More than 30 elementary-aged children took to the field at the Alva T. Stanforth Sports Complex on March 27 to learn lacrosse from their elders in high school.
The one-day intensive lacrosse clinic was the brainchild of Stevens Cadet, who worked with Jon Johnson, the president of the Elmont Cardinals Sports Club, and other members of the Elmont Police Activity League to organize the event. Cadet had wanted to start such a grassroots lacrosse program since he was 19 to teach children discipline and “create a pipeline” of skilled lacrosse players at both Elmont and Sewanhaka high schools.
Cadet was an offensive and defensive powerhouse in his junior year of high school more than a decade ago, and played in the Martin Luther King Tri-State All Stars Tournament, which earned him multiple scholarships from Division I and II universities. He was about to give up the sport soon thereafter due to his father’s untimely passing, but the staff at Ohio Valley University in West Virginia continued to recruit him, and he became the college’s first African-American lacrosse player.
Then, one day, he said, a teammate hurled racist slurs at him, and officials’ failure to react made him feel uncomfortable, and so he left for Genesee Community College in upstate New York, where he led the team to face the Onondaga Community College Lazers in the 2012 NJCAA Lax Championship game in Nassau County. The team lost, but Cadet said, he felt honored to play his first championship game back home.
After finishing his studies, Cadet attended the University of the District of Columbia, where a new lacrosse program had been started by professional lacrosse players Scott Urik and Roger Colbert, who called Cadet one of the prime founders of the program, as he helped the team beat the nationally-ranked Mercy College Mavericks in a conference game.
Upon graduation, Cadet volunteered at a training camp run by Paul Rabil, who suggested he play for Team Haiti rather than the Long Island Lizards. He was selected as the team’s first pick in 2018, and has since traveled the world for competitions.
But through it all, Cadet said, he “had to work 10 times as hard as the next kid” because he did not start playing until he was a teenager, unlike some of his competitors, who had been playing the sport since they were children.
So, to better prepare Elmont children for a future in lacrosse, Cadet got Sewanhaka and Elont lacrosse players to teach children the sport on March 27, with a 30-minute intensive clinic and a hardest-shot competition. Six of the children received medals, according to Tiffany Capers, and each participant received a free T-shirt and snacks.
“Seeing the kids with smiles on their faces and the parents feeling some level of normalcy was priceless,” Nassau County Police Officer Kenneth Brown said in a statement. “Today was a win for Elmont.”
Children will also be able to attend an upcoming eight-week clinic that Cadet is spearheading with the support of both high schools and the Elmont PAL that will feature lessons by some of Cadet’s college teammates.
“Even if one kid gets a scholarship, or even just becomes a successful lacrosse player in high school” as a result of these programs, Cadet previously told the Herald, “that would warm my heart.”