Adirondack girls’ teams director Bill White was not a big lacrosse player growing up. He wasn’t born and raised in the Adirondack region. White found his niche in the sport and the region through raising a family in upstate New York.
White grew up in Suffern where he wrestled and played football but lacrosse was more of a pickup game for him. “Rockland [County] back in the 70s and 80s tried to emulate the tradition that Westchester [County] had with lacrosse so I grew up in Rockland playing a lot of informal lacrosse,” White said.
White continued to wrestle in college, qualifying for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) tournament in 1984, and he also continued to pick up a lacrosse stick every so often. “I attended Syracuse and lived with a lot of the mens’ lacrosse players,” White said. “When I wasn’t wrestling, I was playing lacrosse.”
After college, White moved to Queensbury where he raised three daughters who helped get him involved in organized lacrosse. “All of them got very interested in lacrosse at an early age,” White said. “They wanted to get involved in it and I had known boys’ lacrosse from going to high school in Suffern and attending Syracuse.”
White’s involvement in his daughters’ careers and other regional teams helped get him the call to join the Adirondack region’s New York State Regional (NYSR) Lacrosse Championships girls’ management. “I’ve been involved in other regional stuff, US lacrosse school girls’ tournament and club lacrosse,” White said. “Through getting to know people here and there and relationships, I was asked to be the director of the Adirondack region.” It became an opportunity for him to continue to grow the sport in the place where his daughters learned to play. “We’ve always been about trying to get the Adirondack region to be able to compete with some of the other regions,” White said. “Any and every opportunity is a good chance for the girls play lacrosse and to see what it’s like to play good lacrosse. Hopefully, we can try to compete with some of the other regions.”
The addition of the girls to the NYSR Lacrosse Championships has been huge for athletes and parents across the state, including White. “I think it’s a great opportunity,” he said. “I really do believe the girls should have as many opportunities as the guys do. Having a tournament like that at Albany is a great opportunity for the girls.”
Having one big tournament with girls and boys competing on the neighboring fields is an opportunity for both to watch the other and get some motivation. “We’ve been to tournaments in the past where the guys were playing on one set of fields and the girls were playing on another set of fields, it’s a better atmosphere,” White said. “The girls will go watch some of the guys’ games, the guys will go watch girls’ games and, at that level, the girls seem to play a little harder when there are guys watching and I think the guys play a little harder when the girls are watching.”
All in all, this year’s tournament represents a hope for a return to normalcy and more opportunities in the future. “I’m looking for the ability to restore some semblance of normalcy and that athletes can get back to what they love to do,” White said. “Whether it’s lacrosse, whether it’s another sport, whether it’s the arts, it’s just seeing kids out there enjoying what they like to do. If there’s any overriding goal, it would be to see the kids enjoy playing lacrosse for the sake of playing lacrosse again.”