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By Leah London
After nearly a year of preparation, a new lacrosse team, coached by Dan Tamburello and Mike Davey, has joined Laurence Manning Academy. The sport, originally played by the Native Americans thousands of years ago as the oldest sport on North America, has come to Manning as one of the few private school lacrosse teams in South Carolina.
The history of the game is old. When French settlers arrived in North America, Native Americans taught French settlers how to play one of their games, which they called “Little Brother of War.” The French, upon seeing the shape of the stick used for catching and throwing the ball, thought it looked like a Bishop’s crosier, so they named it “lacrosse.” More settlers later arrived, and the game and its new name increased in popularity. Today, the game is played by thousands of schools in North America.
Forming the lacrosse team at Laurence Manning Academy did not come easy. Tamburello and Davey had to build the team from scratch, with no previous “feeder” system in place. Interest was low initially, too, particularly amongst the girls.
Tamburello expressed the initial difficulty of finding a school near Shaw Air Force Base, where he works as a contractor, that had a lacrosse team for his three sons to join when they were first looking to move to the area, causing him to start the team in the first place.
“ almost moved to Lexington since it has schools with lacrosse, but someone said to check out Laurence Manning Academy,” Tamburello said. “I met with Dr. Jordan, and he agreed to possibly starting a lacrosse team.”
As the lacrosse team began to form, Davey volunteered to co-coach alongside Tamburello.
“I coached after-school lacrosse intramurals for two years at St. Anne Catholic School,” Davey said. “Last summer, Dan started a lacrosse club, and I came over and helped him. I said to him while I was there, ‘Hey, if you’re able to get Laurence Manning to start a team, I’ll come over and help coach.’”
The lacrosse team finally became active after nearly a year of planning. A couple of the players also had some things to say about the new team.
“I looked forward to meeting new people through the sport, especially since this is my last year here,” said George Holliday, a senior at LMA. “It’s really given me the chance to get closer to people I never would have met otherwise.”
“My stepdad played in high school, and I wanted to try it out,” said Bryce Parler, a sophomore. “I’ve played football, baseball, and basketball, but never lacrosse before.”
LMA currently uses the First Church of the Nazarene’s game field for home games, but Tamburello and Davey hope to one day transform one of LMA’s empty fields into the school’s home game field.
LMA’s lacrosse team will play against various public schools from Columbia, along with Porter-Gaud, Hammond School, Heathwood Hall, and Camden Military Academy later this spring. On February 26, LMA will play against White Knoll High School for its first game.