The Swarm is halfway into a two-year initiative at the Prairie Island reservation to help kids re-connect with the game their ancestors played.
Promotions are the lifeblood of pre-game and halftime entertainment at sporting events. Objectives can vary greatly -- from quick laughs to an attempt at education -- but few would seem to have the depth as the one being offered this weekend at Xcel Energy Center.
The Minnesota Swarm pro lacrosse team has its home opener at 7 p.m. Saturday against the Buffalo Bandits. In conjunction with that, the Swarm is promoting Native American Heritage Night. Native American kids will play lacrosse pre-game. Local tribal communities will be honored. Halftime will feature a traditional lacrosse match -- the version originally played hundreds of years ago by Native Americans.
The bigger picture, however, extends beyond just one night. The Swarm is halfway into a two-year initiative at the Prairie Island reservation to help kids re-connect with the game their ancestors played. Swarm representatives travel southeast of the Twin Cities multiple times a week to give instruction and lead games.
"And it's not just lacrosse," said Swarm co-owner Andy Arlotta. "We've incorporated all kinds of things into the program. We're dealing with accountability, getting good grades and goal-setting sessions. The kids are really grasping hold of it."
The Swarm's program has been so well received that it was recently recognized at the White House and is being adopted by other organizations around the country, Arlotta said. The program runs year-round, with this obviously being the indoor season (even with the recent balmy weather).
Brian Kimmell is the Swarm's Native American Lacrosse Coordinator and heads the club at Prairie Island. Corbyn Tao, a Swarm rookie and member of the Nishga tribe, also recently began making regular instructional appearances.
"I'm enjoying it a lot," Tao said. "I'm just excited to be able to contribute to it and be a role model. ... The dedication and belief of the kids stick out. They've only been playing for a year, but they're really open-minded. I tell them to try something, and they're willing to give it a shot."
Said Arlotta: "If we can put someone like [Tao] in front of them, that's a great role model."
|Boston - WP: M. Ott||4||FINAL|
|Minnesota - LP: M. Hoffman||3|
|San Francisco||2||Top 5th Inning|
|Colorado||2||Bottom 2nd Inning|
|LA Lakers||46||3rd Qtr|
|Toronto||0||1st Prd 17:21|
|UC Santa Barbara||38|
|San Diego St||73|
|Utah Valley U||83|
|Cal State Fullerton||56||FINAL|
|Long Beach State||66|
|Sam Houston St||70|
|Alabama A&M||63||2nd Half 1:30|
|Eastern Mich||58||2nd Half 5:45|
|UC Riverside||43||2nd Half 1:00|
|CS-Bakersfield||56||2nd Half 6:10|
|Rhode Island||55||2nd Half 6:33|
|Portland State||57||2nd Half 2:40|
|Fresno State||59||2nd Half 7:34|
|Oregon||63||2nd Half 3:10|
|Northwestern||62||2nd Half 0:45|
|Miss State||51||2nd Half 15:23|
|Georgia Tech||42||2nd Half 13:52|
|ULM||47||2nd Half 11:34|
|Marquette||41||2nd Half 15:13|
|West Virginia||19||2nd Half 17:01|
|Charlotte||13||1st Half 11:14|
|Boise State||10:30 PM|
|New Mexico St|
|Miss Valley St||68||FINAL|
|(22) Middle Tennessee||69|
|William & Mary||65|
|Old Dominion||46||2nd Half 12:35|
Poll: How many games will the Gophers win in the Big Ten tournament?