Four months after Hurricane Ian hit, several sports are being impacted by the damage left behind. And those damages are making it hard for teams to get out on the field to compete in the sports they love.
The problem is that it’s so dark out on the fields that it becomes very difficult to play any games. So the kids need to find a way to get more light on the field so they can compete safely in their hometown.
Charlie McLain has been playing lacrosse for six years. And while he likes the competition, the 10-year-old lacrosse player said it’s more to him than just a game.
“I don’t know. It always just gives me a good feeling,” McLain said. “Doesn’t matter if win or lose just have fun.”
Charlie McLain in front of a Lee LAX sign. CREDIT: McLain family
A big part of that fun is practicing with his friends and teammates. Something they’ve been robbed of the past few weeks.
WINK News spoke with the president of Lee LAX, Patrick Halvarson, about what has been happening with the fields.
“All lighted fields in Lee County have been forced to be shut down due to damage that was a result of Hurricane Ian,” Halvarson said. “They determined that the lights, although functioning at the fields that we were practicing at…were too dark for us to be able to play.”
While they can still have games in the daylight on weekends, Coach Brad Dohack said it’s not getting practice that affects the players on and off the field.
“We went a couple of weeks without practice and then had our first games this past Saturday, and so many of them don’t know the fundamentals, right? And so it’s just been a real challenge,” Dohack said.
“Kids running around on the field is the best thing that we can have happen for our kids, you know, they’re exercising, they’re having fun playing, and this is what kids should be doing,” Dohack said.
Lacrosse net and crosse. CREDIT: WINK News
In a league where multiple families lost everything to Ian, parents, and coaches said getting their fields back would bring some much-needed normalcy to kids whose lives have been so unpredictable.
“They had one thing that they were all looking forward to. And the last thing that our kids need is to have more uncertainty in their lives,” Dohack said.
“We’re really just looking for any type of a possible solution to allow the kids to get back out onto the field,” Halvarson said.
And McLain definitely agrees with Halvarson.
“It’s just a good feeling when I have all those people around me that I like playing with,” McLain said.
WINK News reached out to Lee County for comment. The county said it will continue to work with Lee LAX as parks and recreation recovery efforts continue.