By: RJ Kaminski
The echo of a rhythmic, thundering beat could be heard during all 24 hours of Shootout for Soldiers Colorado. Well, except when JoJo War Drummer paused for lunch and dinner to hit the food trucks that lined Aurora Sports Park.
The official drummer of the Denver Outlaws supported Colorado’s first SFS on social media every single day leading up to the event. “I do it for the soldiers and the great charities Shootout for Soldiers supports,” JoJo said.
JoJo wasn’t alone on the sidelines as thousands flocked to attend Shootout for Soldiers Colorado. Local Organizer Misty Huss recognized the workload leading up to July wouldn’t be easy, but it would definitely be worth it. “I won’t lie and say that all the work leading up to our first SFS was easy,” Huss said. “It had its ups and downs, stresses, and more than a few restless nights of sleep. As a team we never lost sight of what we were doing, and most importantly, who we were doing it for.”
The Shootout for Soldiers Colorado beneficiaries lined the turf adjacent to the main playing field, ensuring each team that played would see where their fundraising dollars were headed.
Two representatives from one of those deserving charities took advantage of the event to play lacrosse, a game they never had the chance to play before.
Steve Lieberum and Daniel Padilla played the sport for the first time at SFS Colorado and spoke on camera following his game about the first time playing competitively. As a matter of fact, several members of Team Red, White and Blue strayed from their tent and played in the actual event itself.
Even more incredible than Shootout for Soldiers allowing participants to pick up a stick for the first time is what occurred during the 2 P.M. time slot at Aurora Sports Park. Huss gathered both benches to go over the rules for the only hour of play that required a clear explanation of them.
“Everyone bunch up your sticks into one pile,” Huss said.
Several boys surrounded Huss shouting out different questions. “Yes, I said NO checking. None at all.”
The boys and girls team swapped sticks and kicked off the first stick swap game in SFS history. And the girls gave the boys team a game to remember.
One attackman on the boys team couldn’t stop laughing at all the turnovers he was racking up. “I can’t shoot with this stick! It’s way too hard,” he laughed coming off the field.
“I would have a hard time picking my absolute favorite memory from the event,” Huss said. “Having the first ever girls vs. boys stick swap game would rank up there…the father son game was pretty great too.”
The smiles on the sidelines ensured that even though the girls dominated the score of this one, everyone came away with a great experience.
That’s what Huss had intended – not just for those involved in the 2 P.M. hour, but for everyone playing and attending throughout the 24 hours in Colorado. And yes, she is already amped up for 2017.
“I’ve already started working on next year, thinking how we can have a deeper reach into the Colorado lacrosse and Veteran communities,” Huss said. “At the end of the day, hearing players and families say how much fun this was and how awesome they felt being able to support our Veterans doing something that they love—well that was probably the best thing of all.”