The quote, “No helmet, no pads, no fear,” is one of the chief mottos of the Lake Houston Lightning Lacrosse team, said Club President Mike Thompson of Atascocita.
Such a motto is an accurate interpretation of the sport itself as lacrosse is a team sport played with a lacrosse stick and ball, and in the women’s version, pads and helmets aren’t worn by any of the players except the goalie in order to ensure a safer game. For safety purposes, both mouth guards and eye visors are worn. The ultimate objective is to score the most goals, which is done when players use their lacrosse sticks to pick up, carry, pass, catch and shoot the ball into the opposing team’s goal.
The Lake Houston Lightning Lacrosse team, according to Thompson, “sprung from Atascocita [High School] Eagles Lacrosse, and as the girls program was about to become defunct, I was asked to step in and oversee the program.” Since then, Thompson has led the team to become an independent organization aligned with Lake Houston Lacrosse, which says its goal is making the program available to a “wider audience from the Lake Houston area.”
Thompson noted that the former girls director was “absolutely instrumental in starting this process; I could in no way have done half of what I have done without her help. She continues to advise me and I have to give credit where it is due.”
Currently, Thompson oversees an elementary-aged girls lacrosse team as well as a middle-school one. The program’s current goal, according to Thompson, “is to have a high school team as well. We are currently recruiting to build such a team.”
Joining Thompson is Al Tofani and his wife, Katie Tofani, of Atascocita. Al is the head coach and Katie is an assistant coach.
Al began playing lacrosse in fourth grade at the age of 8 while he was still residing in his hometown of Syracuse. He went on to play at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and played under Hall of Fame Coach Jack Emmer. As a local resident, Al saw some lacrosse programs and was interested in being a part of them. The Tofanis’ youngest daughter and son both play at the elementary level. They are enthusiastic about the sport and urge those who are interested to “come out and take a look; we always have a lot of fun.”
Also joining Thompson is elementary coach Lucas Smith of Atascocita. Smith is new to the sport and according to him, he has observed a good atmosphere. He said that he is learning as he goes. Smith will be learning the intricacies of the sport alongside the new recruits.
Thompson urges those who are interested in joining the Lake Houston Lightning Lacrosse to visit a recruitment session, which is free to attend. They demonstrate practices and relay information to parents that are interested. There are no try outs for the team, and Thompson insists that anyone can play. “Whoever makes a commitment and is active with the team will be guaranteed a spot,” he said.
Lake Houston Lightning Lacrosse conducts several annual fundraisers to help the program which are overseen by Thompson’s wife, Lori Thompson. For information, check Facebook at facebook.com/pg/LHLLAX/posts for future posts pertaining to recruitment clinics or fundraising events. Thompson and his team expect to hold a recruitment clinic in July. Thompson additionally encourages anyone interested in the program to visit atascolax.com or to directly contact him at 832-995-8620.