By Celine Macura
It wasn’t far-fetched for the boys’ varsity lacrosse team to let out a few thundering roars after defeating Great Neck North on Friday, May 1. After all, they didn’t win just an ordinary game— they were also one dirty cleat mark closer to curing cancer. The annual “LAX out Cancer” game was an overall success—raising not only money but also awareness.
Originally started by the girls’ lacrosse team and adopted by the boys’, “LAX out Cancer” has been in motion for three years. Girls’ varsity lacrosse coach Christine Hakanjin said, “The event began when a former district lacrosse coach was diagnosed with cancer. Our players decided that they wanted to make a difference and join the fight against cancer.” Their efforts have not gone unnoticed: The teams sell shirts, hold bake sales, and solicit sponsors—a task easier said than done. Hakanjin believes the games are “a wonderful way to take a cross-town rivalry and turn it into an amazing charity event.”
“The seniors and captains didn’t shy away from stressing the importance of the game and the seriousness of the rivalry, so everyone understood the gravity of what was at stake,” said team member senior Hayden Edelson. But what was at stake? Was it just the Crowley Trophy placed in the hands of the winner? No—Edelson said that cancer research charity was a huge motivation for the boys.
On game day, the team wore their “LAX out Cancer” shirts in school. The whole team purchased them for ten dollars each, and the profit went to cancer research. The shirts did more than could money alone: They raised awareness and encouraged students to watch the game and show their support with donations and sponsorships.
Donations could have been in two different ways: by sponsoring a player or making a straight donation to the fund itself. By sponsoring a player, a person agreed to pay a certain amount every time that player completed a specific, predetermined task, such as accomplishing a number of goals, assists, or ground balls. People could alternatively make direct donations through the player with an upfront deposit of any amount. Then the team sent the money to the American Cancer Society, where it was used to fund research and help support those diagnosed with the illness.
In many ways, the “LAX out Cancer” game was just like any other. The South boys dominated the first quarter, shutting out four goals against North. While the opponents were able to get one goal in during the second quarter, the Rebels retaliated with three more. In the third quarter, the Rebels took three more goals, and in the fourth quarter, each team scored one goal. Five of the eleven goals were scored by senior Daniel Doreste. Other top scorers were senior Jarett Greben, junior David Kimmel, sophomore Caleb Ponce, and freshman Ian Wolf. Standing in South’s goal was senior Ethan Shonhaut with a total of seven saves.
Cancer touches almost everyone in one way or another. The team’s toughest rival this season wasn’t another school team, but instead the crippling illness of cancer. “LAX out Cancer” was just another win for the boys this season, but this one carried a little more weight than most.