Buffalo Bandit’s Teach Phys-Ed at St. John’s Kenmore

Buffalo BanditsMembers of the Buffalo Bandits National Lacrosse League instructed the phys-ed classes at St. John the Baptist School in Kenmore. The Buffalo Bandits are a professional Box lacrosse team and last year’s Eastern Division Champions of the National Lacrosse League, play in the U.S. and Canada. David Brock, the team’s alternate captain and first-round 2010 draft pick, along with teammates Brad Self, Ryan Benesch, and Adam Will provided instruction on the principles of lacrosse to students in Kindergarten through Grade 8 over a two-day session.

Self states that although this is his first year with the Bandits and participating in this program, the team has provided this program for the past two years with tremendous success. “Getting kids introduced to the sport is a lot of fun,” commented Self, who joined the Bandits this year as a second round draft pick. Self is co-founder of the Nationwide Lacrosse, an organization founded by NLL Pros and Gold Medalists who provide instructional programs and training to the next generation of athletes. Joining the Bandit’s school program outreach was a natural extension for him. “I really enjoy working with the kids and getting them out there moving,” commented Self. “This group has been amazing…the enthusiasm and interest here is great to be around.” Self hopes that he and his teammates are able to not only teach a few things about the game, but also create an enthusiasm about the sport. Alternate captain David Brock added, “Getting out into the community is a great way to meet with fans and promote the game and our team.”

Vice-Principal Linda Garrity was thrilled to bring the Bandits back to St. John’s to teach the students. “It’s not every day that you have professional athletes at a school—much less four who are willing to share their knowledge and professional experience with our students,” states Garrity. She states that although hockey is probably a favored winter sport played by students at the school, more and more students at St. John’s are playing lacrosse—either on teams or instructional clinics. “Having Coach Dave, Brad, Ryan and Adam with us provides our students with a unique experience,” explains Garrity. “Some of our students are playing lacrosse—and having these players here is like a having a favorite “rock-star” on premises…they just can’t believe they’re meeting their idols. On the other hand, many of our students had never even picked up a lacrosse stick before—and are not familiar with the game at all. By the end of the class, these men had students passing the balls, becoming comfortable with the equipment, and getting a good taste of the game and what lacrosse has to offer. They are outstanding with the students—listening to their comments, interacting with them, and so on. They certainly revealed their enthusiasm and confidence, which is a real testament to their professional talents as athletes. These Bandits brought out the best in our students and provided a wonderful experience for our students!”

The Bandit players also enjoyed lunch with the school’s entire junior high one day. The four players and teachers dined among the students—each sitting with students at various tables throughout the cafeteria. The luncheon provided students to ask the players questions and to gain insights about playing professionally. When asked by a student what makes for a successful athlete, David Brock replied, “It takes a lot of hard work and constant practice. After I leave school, I will head over to the gym to work out before practicing with the team.” He says he learned this work ethic in part during his days in school and encouraged students to, “Work hard on all that you do—whether it’s in the classroom or on the field!”