Local looks to start lacrosse team

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 29, 2006

NATCHEZ &8212; Lacrosse is a game steeped in history and growing in popularity throughout the country, but that growth has been slow in coming to Mississippi and Louisiana.

Tom Scarborough of the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians wants to change that.

After hosting two lacrosse matches two weeks ago, Scarborough has taken the initiative of starting up a lacrosse team for the Miss-Lou.

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&8220;We had the games last week here at the Grand Village,&8221; he said. &8220;We probably had 40 or 50 local people come out. We did have some interest. We&8217;re going to be holding an organizational meeting Dec. 8 for high school-aged kids who would be interested in joining a team and playing. I feel like I&8217;ll have a better gauge of the interest, then.&8221;

Scarborough, a California native, played lacrosse in high school and on a club team in college. He also coached the sport for five years while still in California.

He said one of the good things about the sport is that it&8217;s all-inclusive.

&8220;The thing that&8217;s great is you don&8217;t have to be able to bench press 300 pounds or be the biggest kid on the team,&8221; Scarborough said. &8220;It&8217;s the perfect game for kids who aren&8217;t 6&8217;5&8221;. It&8217;s always been perceived as an elite game, because it has historically been the province of elite New England prep schools, but it&8217;s really not.&8221;

Recent trends have shown lacrosse to be the fastest-growing youth sport in America, but Scarborough said that growth has not yet reached the Miss-Lou.

&8220;It&8217;s made inroads everywhere except Mississippi and Louisiana. It seems like, for whatever reason, the game hasn&8217;t made deep inroads here, yet. I know Shreveport, La., has a club going. I think New Orleans is going to become a nexus for the game. LSU has a club team, but that&8217;s been on-again, off-again. Ole Miss and Mississippi State have been the same way.&8221;

With little more than a plan at this point, Scarborough does have a vision for the future of lacrosse in Natchez and elsewhere.

&8220;Ideally, I would like to see some of the local schools pick it up,&8221; he said. &8220;I&8217;d like to see it spread beyond Natchez. Jackson is a logical place to establish a foothold. I&8217;d love to see some players from Natchez High &8230; Cathedral, Trinity or anywhere else. I&8217;d like to see in a year or two a tournament format. Have some teams from Houston, Shreveport and other areas of the Southeast come in to play. Lots of hotels would be rented out and lots of restaurants would be serving meals. It could benefit the city.&8221;

While he plans out the future, Scarborough admits he will need some help.

&8220;Andy Peabody, who played at Washington & Lee, is helping me in terms of setting this up. He&8217;s got a lot of ideas. We&8217;re going to need some fathers to come out with their sons. We need some assistant coaches. We&8217;d like to get a team on the field, hopefully, by next spring.&8221;

The Grand Village of the Natchez Indians has agreed to let a club hold practices and play games on the former stickball field. The Grand Village will also act as a team sponsor, Scarbrough said.

Anyone interested in finding out more can contact Scarbrough at Grand Village at 601-446-6502.