"And we are now, instead of the Rochester Rattlers... the Dallas Rattlers."
With that announcement from Major League Lacrosse Commissioner David Gross, lacrosse is coming to Texas. The brand new Dallas Rattlers will play their home games at The Star in Frisco, starting this spring. So what is this game...
"It's fast," high school player Aiden Gildea says.
"It really has like all the aspects of all the sports you love to play," his teammate, Braden Carlson adds.
"It's soccer and basketball," fellow player Dillon Marino adds, "but you get to hit people with a metal stick."
Lacrosse has a foothold in Frisco, which makes it a great location to put this new franchise. And that foothold exists, thanks to the Gildea family.
"When we started the program in 2009, we didn't think at all that there would be professional lacrosse in Dallas," Jason Gildea, co-founder of the Frisco Lacrosse Association says.
They started the Frisco Lacrosse club with just a group of 3rd graders who wanted to play. Now, they have over 300 kids playing for their teams, ranging from 3rd grade to seniors in high school.
"Hopefully this will get more support from all the local ISD's," Gildea's wife and co-founder Desiree says, "and we'll be able to get this into the schools and campuses."
Lacrosse isn't a UIL sport yet. That's coming. It's unclear when, but hopefully soon. And the presence of a pro team in town will certainly help push that conversation.
"Lacrosse is really here," Desiree exclaims. "This is really cool."
And the growth is already underway, as the younger kids are showing talent, earlier and earlier.
"Now, I'm coaching kids that were my age when I started," Aiden says. "And to see them, they're way better than me when I was that age."
Lacrosse has tried to push west for years -- starting with former Princeton coach Bill Tierney's decision to leave Princeton to coach at the University of Denver. And this move of the MLL to Texas continues that push, to get this electrifying sport into pockets of the country it's never been.
"I think once you see it, you'll know this is the place to be," new Rattlers president Bill Goren said. "This is an entertainment value for your families, and it's probably a sport you'll fall in love with."
As someone who did, myself, many years ago... I'll second that.
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