Pa. lacrosse team shovels snow for seniors

SPRINGFIELD, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- "Lacrosse is just such a small part of what we do here," said Springfield High School coach Tom Lemieux. "Teaching them how to be young men, and figure out how to deal with adversity, and how to lean on each other and trust each other. And we take pride in that."

With a blizzard approaching, Coach Lemieux thought his team should trade their lacrosse sticks for snow shovels. The requests came pouring in after a Facebook post offering help went viral in their Delaware County community.

"This is the first year we tried it, so we didn't know how it was going to go," said Lemieux. "We figured maybe 10 houses and before we know it, we're done with 91 houses yesterday in five or six hours."

The student athletes didn't sleep until the list of requests was complete.

"Helping out the community is better than just sitting inside and doing nothing all day," said Ryan O'Connor, one of the lacrosse team captains.

Students on both the boys' and girls' lacrosse teams enjoyed coming up with strategies to clear each driveway. They specifically targeted the homes of senior citizens.

"It was cold and it was hard, but a lot of people we helped never would have been able to do it by themselves," said fellow captain JZ Grafstrom. "So, just happy to help."

The lacrosse team is not only successful in the snow. The boys' team were Pennsylvania State champions in 2016 and 2017 (2A). They also scored as PIAA District 1 Champions last year (3A).

The Greater Philadelphia Area has become a hotbed for lacrosse, with many of today's players first picking up a stick during elementary school.

"I grew up with them. I've been playing with them since second grade," said captain Matt Shandley about his teammates. "Now, we play all the same sports together. Definitely like a bond that can't be broken with these guys."

Coach Lemieux hopes the students not only grew closer as friends, but also as community-oriented individuals.

"All these little things are bonding activities that makes the team a little bit closer," he said. "And them seeing how happy the people were that we were shoveling made them recognize how important service is in our community."

While there are not yet formal plans to continue shoveling snow in the future, school staff hopes to incorporate more service opportunities into the athletes' lives after this positive experience.

To learn more about Springfield High School, visit their website.

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