Live – Love – Lax

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I would never have believed you, if last year you told me that I would be teaching lacrosse in Spanish to girls in Peru (and on an extremely bouncy concrete court)!

And yet, over a year later that is exactly what I am doing. When we made the calendar back in February, we decided lacrosse would be the last sport we would teach. Back then, it seemed like we had ages to go before July, and yet somehow, it has arrived!

I started playing lacrosse in high school and absolutely fell in love with the sport. And it was clear how much I loved the sport because I stuck with it, even though I had to wear a skirt for the games! I continued playing in college and played with an amazing group of women who were all extremely passionate and dedicated.

I was not exactly sure how teaching lacrosse would go here in Cusco. None of the girls had ever even heard of the sport before, and I was not sure if they would even like playing or if it would all end up being a big mess. Nothing against the girls, but lacrosse is a fairly complicated sport. I am pretty sure that even my parents, who came to countless high school lacrosse games, are still not entirely sure about half of the rules!

I had no need to worry because the girls absolutely love it!

They were so excited to learn the new sport and were entranced by the sticks and balls from the moment we set them down. The other day at Los Nogales, it started raining and hailing, and we took cover under the roof. The girls couldn’t have cared less about getting wet, and took the balls and their sticks and just started playing on the court. Profe Kyla and I were a little slower to join, but by the end of the class we were all soaking wet, but still all smiles and with some improved stick skills!

I have also enjoyed teaching the girls the old tricks I used when I first learned how to play lacrosse. I explained that the ball is like a baby and the head of the stick is the crib. Their goal is to make sure the baby stays in bed! By the end of our first classes, the girls excitedly came up to us telling and showing how well they cradled their baby to make sure it stayed asleep in its bed. One girl even told me about how her “baby” was so comfortable that it was dreaming! It has been awesome watching the girls fall in love with lacrosse, just like I did over eight years ago.

I am definitely going to miss experiences like these next year.

I am going to miss watching the girls support one another as they take their first shots. I am going to miss watching someone new step up and be an amazing leader for the day. I am going to miss the massive bear hugs we are greeted with every day of class. And I am even going to miss all the strange and crazy looks we get carrying all of our equipment around Cusco. Whether it was walking through the middle of a parade with a bag of basketballs, getting asked by bus drivers if our baseball bats were weapons, or asked if we were teaching Quidditch with our lacrosse sticks (We said no, but are definitely thinking of adding that as a new sport to the curriculum)!

But before any real goodbyes, there is still more lax to be played!

– Rachel

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