This Saturday, St. David's Episcopal Church held their annual Church Fair in Radnor,Pennsylvania. The grounds of this Church are beautiful and the Fair takes place beneath the Maples and Oaks towering over the park-like grounds. This gig features the requisite Food, Kids Games, Auction and Bake Sale. However, the real attraction is high end rummage...in other words Flea Market stuff donated by denizens of some fairly well heeled Zip Codes. My Wife and I always attend and the kids only miss when a riding leson or sports event interferes.
Over the years I have found some great stuff and this year was no exception. I scored a beautiful watercolor of canvasback ducks flying across a marsh at sunrise and a stunning Jos. A. Banks Hunter Green wool sport coat with labels still on. Seriously, the clothes alone at this event would make Guiseppe from Affordable Wardrobe quiver and drool. I will not even bore you with other scores or a description of the tremendous book tent.
What is relevant to the title of this post happened in the Sporting Goods tent. Here on the Main Line there is an organization called: LEAPS. It is a charitable outfit with the goal of getting inner city Philly kids exposed to and involved in Lacrosse. In addition to teaching the sport, the Coaches advise the kids on nutrition, teamwork, discipline and preseverance. LEAPS is run by John Christmas and Eric Gregg. Christmas is a local kid from Ardmore who played high school lax at Lower Merion, was a 3 time All American and then went to U.V.A. where he was again 2 time All American and helped them win a National Div. 1 Title. John plays professionally, coaches at Lower Merion and does personal and group trraining. Eric was a top Goalie in Prep School league in the Philly area and played at Gettysburg. These two guys are devoted to the kids they coach thru LEAPS and depend on donations and volunteers to fund and equip these teams.
So, whenever I am at a Flea Market or the like, I am ever vigilant for helmets and other gear to give to this program. Helmets in particular are big ticket items and many kids cannot afford them and the purchase of same burdens the LEAPS budget. As with all youth Sports, kids outgrow their gear rapidly and at the St. David's Fair you find lots of Lacrosse gear as our area is and has always been a hot-bed of Lacrosse. I was lucky enough to buy 4 top quality and barely used helmets as well as numerous sets of gloves, shoulder pads and arm pads. Towards the end of the day the parishoners who run these sales get desperate to move their wares and not only did they give me the helmets at 1/2 price ( which was insanely cheap) but also threw in some of the other equipment gratis when I told them the entire haul was going to LEAPS. I am delivering the stuff to Mr. Christmas this week when I see him...he does private coaching sessions with my son. (As an aside, it is astounding to see how good this guys is at breaking down the movements and skills of Lacrosse and teaching the components to my kid thru continiuous repitition which translates to muscle memory and in turn can be executed at speed and with accuracy in Game conditions.)
I realize donating a few helmets and such is no great achievement, and I have been involved in some fundraising for LEAPS, but I do feel encouraged thinking that a kid who may otherwise not play this great game due to the prohibitive cost of a helmet, may someday go on to play at Duke or Hopkins or Princeton because of a great find in high end rummage.
P.S. That is Christmas ( # 2) playing at U.V.A. and with a LEAPS player... and a Team photo of the Ashbee team I coached this season....and some random photo left over from my prior " Vintage lacrosse " post.