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NYS Entity Status
NYS Filing Date
DECEMBER 04, 2013
NYS DOS ID#
NYS Entity Type
DOMESTIC NOT-FOR-PROFIT CORPORATION
2013 - MID-HUDSON YOUTH LACROSSE OFFICIALS ASSOCIATION, INC.
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With a population of 2.7 million people in Qatar, an oil- and gas-rich nation dependent on imports, Al-Bader and Heywood outlined five main goals: Enhance the quality of participants’ experience, ease access and opportunity for all, strengthen the organization to enhance the capacity to lead and serve, ensure long-term sustainability and elevate the visibility of the sport in Qatar and around the world.
“Initially, we brought together sports enthusiasts who expressed an interest through our reach-out campaigns for small recreational gatherings,” Al-Bader said. “Most participants had little or no experience of the sport, and we found that hosting clinics provided the perfect platform to introduce lacrosse to junior, youth and adults to learn the fundamentals of the sport and have fun.”
In 2016, with an equipment grant from the FIL, they launched a pilot program at GEMS American Academy in Al Wakrah, where fourth-grade students picked up their first lacrosse sticks in their physical education classes.
Fast forward to early 2017, and the QLA hosted its inaugural Qatar Lacrosse Invitational Event at the Al Jazi Gardens in West Bay, where four teams – West Bay, Barwa City, Education City, and invitee Dubai Lacrosse — showcased soft-stick lacrosse, which allows newcomers to the sport develop basic tactical, technical and teamwork skills.
As of May 30, 120 students at the GEMS American Academy have played lacrosse. Stephen Kellet, the elementary school principal, told the Gulf Times that he appreciates how the sport brings their students together through teamwork. Mark Lentz, head of the school, added that lacrosse provides an opportunity to break down social barriers.
It is that bond that sports provide, regardless of age, gender, or physical ability, Heywood said, that allows its participants to be on an “equal footing.”
“The nice thing is it’s lacrosse,” DeMarco said. “The people that are involved, they really are not concerned who’s playing, but that they’re playing. It’s great that you have countries in that area now playing, whether it’s Israel (which will host the 2018 FIL men’s world championship), Qatar or United Arab Emirates (which recently expressed interest to the FIL). Our main concern is the growth of the game, so it supersedes everything else.”
With the FIL’s quest to become recognized by the IOC as an Olympic sport in the near future, Heywood understands the QLA’s potential impact. Before Qatar, Greece, the birthplace of the Olympics, had been named the FIL’s 57th member.
“Sport is far more than medals won and records broken. It is far more than those who compete as athletes. Rather, it stands for a language that everyone understands,” said Heywood, who described the Olympics as a peace symbol first and a sporting event second. “Both Qatar and Greece stand as prominent symbols of what the Olympic Games set out to achieve. … Whether it is building bridges or bringing people together, the real potential of sport isn’t just about going higher, faster and further. It’s also about enabling humanitarian development and peace-building efforts through its own language, and although sport and politics simply cannot escape each other, they remain as interlinked as the Olympic rings themselves.”
It is “not a matter of if, but when” lacrosse will be featured in the Olympics once again, Heywood added.
While it may be unlikely that Qatar will field teams in upcoming FIL events, as its natives continue to learn the sport and advance through the QLA’s designed performance pathways, it has been a worthwhile experience for Heywood to witness barriers crumbling during times of turmoil.
“It is not an easy project to undertake, yet it is very rewarding all the same,” Heywood said. “We look forward to having a meaningful impact on the sport's global development going forward.”