Daley: What about lacrosse?

  • By Paul D. Bowker
  • Education reporter
  • January 31, 2008 @ 5:42 PM
Chicago education reform news has been coming fast and furious lately, with the school district announcing closures of underperforming schools and a host of new funding initiatives

Amidst those big-dollar announcements, you may have missed another aspect of the plan to remake Chicago education: Mayor Richard M. Daley's lacrosse program.
"We have to give children more options," Daley said today. "We should look at cultural activities, sports activities in a new way."

Chief among those new ways, the mayor said, will be the East Coast game that consists of guys (and girls) running down the field with big sticks that are used to send small circular objects at goalkeepers at high speeds.

Chicago's sporting landscape is defined by the crushing blows of Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher. So one might imagine lacrosse, given its pedigree as a slower, nerdier version of hockey, would face an uphill battle for popularity.

But it's already snared at least one fan -- Martin J. Koldyke, founder and chairman of Academy for Urban School Leadership, who appeared with the mayor at a press conference today to announce a $10.3 million grant to fund the academy's work at Collins and Orr high schools.

"There'll be lacrosse at Collins and Orr next spring," said Koldyke. "You can book it!"

Paul Bowker, a Chicago-area journalist with 25 years of experience, covers Chicago Public Schools for the Daily News.


SPORT OF KINGS, 02-01-2008

this is brilliant! lacrosse for the children! math textbooks sometime in 2010!

GET IT RIGHT, 02-06-2008

you call lacrosse the slower, nerdier version of hockey? obviously you are sorely misinformed and have played neither sport. lets do some research before simply blasting any program that uses this "east coast" game to give kids more choices and opportunities to lead healthy lives. for those of you who have been living with your heads in the sand for the last ten years, go to a chicago machine game or chicago shamrox game and understand the sport before drawing conclusions. This same thing happened just over a year ago when an over-zealous prosecutor sought to extend his political dominance by intimidating lacrosse players. While we now know the players were innocent, national media was all to quick to jump at the opportunity to attack this growing sport. So please, in the future, get your facts straight before blasting a great game.


After playing lacrosse in high school and college, I feel pretty comfortable saying that it is, in fact, a slower, nerdier version of hockey. It's also a great game to watch and play.

But there's a legitimate question of whether building a lacrosse program at Chicago's most challenged schools would be a smart use of scarce resources.

Kids are getting shot to death on the way home from these schools, and often the books and teaching are substandard.

Having them run stick-handling drills isn't going to fix that.