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The Lacrosse Show: Chazz Woodson

edited October 2013 in The Sideline
imageThe Lacrosse Show: Chazz Woodson

This week on The Lacrosse Show, Connor Wilson and Mark Powers discuss tryouts for the Canadian national team, the Lacrosse '14 video game that was recently announced, the Bowhunter Cup, new emerging lacrosse programs, and last but not least, the Sankofa Alliance with special guest Chazz Woodson.

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Comments

  • Great job as always guys. It was nice to see and hear from Chazz. He really is a great role model and ambassador of the game. I do however, take some issue with something he said. As a quick aside and before I make my point, I think that open, honest, and intellectual dialogue is needed whenever a sensitive issue is addressed in order for positive progress to be made.

    With that said, it's no secret that lacrosse could benefit from some diversity, especially with some of things we heard out of the college game last Spring. I think that everyone who wants to learn the game should be provided that opportunity. However, I don't like the idea of a team comprised of all black players. This seems to me like a sort of racial segregation (I know that is not the intention) and a step in the wrong direction. I think the message should be more about universal inclusion and integration.

    I'd like to hear back from Chazz (if possible) and anyone else that could perhaps shed some light on the issue.
    Michael AllendamianhallMark Donahue
  • I wanted to address a comment, which I perceived as coming from a thoughtful place of inquiry on Scriff’s part, regarding potential outcomes of Sankofalax showcasing an all African-American squad.
    In general, the word diversity means, “different.” Thus, in order to engage a diverse audience, often times requires use of different methods to recruit participation of minority youth, in sports where they will most likely be perceived as “different” from the majority playing. Sport-specific research shows that one of the main predictors of choice behaviors of youth (in sports) is role modeling. Currently, you see African-American players sporadically on lacrosse teams, which ethereally represents that African-American’s do play lacrosse. Although typically, there is a sparseness on most lacrosse teams, giving the appearance that overall participation is in miniscule numbers.

    Hence, this seeming appearance of overall low participation can simply explain the difficulty when trying to engage African-American youth, as kids – no matter what race/ethnicity – don’t enjoy the feeling of being an outlier. They want to feel inclusion and “normalcy.” So, if you have a sport where they rarely, if ever, see players that “look like them,” it will not appeal to them. From what I took away from Chazz’s video, is that the purpose of this team is to show “strength in numbers.” By showcasing this many African-Americans playing at one time, it shows there are many players, at a high level, playing the sport and will serve to create a “cultural familiarity” for a potentially new generation of African-American youth lacrosse players. The reason football, basketball and track & field continues to appeal to African-American youth is because of “strength in numbers.” Any time African-American youth, particularly males, turn on the television, they see “someone that looks like them.” There is a sense of role modeling in those sports (and pride), based on the high percentages of African-American players participating regularly, which makes it a natural choice for minority youth because it is “normalized” as “their” sport or a place where success has been established. And sport/race research shows, particularly for minority youth, that seeing large numbers of successful role models in a sport is an extremely important factor to participation motives for a host of reasons differing from other ethnicities (i.e. decreases concerns about discrimination/racially motivated alienation, etc.).

    What Sankofalax is trying to do is create a “normalization” of lacrosse for African-American/minority youth, who may perceive the sport as played predominantly by Caucasian-Americans and not appropriate for them to pursue participation. I imagine the organization is trying to be intentional in its’ efforts in presenting the message that lacrosse IS being played by many African-Americans and therefore minority youth can begin to feel confident about choosing the sport because they won’t be alone when navigating this new sport, feel alienated or different and CAN have success in other sports. Creating inclusion can be done in different ways and should be embraced, as this is the very definition of diversity. There should be a shared understanding that we are all unique in our perspectives and this is why we must be open to the different ways of captivating audiences. What may work for one type of youth, may not work for another cultural group. Chazz and Sankofalax is tapping into their creativity by finding innovative ways to grow the sport based on their experiences, wisdom and knowledge…let’s keep supporting them rather than questioning their methodology!

    However, this is just one perspective, from an African-American sport psychology researcher, whose conducted research has specifically focused on participation motives/sport choice behaviors of African-American athletes playing sports predominantly played by Caucasian Americans (i.e. ice hockey, golf, lacrosse, soccer, field hockey, etc.). Not an expert, just a fan of diversifying the face of all sports!
    Mark Donahuescriff
  • @damianhall, I noticed you disagreed with my comment. I'd love to know why and hear what you think. Could you elaborate on your position for me?
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