From 3d Lacrosse-
3d Player Griffin Gharrity Launches Unified Lacrosse
to #GrowtheGame and Build Friendships with
Intellectually and/or Physically Disabled Athletes
3d Lacrosse Colorado/National 2017 team member Griffin Gharrity’s first interactions with intellectual and/or physically disabled kids came through a theatrical arts non-profit organization called Magic Moments, a group dedicated to joining communities through annual musical stage productions. From these beginnings, Griffin felt he could develop a different sort of ‘center stage’ for these children using Lacrosse as the common bond.
“There’s a huge group of Colorado-based lacrosse players interested in giving back to the community and I realized we could pair our love of lacrosse while developing friendships with kids who might not otherwise encounter the sport over a long-term program,” said Griffin.
The result is Colorado-based Unified Lacrosse which will match intellectually and/or physically- disabled athletes with partner-athletes through five practice sessions in May and June at the South Suburban Sports Dome in Centennial Colorado. The Kick-Off Camp (Thursday, May 19th, 4 – 6P) and program are free and open to boys and girls ages seven to 19. A pre-program meeting for all participants will take place Sunday, May 3rd at the Glenmoor Country Club (3 – 4P for Partner-Athletes and 4 – 5P for parents and athletes).
All athletes and partner-athletes must apply to the program, register for the Kick-Off Camp and attend the pre-camp meeting.
Before launching Unified Lacrosse, Griffin, a sophomore at Cherry Creek High School, interviewed program leaders at other non-profits with similar missions but different sports which eventually led him closer to home than he might have imagined: Legend High School JV Boys’ Lacrosse Coach, Jeremy Dorr, who also teaches special education, had matched athletes of various abilities through basketball while he taught and coached at Aurora’s Grandview High School.
“I am so excited to be able to help Griffin and his friends launch Unified Lacrosse,” said Jeremy Dorr. “For both groups of athletes – to be able to wear the uniform, to be engaged as the center of attention, and to hear whistles blow and the crowd cheer for their accomplishments is life-changing. There is an unparalleled magic that comes from bringing these kids and their parents together.”
Dorr notes that each practice session will include drills to learn catching, throwing, ground-ball handling and dodging and will close with a 45-minute scrimmage.
Dorr added, “We’ll use tennis balls for part of the time and throw in lacrosse balls at other intervals as we see players develop over time.”
Funding for the initial stages of Unified Lacrosse has come from Griffin’s grandfather, John Adair, a retired CEO of a roofing company. Interested donors can contribute via Pay Pal or Cheddar Up, a Denver-based fundraising web tool. The group also needs volunteers beyond partner-athletes, as well as team tee shirts or jerseys, snacks and gently used lacrosse gear.
Having worked with intellectually and/or physically disabled kids in the past, Griffin understands what’s in store for learning a complex sport like Lacrosse.
“We know that we want to give kids the chance to enjoy lacrosse and create friendships while coming together as a community,” added Griffin. “There will be kids who really get the hang of it athletically and others who will find excitement in just getting out there. In both instances, we hope that everyone really has a great time.”