 24). I don't know her background in lacrosse, but from what I have read I would guess she either has no experience or she had a personal experience that left her resenting the sport.

The generalizations and stereotypes mixed throughout the column come across as a rather simplistic argument lacking any real thought.

The acts of George Huguely were horrendous, but turning this story into a blanket statement about lacrosse players is appalling. As someone who has written about sports for so many years, Ms. Reimer can surely recall other tragic events and actions from many other sports (the murder of a Baylor basketball player and the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse case to name two recent examples). I agree that the murder of Yeardley Love was tragic beyond words, but to condemn a sport because of it is perplexing to me.

I could discard her baseless argument about the University of Virginia case and focus on her equally as egregious statements about lacrosse as a high pressure, privileged, wealthy sport. Her arguments about year-round play, drinking, money, college scholarships, etc. could be an article about any middle-to-upper-class family (I would say any sport would fit into that description, but that would still be simplifying the issue).

I have known many teens with the family money to hire coaches and tutors, attend camps, buy expensive equipment, and do whatever else money could buy. Some of them were lacrosse players, but some were also soccer players, sailors, thespians, and musicians. The pressure, year-round schedules, and high expectations put on students are far from a lacrosse problem. This is an issue that has been discussed for a few decades now.

Lacrosse and those that play it are in no way perfect, but to generalize the sport to the extent that Ms. Reimer did is unwarranted.

Mike Fretwell

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