Lacrosse heats up as this spring’s spectator sport
Trevor Maxim | Staff Writer
With the Black Hole being the prominent force behind student attendance at varsity football and basketball games, lacrosse may be filling the void as the spectator sport of the spring season, according to senior Chad Singleton.“I think it’s definitely on its way [to becoming a prominent spectator sport],” Singleton said. “People go to the football and basketball [games] for two reasons: the fast-paced and even the contact aspect of it. That’s something lacrosse can offer over the other spring sports.”
Singleton said that he sees varsity baseball as the other main competitor for audiences during the spring, but that lacrosse still has an edge.
“There is a dwindling amount of people who are going to the baseball games, [but] an increasing amount of people going to the lacrosse games,” Singleton said.
As one of the newer sports to Mason High School, lacrosse is still not a part of the Greater Miami Conference or the Ohio High School Athletic Association.
According to US Lacrosse, the national governing body of the sport, youth participation in the sport has grown over 138 percent since 2001, to nearly 300,000 participants. Even with this lack of varsity recognition, the sport is still gaining popularity in terms of the number of spectators, according to Singleton.
Senior Andrew Roussos said he has played lacrosse all four years of his high school career, including three years as a varsity athlete. He said he agrees that the sport’s popularity is increasing.
“[Lacrosse’s popularity] is going to go nowhere but up,” Roussos said. “Lacrosse is the fastest-growing sport in America [in terms of number of athletes].”
As a player, Roussos said that the larger crowds have had a positive impact on his experiences during games.
“I like the [bigger crowds] because people yell at the refs all the time, and when people score the fans are crazy,” Roussos said.
Over the years that Singleton has watched the lacrosse team, he said that he has noticed a significant increase in the number of students in the stands. He said he attributes this increase mainly to the level of play exhibited by the team.
“The guys are playing really well, probably the best season they’ve had since we’ve been in high school,” Singleton said. “And with the wins and the killer scores and all the [other aspects]…comes the attendance.”
Singleton said that given the makeup of the team, which includes many strong junior players, it is likely that the level of play for the team will be even higher next year, leading to even larger crowd turnouts.
The junior players on the varsity lacrosse team make up almost half of its total players, according to the varsity lacrosse roster from MasonComets.org. There are 28 players on the team for the 2010 season, 13 of whom are juniors.
“Since the junior class has a lot of good players, I could see even more people coming to games in the future,” Singleton said.
Roussos also said that he attributes the sport’s popularity to the success of the team, that people are attracted to victory when it comes to watching sports.
“Well, one [reason for the change is that] we’re getting better and winning more games so I think it’s exciting to see… a good Mason sport,” Roussos said.
Singleton said that he has been attending lacrosse games since he was a freshman. Although he has never played lacrosse for a school team, Singleton said he enjoys watching the sport and plans on playing on a club team this summer and in college.
“[Lacrosse] has just been a sport that really intrigued me,” Singleton said. “It’s a fast-paced, physical sport, and those are just two aspects of the game that I really like.”