|NEWTOWN, Conn. â€“ Fourteen members of the 2012 NCAA Champion Loyola University Maryland men's lacrosse team took time from their holiday break today to travel to Newtown, Conn., to lead a lacrosse clinic for youth in the town that was forever changed last month by the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.|
The trip, which was student-athlete organized, was the idea of freshman Jason Crane (Pasadena, Md./Chesapeake-AA High School).
Players departed Maryland on Thursday morning and picked up teammates on the trip to Connecticut. Others who live in the New England region met the team in Newtown.
Crane reached out to Jim Wallace, the Coach Training Coordinator for the Newtown Lacrosse Association, and Wallace invited the Greyhounds to lead today's clinic.
"Obviously, we knew the town was hurting, and I found Jim's e-mail address, and I asked if there was anything we could do," Crane said. "He said it would be great if we could do the clinic and talk to the kids.
"When we got here today, Jim talked to us for a while, and he told us how many of (the clinic's) kids were in the school at the time of the shooting. He said the town has been very quiet, and there is a lot of sadness. The kids are dealing with things that no elementary or middle school kid should have to deal with. He talked about how our presence helps the kids out in ways that we can't even imagine."
Today's clinic drew more than 100 Newtown youth players, ranging from third through eighth grades, despite the fact that Crane and the Greyhound put their plans together in less than a week.
"As soon as I got (Crane's) e-mail, I texted him and said I was in," junior Brian Schultz said. "It has been a moving experience. We are trying to do anything we can just to raise spirits a little bit. In Maryland, you can't really gauge what it's been like here, but we've heard some really intense stories from Jim and others."
At the clinic, the Greyhounds taught lacrosse skills and team play, as well as interacted with the kids on the field.
"Hopefully, we can influence them positively," Crane said.
Loyola opens its season on Saturday, February 16, at the University of Delaware, and the Greyhounds open their home schedule on Saturday, February 23, with a NCAA Championship Game rematch against the University of Maryland.