SidelineSwap Spotlight: Sjm79

Name: Stephen

Age: 39

Link to locker:

Hometown: Clayton, NC

When did you start playing lacrosse?

I first picked up a lacrosse stick in 1994 when I was in Middle School. This was actually later than most guys in Suffolk County, Long Island, even in 1994. I didn't come from much, but fortunately some kids in the neighborhood were able to lend me some of their hand-me-down gear. I'd actually never purchased a piece of brand new sports equipment until I purchased on SidelineSwap.

I played defense and immediately loved the physical aspects of the sport. I graduated from Longwood High School in Long Island in 1997. I continued onto Florida State University where I was a member of their inaugural club lacrosse season.

That first season at Florida State was hilariously disorganized. We had to figure out a way to get to all of our away games on our own. This usually meant piling into my friend's car and driving to places like Clemson, Alabama, Auburn, and Tennessee. These road-trips actually ended up being some of my best college experiences. In terms of game highlights, I remember getting absolutely laid out on the turf in Knoxville on a "buddy pass". I don't know if I've ever been hit that hard.

I eventually dropped out of college to join our country's fight against terrorism after 9/11.

Can you tell us a little bit about life after leaving Florida State?

I spent the last decade as a Law Enforcement Officer and Sergeant in the US Army Reserves. I have quite a bit of different military and law enforcement experience. I've trained soldiers and police tactics, I've worked Undercover Vice, SWAT, I've been in the Civilian Police, and I've been a Military Cop. I've been based in Florida since 2004 and I've been a police officer since 2005.

I moved to North Carolina just a few months ago and I no longer work in Law Enforcement. I have two daughters and I live in a suburb of Raleigh.

Can you tell us about how you've gotten back into the game since moving to North Carolina?

Upon moving to North Carolina, I was offered a coaching position for a Youth Lacrosse program in the area. I primarily coach grades 2-4 unisex lacrosse, but I go back and forth between this age group and older age groups. Both the girls and the boys are playing against each other and are wearing full pads at the younger levels, which I've found interesting.

And what made you start using SidelineSwap?

Since I was away from the game for so long, I had zero lacrosse equipment. I searched "used lacrosse equipment" on Google, found SidelineSwap, and then began ordering all of the required gear needed to play and coach. I couldn't believe the prices. As I said originally, I'd never bought brand new sports equipment until I purchased on SidelineSwap.

Among other things, I purchased "Retro Jordan Cleats", a strung Maverik Centrik U, a black Cascade Pro 7, Maverik Gloves and Shoulder Pads, and a strung STX Stallion. All of this without breaking the bank!

Why is lacrosse important to you?

I didn't come from much. Where I was from, it was very easy to get involved with the wrong crowd. For me, playing lacrosse (and football) helped me stay away from a lot of the trouble that existed in my neighborhood.

When I get more settled in my new home, I would love to help out and coach inner city programs in Southeast Raleigh. Lacrosse is expensive, but fortunately SidelineSwap makes it less expensive. I definitely plan on coming back to SidelineSwap when that day comes, so these kids can have access to some of the gear that I didn't when I was their age. When that happens, everything will come full circle.

I really feel like I have a purpose as a coach. I want to use coaching as a vehicle to mentor and shape the minds of my young warriors! It's important to teach them that hard work and dedication will pay off in life and to never take the easy way out.