How I came to love lacrosse

Jillian Galanti recounts her years in lacrosse and explains the appeal of the sport for her.


Why play lacrosse? Jillian Galanti tells her story.

I remember standing in a long, fast-moving “shuttle” line, waiting for my turn to catch and pass the ball. I was at a youth lacrosse camp, along with many other seven-year-old girls.  I had no knowledge of the game, because it was my first time with a stick in my hand. Little did I know, as I was missing passes left and right, and struggling to pick up a simple ground ball, that I would spend the next eight years learning and playing lacrosse, which I came to love.

Two years later, on the recommendation of a coach, I played for the Webster Women’s Lacrosse Club, a local club dedicated to teaching girls in grades Kindergarten through 6 the game of lacrosse. I went to the practices with my pink beginner stick and goggles, and I wore my blue and gold uniform for the games, along with neon green high socks.

Later, this same coach told my parents he saw potential in me and suggested they put me in a travel league to expand my skills and intensify my game. I joined Common Goal Lacrosse when I was about ten or eleven years old, and  I have been playing for them ever since.

Since I’m a sophomore now, I only have one year left playing on my travel team, along with three more years in school.  It makes me a little uneasy that my juvenile lacrosse career, in a sense, is almost over, and I will be moving onto the highest level I can play.

Recently, I’ve had to begin thinking about the recruiting process, and it is very stressful. The thought of coaches glaring a hole into me as I play lacrosse petrifies me.  A couple of years ago, watching the older girls actively communicating with colleges seemed so far away.

However,  the planning for college lacrosse is also rewarding.  Most young women, including myself, participate in travel sports now — on top of playing for school — in order to get recruited for college.  Lacrosse players get maximum exposure at all the tournaments by playing the best of the best, while college coaches watch from the sidelines.  I am now responsible for having some idea of where I might want to go to college.  I am also responsible for sending e-mails to the head coaches of the women’s lacrosse programs, telling them about myself as a student and a lacrosse player, along with why I am interested in their school.

Lacrosse has become a huge part of my life.  I dedicate hours on and off the field to improve how I play. At the same time, there are stereotypes and there is inequity.

Many people, for example, tend to favor the way boys play over the more subtle way girls play.  I asked a few of my peers to share their thoughts on girls’ lacrosse.  Ella Trimaldi, who used to play lacrosse, said, “Guys are allowed to do a lot more violent things, and girls can’t be as aggressive.”

Tyler Langley, who is on the school team for boys lacrosse, said, “Girls’ lacrosse is boring, and they can’t shoot as hard and fast as guys.”  In reality, however, the girls’ game is a balance of power and finesse.

It’s hard to explain the love I have for the game.  This sport has taken over and influenced my life for the better.  Lacrosse has provided me with many opportunities and lessons — lessons that will forever affect my life.