Help our girls! - Lacrosse president calls for assistance for female team
President of the Jamaica Lacrosse Association (JamLax), Calbert Hutchinson, is touting the organisation’s commitment to gender equality in sports, as he seeks to enlist the support of corporate Jamaica in fielding the first-ever national female team at the Federation of International Lacrosse under-19 championships in August.
Hutchinson lamented that while Jamlax received assistance from the Sports Development Foundation and Minister of Sport, Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange for the senior men’s competition in Israel last year, JamLax has yet to realise the same level of assistance for the girls’ team.
An intense fundraising campaign, manned by a collective of volunteers locally and throughout the diaspora, has been slow in gathering momentum, as the organisation is still struggling to meet some of its current financial obligations.
“We are appealing to corporate Jamaica to show that we value gender equality in sport by giving the same support to our young ladies like that which has been given to similar male teams,” Hutchinson told us. “Help us to help our U19 girls to represent our country and to experience the national pride and joy that comes with it. We have sent numerous sponsorship letters to companies locally and overseas and have not gotten any favourable responses just yet. We are still hopeful.”
He further asserted that he was pleased with the significant growth of the relatively new sport in Jamaica, citing that the organisation has had to be holding back the introduction of the sport in many of the islands’ schools as a result of their limited resources. In addition, the organisation says spectator interest at local matches has also been promising.
“Each school that takes on the sport receives a set of equipment free of cost to them from JamLax, and coaches’ training for interested individuals during our free summer and winter camps,” he continued. “We have some of the most competitive schools playing lacrosse, which naturally attracts a lot of spectators and shared excitement.”
Despite the financial constraints facing the organisation presently, Hutchinson mentioned an ambitious plan for the expansion of the sport locally, citing that they would be announcing national try-outs for the under-19 boys after the conclusion of the world games for the girls, among other initiatives.
“We have a strategic plan outlining a clear path of development for JamLax,” he said. “We hope to enter a senior national women’s team in a regional qualifier hosted by the Pan American Lacrosse Association later this year. We will also be looking to gradually scale up the high-school programme within other parishes as we get our hands on more resources.”