It's around 4 p.m. on a Monday afternoon in the Bronx. The 26 players on Cardinal Hayes' lacrosse team are out on Duff Field, amped to get their practiced started. Everyone's ready to work hard -- no case of the Mondays here.
We first heard about Cardinal Hayes when the team's assistant coach, Eric Acosta, reached out on SidelineSwap to let us know that all of his players buy gear on the platform. At Cardinal Hayes, a majority of the student body is on financial aid – and, while each player on Acosta's team had a lacrosse stick, not all of them had backups. As any lacrosse player knows, sticks break all the time.
We dispatched three SidelineSwap team members - Nick, Anthony and Pat - to deliver brand new, custom sticks to the student-athletes at Cardinal Hayes. So what'd the players think of their new twigs? We'll get there. First, a little background on the team.
Cardinal Hayes High School lacrosse started in 2011
With the exception of freshman attackman John Peña, none of the 26 players on the Hayes roster had ever played lacrosse before they got to high school.
Meet Jimmeh Koita
(Photo credit: Twitter/@DrexelMLax)
Jimmeh is Cardinal Hayes' first Division I lacrosse player. He didn't pick up a stick until his junior year, but went on to be named captain, MVP and first team all-league as a senior FOGO. Now a sophomore at Drexel, Jimmeh's been making waves as their main face-off guy.
What'd we donate?
We worked with our top lacrosse seller on SidelineSwap, medicincelax, to purchase 29 brand new heads and shafts (including two goalie sticks) to give to the Cardinal Hayes players -- enough for every player to get his own stick, with a few left over.
But first, we decked them out
Enter stringing guru, Coastal, who gave each of the heads a Cardinal Hayes-themed custom finish. You can see more of his work on his SidelineSwap page.
"When I asked the team who had bought gear on Sideline before, every player raised his hand," said Nick Gantsoudes, cofounder and community lead at SidelineSwap. "The kids were so incredibly grateful for the sticks."
Cardinal Hayes plays its second to last regular season game tomorrow, against St. Raymond Boys. Go Hayesmen.