Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

November 16, 2013

Lacrosse movement gaining traction across county

By Jake Thompson jake.thompson@flyergroup.com
Hendricks County Flyer

---- — Introducing a sport into a community where there wasn’t one before takes a great deal of effort. Effort to build a base of participants, effort to build up sponsorships, effort to build relationships within the sporting community, and effort to find coaches. That effort means taking on a full-time job on top of a full-time job.

But with that effort comes diversity. Children are exposed to something new and given different options than were available before.

For Jason Koles, founder of Brownsburg Youth Lacrosse, the experience of being able to bring lacrosse to Hendricks County has been rewarding. Being able to make his son Harrison’s transition from the East Coast a little easier has made it even better.

“It’s been an incredibly gratifying experience,” Koles said. “I know that providing more choices for kids in the area will enable them to find that one thing that they truly love and we hope others find it is lacrosse, as we did.”

After putting on a free clinic in July, BYL set up tents on two occasions at Brownsburg Junior Football League and Avon Junior Athletic Association football games in August and September to recruit players for its spring league.

In between those games, BYL partnered with the Hendricks County Community Foundation, an organization that will provide BYL with non-profit status.

“(We) will be able to take advantage of the benefits that come with it, most importantly the ability to provide a tax deduction to all individuals and businesses who donate to, or sponsor, our organization through HCCF,” Koles said.

There has been an inherent need for sponsorship to help offset costs and Koles brought in a major player when Hendricks Regional Health came on board.

“By securing sponsorship, we hope to be able to defray some costs for our participants as well as begin to develop an inventory of equipment so that in the future we can provide playing opportunities for those that might not otherwise be able to afford it,” Koles said. “Hendricks Regional Health has stepped up as a major sponsor and we look forward to working together with them to develop the sport all across Hendricks County.”

On Oct. 6, BYL put on its second free clinic — with about 35 attendees — with Ball State lacrosse coach Patrick Balsley and Zionsville lacrosse coach Matt Garvey.

Koles’, and Harrison’s, goal was to eventually get a high school team underway through starting at the youth level. BYL will start toward that goal in the spring with registration beginning Nov. 18.

Initially, Koles envisioned three levels of play — third- and fourth-grades, fifth- and sixth grades, and seventh- and eighth-grades — with the hopes of developing a high school team after a few years of having enough players interested.

That time may have come quicker than imagined as Koles said he’s gotten interest from a small group of high school players in the area that want to form a team this year.

“We are evaluating our options and investigating whether or not we have the ability to put all the pieces in place,” he said.

While the Cornerstone Christian Church in Brownsburg has donated a place for the league to play, the facility, for various reasons, is not suitable for a high school team and its needs. There are also other factors to be considered such as coaching and parental support.

“My focus is, and will remain, on developing the youth program, but that network of helpful people that I developed can and will be shared with someone who is interested in taking the reins,” Koles said. “I will be there in support, because having synergy between the youth and high school teams will be critical for our futures, but there needs to be someone as invested as I am steering the ship.”

For more information, visit the website at www.brownsburglacrosse.com or contact Koles directly by e-mailing to brownsburlax@gmail.com or calling 417-9518.

— Follow Hendricks County Flyer sports editor Jake Thompson on Twitter @JacobEThompson.