The Longmeadow Girl's Lacrosse Jamboree 2003

Although the competition was keen on all ten fields last Saturday, so was the congeniality. As forty-eight teams from all over the northeast converged on Wolfswamp Fields, the Longmeadow Girl's Lacrosse Association played host to the 2003 Jamboree. Teams played each other all day long for the pure sport of it. There was no awards ceremony, just pure good fun and good sportsmanship.

Besides a great opportunity for the girls to mingle, fundraising was the object of the event as well. Longmeadow resident and volunteer coach Jim Whipple of Whip's Sporting Goods had a busy afternoon as the young ladies shopped for the latest in equipment and, of course, apparel. Providing a musical backdrop for the activities was Longmeadow's "Operation Party". Being an upscale Longmeadow venture, Operation Party wasn't content to merely spin records. These young fellows were using MP3 files fed off a laptop! And they weren't even geeks!! The sound was terrific, and so were the aromas wafting my way from the barbecue just across the way. The volunteers were busy all day providing great-tasting and healthy outdoor cooking to throngs of satisfied customers. Trans fatty acids were kept to a minimum!



I must say, lacrosse seems to have a knack for bringing out the civility in people. As the young girls darted every which way across the fields, family members lounged between fields in a very relaxed manner. No "hockey dads" or soccer hooligans here. There was no shouting, booing or any signs of displeasure either on or off the fields. Above all, no injuries, either. Between games, girls ranging from third to eighth grades headed for the clothing racks and snack bar. So refreshing was the sound of cheering, chatter and laughter on that bright Saturday. Braces and freckles were everywhere as girls from Longmeadow or Northampton mixed and mingled with others from as far away as New York and New Jersey. Under their own awning, the referees caught their breath in between games and traded laughs about keeping up with all that youth… all the while glancing over towards the barbecue.

Along Wolfswamp Road, competition was even keener. With both parking lots filled and cars lining the streets into East Longmeadow, finding a parking place was a virtual impossibility. While the referees lounged in folding chairs, Longmeadow Police Officer Chaplin had no such luxury. Undaunted, she was at the ready all afternoon on her bicycle. I arrived by car and was about to pull up on the grass next to a big Suburban when she cautioned, "You can't park there!" When I asked about the people already parked there, Officer Chaplin informed me that those people had tickets. "You have to buy a ticket to this??" I asked incredulously. Then she informed me that the tickets were given to them gratis c/o the Longmeadow Police Department. Indeed, I noticed the orange stickers on their windows. They were the only losers of the day!

Despite the number of cars along the streets, and traffic moving at a snail's pace, civility reigned still. I heard nary a car honk all afternoon. Road-rage was out of town that day. Residents along the side roads seemed to take it in stride as well. "Kids are having fun", said one homeowner; and another stopped his lawn mower long enough to announce that "As long as it's only once in a while I'm all for it".

I had gotten on my Vespa and hightailed it out of there well before the throngs would be dispersing. I can't say for sure, but I would bet that Officer Chaplin had some assistance getting all those cars unscrambled. I would also bet that everything went smoothly and with total civility. It was a most refreshing day well spent. Later that evening, I am sure the web was buzzing as the young ladies emailed their new friends.


Next morning, when the hound and I took our early morning walk in the woods, I am pleased to say that the fields looked quite pristine, totally devoid of discarded water bottles and litter. The Longmeadow Girl's Lacrosse Jamboree was a great undertaking done with both planning and panache. The Town of Longmeadow turned out to be a great big winner that Saturday. Very nice job!


Send any comments to