If Derke Price has his way, girls lacrosse will soon be an official sport in Naperville District 203 high schools.
“We are asking you to move Naperville Central (girls lacrosse) from its existing club status to that of a sport,” the Naperville parent asked the Board of Education Monday night.
Price, an attorney and father of an in-district female lacrosse player, spoke as an advocate for making the change for both district high schools.
Price said that the need to make the move was crucial in light of the Illinois High School Association’s scheduled December vote to decide whether or not to organize a state tournament for the sport. The ISHA has maintained that a 40-team minimum is required to stage a credible state tournament.
Price indicated that school districts considered to be District 203’s peers are intending to make the move toward official team status.
He said that girls lacrosse is not some trendy fad likely to fade out over time, but rather already had a history in District 203.
“This activity is nine years old and has overwhelming support from students and parents,” Price said.
Being a club, rather than a school-sanctioned sport, poses challenges for the lacrosse lovers, among them the lack of trainers to deal with injuries. Price said that the club often benefited from opposing teams letting their trainers serve Naperville lacrosse teams.
Then there is the problem of attracting coaches to District 203 when there were more attractive offers from high schools with official lacrosse programs.
Then there are the games scheduled at odd hours, home games often way from campus because of facilities being prioritized for other activities and the lack of space for lacrosse players to even store their clothes and other equipment.
“There is a world of difference between activities for a club and sports,” he said.
Price acknowledged that the district’s budget process was already settled, but stressed that time was a factor with the ISHA’s December vote.
A large group of lacrosse players themselves showed up to plead their case.
Taylor Arlivar said that girls lacrosse suffered form having to compete with school-sanctioned sports like track and soccer, with the result being that Naperville lacrosse teams often took the field with the bare minimum of players for backup.
Carly Shisler said that basic needs are often lacking.
“Girls lacrosse doesn’t even get any help locking up their equipment,” she said.
Superintendent Dan Bridges said any decision to make girls lacrosse an official sport would necessarily involve the district’s budget process and would include the involvement of the School Board.
He also said that he would be speaking to the administrators at the two high schools, including athletic directors and building principals.
“I am concerned about the time frame,” Bridges said.