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By Josh Krueger

Daily News staff

PORTSMOUTH — When it comes to expert knowledge, kids who attended the Beach Dogs Lacrosse Camp this week at Glen Farm were exposed to about the best there is. Campers had the chance to meet and learn from one professional and two national champion college lacrosse players, all of whom hail from the birthplace of the game.

 

Sid Smith and Cody Jamieson of the national champion men’s team from Syracuse University, along with Craig Point of the National Lacrosse League’s Rochester Knighthawks, made the trip down from Ontario, Canada. The three of them — along with Cam Bomberry, an assistant coach for the Iroquois National Lacrosse team — spent the early part of the week teaching local players about the game that not only has been a significant part of their lives, but is part of their heritage.

 

“I just had some blank stares yesterday when I asked if anybody had heard of the Iroquois and the history behind lacrosse,” Bomberry

 

said. “I told the story of … how big a part of who we are, how engrained lacrosse is in our culture. “For us, it’s about how we live our life and who we are. We’re just sharing that.”

 

The goals of the camp, which was available to players of all skill levels from grades 1-10, according to Beach Dogs camp director Marshall Huggins, were to make sure players received some on-field instruction from some pretty well known players, and gain a greater understanding of the game by learning its history. “The sport, for us here, is a relatively new sport. But for these guys, it goes back generations,” Huggins said. “One of the main reasons I hooked up with Cam, I really wanted to focus a lot on the tradition and history of the sport, and also give parents the opportunity to learn about it, the roots of where it came from.” Lacrosse is believed to be the oldest sport in North America and is rooted in Native American religion, according to US Lacrosse, the sport’s national governing body. Of course, from a kid’s perspective, the most entertaining part of the camp probably was watching three top-notch players fling the ball around and fire shots on goal in excess of 90 mph.

 

“I like the kids a lot. Being somewhere where they’re just starting out, I feel privileged to be a part of it,” Jamieson said. A.J. Jaffer, who tended goal for the Middletown High School boys team this past spring, had a firsthand look at some of the fastballs coming off the sticks of Point and Jamieson, who scored the gamewinning goal for Syracuse in the national championship game. “Every time they shoot, (the kids) are like, ‘Oh! Look at that!’” said Jaffer, who provided some goaltending instruction to the campers. “They’re always telling them to aim for a car.” Jaffer, who will play college lacrosse at Division II Florida Southern, had what some might call the unenviable task of being in goal while Jamieson and Point put on a shooting demonstration. “I got like two out of, maybe, 10 of them,” Jaffer said of the shots he faced earlier in the week. “Craig, he hits like 100 mph and (Jamieson), he hits like 90, 95. Really fast.” At the camp, Jaffer has been both teacher and student. “They’re helping me out with my reaction time,” he said of Smith, Jamieson and Point. “I’m playing college now, so I need to work on that.”

 

Those attending the camp represented quite a range of skills. Huggins said about 100 kids attended the camp, and in his estimation, about 20 percent of them were just getting started. “We have young kids, but I also have ninth- and 10th-graders in their first year playing, which is amazing,” Huggins said. “And they’re really doing well.” Working with these rookies, Jamieson said, has been the best part of the camp. He said in some ways, believe it or not, he can relate to the disappointment newcomers can experience when trying to grasp certain skills. “I think the most fun part is working with the kids who aren’t that experienced, just because they’re still having fun and still getting the frustration,” he said. “I like that, because I still get the frustration when I can’t do something. “I like helping everybody out, and I like seeing the smile on their face after they pick up their first ball or score their first goal.” A lot of the kids Jamieson and Smith met this week saw them play last month in the national championships in Foxboro, Mass. And many of them were on hand to see Jamieson’s game-winning goal against Cornell in the title game.

 

“At the time, I didn’t really think I just scored the game-winning goal. It was more of a ‘We just won the national championship’ type feeling,” Jamieson said. “Winning a national championship at that level is something a lot of people can’t say they did. And to win it the way we won it, with the guys we won it with … was really special.

“It was a dream come true for everybody involved. It was exciting, every aspect of it.” With Smith, who plays defense, Point, a middie, and Jamieson, who plays attack, the camp’s guests had nearly every aspect of the game covered. And the kids hung on their every word. “We have a little bit of every part of the game going on,” Point said. “I just came here and tried to teach them all the knowledge that I have.” In doing so, Point and his fellow Iroquois are aiding in the continued growth of the sport their ancestors created. “I never imagined I’d find myself here in Rhode Island doing a lacrosse camp,” Smith said. “It’s awesome to be out here and help the growth of the sport.”