May 10, 2021, by Karen Fanning
Seven-year-old Hendrix Skinner and six-year-old Oliver Somers take turns shooting lacrosse balls into the net, as members of the Hingham High School girls lacrosse team cheer them on. Across the field, players from the boy’s team toss the ball with 13-year-old Brennan Burnett. After making several catches, Brennan reveals his secret---“Stay focused.”
On Friday afternoon, the South Shore Special Needs Athletic Partnership (SNAP) partnered with the HHS girls and boys lacrosse teams to host its first-ever lacrosse program. In all, the clinic drew more than 30 players and 10 participants. The three-week introductory program provides children with the opportunity to not only develop basic lacrosse skills, but to also socialize with their peers.
Junior attack Shea Berigan crouches down to get on eye level with Hendrix as she teaches him how to properly hold a stick.“ Seeing kids play the sport I love so much inspires me to be a role model on and off the field,” she says.
Freshman midfielder Jack Nicholas shows Brennan no mercy as the two battle for a loose ground ball. “My favorite part was just having fun and joking with the kids. I know some of them, and they are really funny and nice,” he says.
When approached about hosting the clinics, varsity girls coach Carla Farkes jumped at the chance for her team to be able to share a game they all love in an inclusive environment. “Today is a reminder of how much sport can unite us and how it is bigger than just a game. Coach Brad Matton from the boys program turned to me and said, ‘This is awesome,’ and I’m not sure there’s a better way to put it.”
As they say, time flies when you’re having fun, and just like that, the 45-minute clinic is over. Although the kids’ smiles are hidden under their masks, there’s no mistaking that the afternoon was a success. “It was super fun!” exclaims Hendrix. As he runs off the field, he promises to be back next week.
The SNAP lacrosse program will run for two more weeks at Hingham High School, on Friday, May 14 and 21, from 4:30-5:15pm. The cost is $15 per session. For more information about SNAP’s lacrosse program and other offerings, log onto www.southshoresnap.com. South Shore SNAP is a non-profit organization that provides athletic and recreational activities for children and young adults (ages 3-22) with cognitive and physical disabilities.