Lacrosse at the Parade Grounds dates back to at least 1885, when the New York Times reported over 35 games were played. This summer, the Brooklyn Battery Lacrosse Club (BBLC) youth teams will be restoring a tradition largely dormant for over 100 years. Founder Joe Nocella describes the fields as hallowed grounds in terms of Brooklyn sports history. “There have been at least 43 World Series rings awarded to alumni of the Parade Grounds...for many decades, this was the epicenter of sports in America”
The Brooklyn Battery Lacrosse Club’s Mission is to bring the sport to kids who have never seen it, focusing on “Fundamentals, Team, Respect and Brooklyn”. The goal is to expose kids to a sport played at top universities across the country. Nocella continues, “City kids, who do great in school and excel at lacrosse...you can’t name me a college that wouldn't be falling over themselves trying to recruit this amazingly diverse demographic”.
Lacrosse has enjoyed an uneven history in North America. Initially played centuries ago by native Americans as training for war, Victorian-era Americans took to the sport to connect with the idea of the “noble savage”. This generally took root in very affluent sporting clubs of the upper class. Throughout most of the 20th century, lacrosse retained the stigma of a sport mainly played at boarding and prep schools.
As the sport has spread across the country in the last 20 years, one of the last frontiers has been inner cities. Nocella reflected, “There are many barriers to entry for a new lacrosse player in the city. Equipment costs, field space, logistics all contribute to very few active urban teams compared to their suburban counterparts”.
The BBLC has some powerful allies in this mission to bring lacrosse to this final frontier, Aided by assistance from US Lacrosse and equipment manufacturers like Warrior, the BBLC is working hard to remove as many barriers of entry to the sport as possible with equipment grants and financial assistance.
What's in a name, you might ask? See the following description to see where the group got its inspiration:
"The Kings County Parade Ground...was designed by Olmsted and Vaux along with adjacent Prospect Park and saw its first parade in 1867. The 11th Brigade's Howitzer Battery was the lucky unit to be the first to march and fire a shot. Although intended from the start as a military facility, sports moved in early, and by 1871 the Parade Ground was being described by Henry Chadwick as the "finest free ball ground in the United States."
Join the Brooklyn Battery Lacrosse Club for free clinics on all 4 Saturdays this August at the world famous Parade Grounds. The sessions will be from 3-6 pm August 4th, 11th, 18th and 25th, played on Field 4. Boys and Girls ages 5-15 of all skill levels are invited to attend. Sticks will be provided for use, courtesy of US Lacrosse and Warrior Lacrosse. These Summer clinics will be followed by a full Fall and Spring season. For more information, please go to http://www.brooklynlacrosse.org.