Lacrosse Victoria's inaugural Pride Cup

Published October 31, 2022.

The success of Lacrosse Victoria’s inaugural Pride Cup last month has ensured the event will become an annual fixture with the sport pledging to further embrace the rainbow community.

Inspired by Vicsport’s Rainbow Roadmap, Lacrosse Victoria committed to an action plan that increased LGBTIQ+ numbers to their sport and that included the delivery of a community-wide Pride Cup which was enabled by funding from VicHealth’s Future Healthy Big Connect.

“We had done some work in the disability space through our TriBall modified program and we have been heavily involved in becoming a more welcoming sport for women and girls,” said Lacrosse Victoria Development Officer, Kristen Hutchison.

“Through the Rainbow Roadmap and after running some focus groups with Dr. Ryan Storr from Proud 2 Play and consulting with members, we identified that the LGBTIQ+ space was something that needed addressing within lacrosse.

“Some members of the LGBTIQ+ lacrosse community felt there was a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ mentality and that was troubling. We want people to be able to be their true selves within the sport, to be acknowledged and to be heard. So, we have established an LGBTIQ+ advisory group and they have assisted us through a number of steps which included the Pride Cup.”

Image via Kane Mannix.

Held at PJ Lynch Reserve in Altona North, 22 teams attended the Pride Cup with 74 games played across nine fields. Fundraising initiatives saw money donated to LGBTIQ+ inclusion in sport and the true inclusiveness of the day was demonstrated with participants ages ranging from 7 to 71.

“We kick-started the day with a free Come and Try session which allowed those who had never played before to get a feel of the sport,” said Kristen.

“Aunty Fay provided a fantastic Welcome to Country and we had a face painting activity before the round robin games began. We played a similar format to our TriBall program with three players per side on a field the size of a basketball court. It’s a friendlier version of the game as you get to play offence, defence and even goalie. We also use tennis balls, pop-up soccer goals to keep things at waist-level and soft boundaries.

“The 22 teams were divided into three divisions (novice, intermediate and experienced) and at the end of the round robin games, the top two teams played off in a final. We then held presentations for each division winner and we presented a Spirit Award to the team that most embodied the essence of this event – being not just friendly but enthusiastically supporting and encouraging everyone at the Pride Cup.”

Image via Kane Mannix.

Having set a goal of 16 teams for the event, Lacrosse Victoria’s total of 22 exceeded expectations and featured ten out of their 16 field clubs as well as three university clubs. Their focus now turns to a 2023 event as well as maintaining the momentum created with additional LGBTIQ+ initiatives.

“The Pride Cup will be an annual event, remaining community based where anyone and everyone can compete and we’re aiming to run a Pride Round within our season structure as well,” said Kristen. “Lacrosse Victoria also has a Lacrosse Together program, funded by VicHealth’s Big Connect, which focuses on providing a place for LGBTIQ+ university students and allies to meet new people and play lacrosse.

“Sport needs to be for everyone. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from or what abilities you have, sport needs to be able to accommodate you. That’s something lacrosse will continue to focus on.”

For more information on Lacrosse Victoria and to play, visit their website here.

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