Over the next month, members of the Florida lacrosse team will share their thoughts, experiences and memories as they transition from being high school seniors to freshmen student-athletes.

 

My name is Katharine Hamer but everyone calls me Kat. I am a freshman lacrosse player here at Florida. I enrolled early at Florida to train and take a few classes over the summer. I am from the Florida Keys and am proud to say I have lived in paradise my whole life. Being from Florida and being able to play a division one sport here at the University of Florida is a dream come true.

 

My father, Andrew Hamer, swam here for the gators in 1983 and 1984, so naturally I grew up as a Gator fan. I always knew I wanted to go to UF, and coming from an athletic family I wanted to play a sport here. Never would I have ever imagined my sport would be lacrosse, because Florida, especially South Florida, is so new to lacrosse.

 

I first learned of lacrosse when I was in middle school when my older brother started playing boys lacrosse, I would mess around with his lacrosse stick. I didn’t find out there was a girl’s lacrosse league until eighth grade when my future high school lacrosse coach asked me “What I was doing with a boys stick? Why aren’t you playing with a girl’s stick?”

Since I had no idea there was girl’s lacrosse I also had no idea there was a girl’s stick, so he handed me a girl’s stick. I remember asking myself, what it this thing, how do I catch with this? It felt like a tennis racket. Eventually I got the hang of it, and from the first time I stepped onto the field as a freshman in high school, I fell in love with the sport, and now here I am!

Over the past four years, I have watched lacrosse expand in the state of Florida. But lacrosse in Florida still has a long way to go. Below are a few things I would love to see happen in the state of Florida to help the sport grow;

I would love to see the Florida Keys be able to put together a club lacrosse team that would be able to compete in tournaments, instead of Keys residents driving three hours to the closest club team.

I would also love to see more middle schools start lacrosse teams, so that girls will be experienced by the time they get to high school.

I would also like to see more advertising for the sport in South Florida. So many times people have seen me practicing with my stick and I have been asked, “What is lacrosse? I’ve never seen a game before, but it looks cool with those sticks.” Or one of the best ones is: “Jeez you must be tough; don’t you hit each other with those sticks?” I end up having to explain the game to them and then they’re still confused and/or just don’t get it.

I hope to see this game I love grow more and more, and am honored to represent South Florida and the Florida Keys here at UF.