12-year-old lacrosse player on a mission to make sure everyone can play the sport – Oak Bay News
Ford Preston, 12, has a sporting life. He has played lacrosse at every opportunity since he was four years old, he volunteers as a coach for younger teams and now he applies his considerable determination to reduce the high cost of sports equipment for others.
“I’ve been planning for a long time and have seen kids struggle to play because of the prices, and the equipment is a big part of that,” he said.
Lacrosse players need kidney pads, chest pads, elbow pads, eyelash guards, helmet, mouth guard, gloves, stick and crampons for field lacrosse . Since deciding to do so, he has learned that one in three children cannot play due to the cost of equipment and registration.
For Preston, the idea of not being able to play is unthinkable.
“Sport is like my medicine. I do and it helps me cope with my Tourette Syndrome diagnosis. If I didn’t have it, my Tourettes could be a lot worse, ”he said.
This is what happened when it all stopped last summer. Preston’s physical and verbal ticks were getting worse. He was invited to a lacrosse camp in Langley, but with the unpredictability of COVID-19, Preston’s mother sadly decided she couldn’t justify the expense.
Preston really wanted to go. More than wanting, he needed it.
So he thought, why not collect some money? He started approaching West Coast business owners for donations, which was no easy task in the midst of the pandemic, but surprisingly he raised nearly $ 4,000. Enough to cover camp fees, ferry fees, accommodation and food for seven travel weekends in Langley.
Preston was so grateful for the support, and it occurred to him that this was the first time his parents had to say no. This made him look around and noticed other children whose lacrosse equipment was not suitable or was really old.
And so the idea sprouted that he could do something to give back to the community and help other aspiring athletes. It was a great idea, except that, as any athletic parent knows, the equipment is bulky. Once again, Preston’s mother had to say no.
Next thing she knew, Preston said, “Hey mom, some guy from Toronto is going to call you.”
“What have you done now, Ford?” she was worried. But the guy from Toronto was a manager of The Storage Room in Langford, with an enthusiastic offer for a free storage room.
He already has a few loads of equipment – helmets, hockey sticks, lacrosse sticks, cleats, a huge hockey bag, tennis rackets – and he and his mom provide shelves to organize the equipment by. sport. Once they have a decent amount, they will coordinate with minor league sports associations, coaches and community members to provide gently used equipment to children who need it. Cash donations through Go Fund Me will help purchase used or new equipment: gofund.me/e6b5cd95.
Donations can be collected or dropped off by arrangement with Preston ([email protected]).