Briarcliff Hosts Harlem Lacrosse at annual Turkey Day Jamboree


From the November 28th Pleasantville - Briarcliff Manor Patch (article written by Kathleen Reilly)

“Super move!” “That was perfect!” “Know where you are!”

These snippets are just a sampling of the many tips and compliments offered by Jon Kanovsky, coach of the Briarcliff 5th and 6th grade lacrosse team, as he instructed a group of boys on the mechanics of the rocker step—a key defensive lacrosse move.

Kanovsky, in conjunction with Briarcliff Manor Youth Lacrosse, hosted the 2nd Annual Turkey Day Jamboree at the newly dedicated sports field on Scarborough Road on Saturday. Participants included teams from New Rochelle, Westlake and Harlem.

Yes, Harlem.

Kanovsky, a big believer in giving back to the community, had recently learned about the mission and merits of the New York City-based Harlem Lacrosse team.

“I heard about the Harlem lacrosse club after seeing a powerful video on how they are bringing the sport into the inner city,” said Kanovsky.

The Harlem lacrosse story touched a nerve and Kanovsky wanted to do something to expose the Harlem team to the Briarcliff team and the Briarcliff team to Harlem.

“Lack of diversity is one of the only negatives of living in this community,” he added.

The event began with an instructional clinic, with stations manned by coaches from each of the respective teams, demonstrating critical lacrosse skills including moving, dodging, shooting and goal tending. Each of the teams had an opportunity to play one another and also engage in a “monster mash,” during which all the participants were pooled and ultimately divided into four new teams to play the final match.

Plenty of hot dogs, donuts and other treats followed.

Local parents chipped in to assist with the logistics of the day, including providing transportation to and from the Metro North train station for the Harlem team. Older, seasoned eighth grade players were also on hand to help.

Chris Vettorino, an eighth grade player from Briarcliff, was happy to be there.

“It’s a great day, everyone is out to play,” Vettorino reflected.

The visiting Harlem team seemed to be having fun, too.

Kevyn Delacoudray, of the Frederick Douglass Academy (FDA) in Harlem, said “It’s adventurous and fun!”

And when asked if he would like to come back next year, Delacoudray was quick to quip, “Oh yeah!”

Jake Klein, who is both the head coach of the FDA team and program director for the Harlem Lacrosse & Leadership Corp., outlined the advantages of the Harlem program—“We use lacrosse as an avenue for new experiences, academic intervention and social training. The program helps build character and empower the kids with techniques for conflict resolution,” explained Klein. “The program’s intent is to give the kids a reason to come to school.”

The program has been successful enough that not only has the eighth grade graduation rate at FDA increased significantly, but high school scholarship rates for the students have grown as well.

The final report card?

Upon the jamboree’s conclusion, Kanovsky exclaimed, “It was an incredible event!”