Teen exposes kids to new sport

The Lessane family gathers together prior to last Saturday’s lacrosse clinic. From left to right are Braeden, Virgil, Eyanna and Conner.

Teen exposes kids to new sport
August 19
13:31 2020

Lacrosse is a sport that has been gaining more popularity over the years, but that has not translated to all demographics. Conner Lessane, a former Reynolds Demon and Winston native, chose to use his summer break as an opportunity to show minority kids the fundamentals of the sport of lacrosse.

Lessane, who now attends Woodberry Forest School in Virginia, had several goals he wanted to accomplish this summer and teaching kids how fun lacrosse is was high on his priority list.

“I grew up watching football and basketball a lot as a kid and I didn’t know about lacrosse until the fifth grade, so I really wanted kids to know for an alternative sport to play in the spring, there is lacrosse and not just track or basketball,” said Conner. “I want kids to get out of the house and run around while social distancing, even though there is a pandemic going on.”

Now 16, Lessane says he was introduced to the sport of lacrosse by some friends and did not think much of the sport until a friend’s parent invited him to play for their team.

“I realized this was the sport for me, because lacrosse is a sport that is different from football and basketball and it really takes different aspects of both sports. It takes some of the same principles, formations and concepts of football and basketball and it is just my type of sport.”

Lessane has held three clinics around the city this summer. During his clinics, he shows the kids basic drills on how to pass, shoot, pick up ground balls and attacking. He also puts the kids in simulated game situations and one-on-one drills to give them a sense of how intense the sport is.

Conner’s parents, Eyanna and Virgil, were all aboard once their son approached them with the idea of holding the clinics for the kids.

“It was really up to Conner, because he wanted to give back to the community this summer,” said Mrs. Lessane. “He has been practicing his game and he is really passionate about the sport, so he wanted to give back to the African American community and get them involved.”

Mr. Lessane added, “My boys have been playing some type of sport since they were four or five years old and I have always been amazed at the time the volunteers give them even though they don’t get paid. It always impressed me, the people who are willing to give their time to help my kids, so I am really elated to see my kids doing the same thing by giving their time to help some other kids.”

The Lessanes say they chose the locations for the clinics to maximize their opportunity to bring the sport to as many minority children as possible. The response from the participants and parents has been well received, they said.

“We kept the number small because of the pandemic,” said Mrs. Lessane. “I asked for feedback from the parents and they loved it. Conner starts on time and goes through all of his drills and he really explains what lacrosse is all about. The turnout has been great.”

Conner’s wish is for more young African American kids to pick up the sport because it takes a similar skillset as football and basketball, so he knows they will excel. He dreams of playing lacrosse in college and possibly even on the professional level.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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