FATHERS AND SONS HIT THE TURF WITH KNIGHTHAWKSApr 6, 2015
By Andrea Chevalier -- Rochester Knighthawks owner and general manager Curt Styres’ desire to spread his love for the game of lacrosse was again evident Saturday night. Prior to the Knighthawks game against the Minnesota Swarm, nine lacrosse fans got to experience what it was like to play in the National Lacrosse League.
The seven ball boys and their dads were on the field Saturday night before their favorite team defeated Minnesota, 10-2. The group consisted of Storm Phillips, 15, Shade Phillips, 12, Honnie Robertson, 11, and his father John Robertson. It also included Jake Rice Junior, 15, Bossy Rice, 9, and their father Jake Rice, and Kaymen Diabo, 11, and his father, Kirby Joe Diabo.
“The boys are shy but they really are grateful for the opportunities they’ve had,” said John Robertson. “They say if you want to play lacrosse, you have to travel and that’s what the kids are doing.”
The boys, who are from Kahnawake, travel all over the country to play lacrosse. During their travels, they met Knighthawks owner and general manager Curt Styres in Florida at the Dick’s Tournament of Champions in December. One of the boys asked him for his stick, and in return they got the opportunity of a lifetime. Styres gave his phone number to the group and invited them to the Knighthawks game on April 4th.
“We were on our way out here and gave Curt a call and he said to come out, that he needed some ball boys,” said Kirby Joe Diabo. “He gave us sticks and jerseys. His generosity is just him being the nice guy that he is.”
It was a great game for the boys to attend as the Knighthawks defeated the Swarm, 10-2, in what was a record-setting regular season game and perfect timing for the boys. They were en route to tryouts in Cattaraugus for the Iroquois Nationals U-12 and U-15 teams the following day.
“It’s great to have fans out here and people that really enjoy the game,” Styres said. “It’s going to be a great game. They’re on their way to tryouts so it will give the young guys something to look at and perform like when they’re at practice tomorrow.”
They boys are not strangers when it comes to watching professional lacrosse. They’ve attended Knighthawks games in the past. Honnie, who sported a Cody Jamieson jersey, mentioned that forward Joe Walters was also one of his favorite players on the team.
The boys got to the game early on Saturday night, prior to player warmups, to shoot around on the turf where the pros would later play. Though they were at the Knighthawks’ preseason game in Montreal a few months earlier, the boys were at a loss for words to explain how cool it was to have the opportunity to be the ball boys for the three-time defending champions.
Having a professional team to look up to as role models is great for the young lacrosse players. They don’t take these experiences for granted and try to emulate them as best they can.
“We were on the floor for the preseason game in Montreal,” said Diabo. “They were the ball boys for that game so this isn’t their first rodeo, but they are very lucky to have these opportunities and we appreciate it very much.”