As the saying goes, “If you build it, they will come”.
The Beverly Lacrosse Boosters Association is hoping this will happen very soon after more than a year of planning for the new wall ball structure. The final product will be set up at the back of Beverly High School sometime before the end of the month and is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, Jan.19, weather permitting.
The unique concept will help young athletes and high school athletes in many sports, including lacrosse, develop skills that aid hand-eye-foot coordination. Football, field hockey, tennis, baseball and others can also use the wall for training and meeting with others.
Jeffrey Silva, president of BLBA, led the project, a voluntary effort of a group of families and individuals. The goal of the fundraiser is to raise $ 16,500 for the cost of the wall, and about 60% of that is already available. Silva hopes that some local businesses will step up to meet the remaining needs.
The goal from the start was to have the wall in place before the start of the spring season, and with the support of the town and school committee, the location was chosen from among several possible sites.
“We looked at lots of other locations and decided the best was to set it up on the grassy area near the parking lot behind the entrance to Dairy Queen as you walk up to the grass pitch,” said Silva. “We’re still fundraising, but we decided to pull the trigger while the weather is nice so athletes can start using it.”
The wall will be 18 feet high and 12 feet wide with six foot panel sections. In the future, another panel could be added, and both sides will be used, meaning there are actually 24 feet in total. Scituate Concrete is expected to arrive at 7 a.m. to be installed, and an hour and a half to two hours later it will be finished.
“I’ll get up early that morning to be there,” Silva said. “I am very excited about the whole project. A lot of work went into planning it with the parents. We have a very good group of families, who agreed that it was a fun element to do. been a coach in the youth program, and familiarizing children with how to use and handle the stick is one of the most important parts of the game they need to become familiar with.
“We wanted the structure to be 18 feet tall so defenders with long sticks could pitch with a normal stick and practice their clearances,” continued Silva. “We think we’ve chosen a great place for the kids to go out and have fun after school. This will help build confidence, and even boys and girls who are late in the sport can throw and catch with a lacrosse ball to learn skills. . This is also true for so many other sports. “
Silva said that because the wall is not against the school, there will be no issues with broken glass or other damage. The area around the wall is at least 50 feet on both sides, so even misfires won’t bounce off the street. Two people back to back can practice ground balls or other skills.
“Lacrosse players are really excited about this, and we know we’ve chosen a safe and secure place to put the structure,” said Silva. “The company will pour it in place, then transport it with a large crane to place it on a bed of gravel that the city will deposit. We know it’s not going anywhere with 3,000 pounds of concrete. I plan to take pictures of the whole process. “
Last fall, the project was approved by the city and school committee, and it was going full steam ahead. The goal is to provide a place to go to improve stick handling and other skills both in and out of season. This is not only to improve hand-eye coordination, but a community building tool. Some other communities such as Hingham, Westwood, Sudbury, Scituate, Marshfield and Weston have wall ball facilities.
“It has been great working with Beverly’s lacrosse parents, players, BHS lacrosse coaches, the city, high school administrators, the school committee and the Department of Public Works to organize and coordinate the details. of installing the structure in high school, ”says Silva.
The Beverly Lacrosse Boosters Association includes the junior boys and girls programs and high school boys’ lacrosse. It is a 501c3 non-profit organization. Anyone wishing to donate can go online at https://gofund.me/2e22a4eb. The GoFundMe campaign is still ongoing to raise the rest of the funds for the project, and Silva will be posting photos of the wall on BLBA’s Facebook page once it’s installed.