Pay-to-play raises questions for lacrosse

Following an inaugural year as a club activity, lacrosse begins this season as a high-school sanctioned sport. Any student wishing to join the team must pay a $250 fee. When it functioned as a club team, no cuts were made from the list of those trying out. But that idea has been discussed under the new format.

There was some concern that some parents might want cuts, which neither the team’s new coach Don Bourlier nor administrators, wanted.

“The concern is that some parents may be upset by the amount of play time their child gets,” Athletic Director Bonnie Bettis said. “Paying the fee does not guarantee a certain amount of play time. There are two possible scenarios. You can work an understanding between the coach, parents and students, or you can have cuts, which will refund the $250 fee to the students who are cut. Unfortunately, they are still out the money they spent on equipment, which is just as much as the fee to play. Likely, we will go with the first scenario, in which case, communication is key.”

Boys’ lacrosse Coach Don Bourlier said he wants committed players.

“If an athlete is willing to put in the time, effort and devotion, I believe they deserve the opportunity to be on the team,” he said. “If they wind up being wishy-washy, missing practice and not communicating with me, then that’s not what I want.”

Bourlier proposed a dress list policy, in which players would earn there spot on the team roster for a game on a weekly basis. However, this policy would need to be implemented only if the team accumulates too many players, which Bourlier does not expect.

“When I played football, I was the guy that had to work really hard to be mediocre,” Bourlier said. “I never got cut, but not because I was very good. It was because I worked so hard and went to practice all the time. I was able to play all through high school and college. It was my effort that got me through.”

Despite concerns, Bourlier says he’s anticipating a positive season.

“I really appreciate the enthusiasm of the athletes,”Bourlier said. ” Never before have I had 30 kids show up to preseason conditioning.”

Bettis says she doesn’t foresee any conflicts arising from the transition to a sanctioned sport.

“We have a very close-knit family between parents, students and faculty members, as well as lower enrollment than most high schools,” Bettis said. “So communication is much easier to establish than it might be at other high schools. It’s also very important to remember that playing time isn’t all students are getting out of their fee. They’re also getting the opportunity to be part of a team, and to learn the game of lacrosse, which is new to most students at West Shore.”

Boulier agrees.

“What their $250 is buying is an opportunity, not playing time,” he said. “They’re getting to learn the game, be part of a team and gain invaluable experience to help them become a great player and earn playing time. It gives them an opportunity to grow, as an athlete, and as a person.That’s what their $250 is buying.”

By Nicholas Baker