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By: Hooper Neale

Most kids who grow up playing lacrosse know what it is like to have a “lacrosse parent” yelling or cheering for them on the sideline. What is special about the Shootout for Soldiers is that it provides an opportunity for those roles to be reversed. That was the case for Ryan Catterton, whose 3.5-year-old son Graham watched from the sideline as he played during SFS Atlanta.

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Catterton heard about the Shootout for Soldiers through the grapevine and wanted to get involved in order to raise money and awareness for American veterans. He also saw it as an opportunity to educate Graham about our nation and its veterans.

“The day started for us by honoring our country during the National Anthem, and even at 3 and a half years old, Graham stood quietly while it was played,” Catterton said. “That was a powerful moment for us, and a great way to honor our country and those that have fought to keep us safe. I will always remember this as the day he learned what the National Anthem means and how to honor those who have fought for us.”

Playing in a game was fun for Catterton not only because he was playing lacrosse, but also because his son was on the sideline cheering him on. Graham was used to going to his dad’s games with his mom, but she was unable to make it, so he had to cheer for two.

“Throughout the game you can hear Graham yell and cheer for us and sometimes even echo our bench when criticizing officials,” Catterton explained. 

“It was a fabulous way to spend the day and a great way to show gratitude to those who deserve it and don’t hear ‘thank you’ nearly as much as they should,” Catterton said. “We look forward to participating again next year and when he gets old enough, I’d love to see Graham play on his own – or even join our team.”IMG_5970

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