Regarded as the fastest game on two feet, lacrosse is a fun and high energy team game played using a small ball and a long-handled stick. It has captured the interest of education, sport and community groups alike.
The Qatar Lacrosse Association (QLA) provides programmes and services that introduce the sport to those unfamiliar with it, reducing barriers to participate and supporting the establishment of self-sustainable lacrosse programmes to ensure a diverse lacrosse community.
The heart of the QLA’s “First Stick” programme lies in the belief that a student’s first lacrosse stick not only serves to play the sport but is a symbol of the life-enhancing values — such as confidence, teamwork, sportsmanship and leadership — that can be developed through the sport.
The core purpose of the programme is to create long-term partnerships between Qatar lacrosse and Elementary, Middle and High Schools to support the growth of the sport in Qatar, as revealed by Awsaj Academy, Education City.
Here’s what some of the important people have to say about the sport and its practitioners.
Nancy Beum – Special Education Teacher
How was lacrosse first introduced to Awsaj Academy?
At Awsaj Academy, we create the opportunity for our students to participate in Extra Curriculum Activities (ECA). I myself enjoy learning and playing lacrosse here in Qatar and so I thought it would be a good idea to introduce the sport to our students Grades 3 to 5.
Personally, why do you connect so strongly with lacrosse and its introduction at Awsaj Academy?
There are many Qatari boys that attend Awsaj Academy and if you know anything about boys, they love to run and be active. I thought it would be the perfect sport for them to get involved with as it would be something new and everyone who joined would be at the same level.
What has surprised you the most in the time you have spent delivering the programme? Could you please share a memory to illustrate your point?
The enthusiasm which the boys showed for the sport really stood out. I would be walking down the corridor and they would ask if we were playing lacrosse today, and I had to remind them that we play it on a Sunday, after school — for now.
In what ways did you receive any guidance prior to implementing a new sport at Awsaj Academy?
Although I am a teacher, I had never instructed any sports to children. The QLA made it easy for me by providing step-by-step lesson and activity plans whilst supporting me with answers to any questions I had about implementing them. They also provided lacrosse equipment for us to use and access to a QLA Youth Development Coach, who came along to sessions, the boys really took to him, so all I had to do was my homework in preparing for the sessions.
Is Awsaj Academy planning to expand on its success with lacrosse, and if so, what does the future of lacrosse look like?
Based on the results of our lacrosse ECA, I believe that Awsaj Academy has the potential to take lacrosse to its students on a bigger scale. I would love to see the Physical Education Department introduce lacrosse as a module in its PE curriculum, and representing a school team to play lacrosse against other schools in Qatar.
Christopher Garrison — Head of Physical Education Department
How does lacrosse strengthen bonding and break down barriers among students attending Awsaj Academy?
The introduction of lacrosse was a great success at Awsaj Academy. Students tried a new sport and were highly engaged, learning new skills and rules, and all showed great improvement. The children had to show patience with each other while training and playing because everyone was new to the sport and strategies and skills had to be practiced as a team, and they bonded because they all had success at something new!
Also, in what ways is Awsaj Academy planning to advance the strengths lacrosse brings as a sport to better engage with the community?
We anticipate lacrosse to continue at Awsaj Academy and the children who participated will be the ambassadors for the next group. A new set of our students now know that lacrosse is a fun, fast and competitive game that they want to continue playing, and we hope that they can also branch out and play lacrosse at local recreation level.
Abdulla al-Kawari and Ahmad al-Naimi — Awsaj students
Why is lacrosse so much
Abdulla al-Kawari: “Because I like to make passes and goals.”
Ahmad al-Naimi: “Because I was with all my friends and I want to play it again. I love lacrosse.”
Could you please share a memory to illustrate your point?
Abdulla al-Kawari:“I was running, and I passed the ball to the coach and he passed it back and I made a goal. “
Ahmad al-Naimi:“I like all of it.”
Gibran al-Bader – QLA Co-Founder
“Awsaj Academy have shown an outstanding commitment to introducing lacrosse in a responsible and sustainable way amongst its Qatari boys, providing new opportunities through Extra Curriculum Activities (ECA)”.
David Heywood – QLA Co-Founder
“Inspired by lacrosse, Ms Nancy Beum undertook a big challenge having not instructed the sport before. This is truly a great achievement and goes a long way to show the healthy future of lacrosse in Qatari schools”.
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