Tragedy is an unexpected part of life that recently reared its ugly head around a prominent Tampa-area lacrosse program that is very near to our hearts here at Signature Lacrosse. A fire erupted in the equipment storage unit of the Bay Area Sand Sharks on Sunday July 19th and destroyed most of the equipment owned by the lacrosse program. After building up a small group of eager lacrosse players into a well-respected program of over 150 lacrosse players and multiple coaches over a period of 15 years, everything they had worked for was caught in the blaze and reduced to ashes. At this point, the Bay Area Sand Sharks will be able to finish the rest of their summer sessions with the resources they have available to them, but your help is needed to get this giving and grateful lacrosse program back on their feet and back on the field.
Bay Area Sand Sharks Lose All Lacrosse Equipment to Fire
Shortly after finishing up a wonderful lacrosse tournament filled with excitement and enthusiasm, Joe Kuebrich, President of the Bay Area Sand Sharks, got a notification on his phone that rocked him to his core. He had to look at the wreckage of his team's lacrosse equipment storage unit once flames had burned or melted everything in their path. This crushing reality was combated with the same attitude that turned the Bay Area Sand Sharks into one of the best lacrosse programs in all of Florida; "You can only control what you can control."
The Sand Sharks are looking forward to their next opportunity to get on the lacrosse field and enjoy playing their favorite sport, but uncertainty is still in the air. Without all of the lacrosse resources that the program had accumulated over their many years of success, they may not be able to provide the same experience to the same number of lacrosse players that they had been. And so, in the spirit of trying to control what we can control, we're asking the lacrosse community to lend a helping hand to our great friends of the Bay Area Sand Sharks during their time of need. Donations of any size are helpful and appreciated. They can be made to the GoFundMe page that was set up by the wonderfully generous James Broome and Pete Mastro of Tampa Lax Report, who are also trying to lift up the Sand Sharks from this recent devastation.
Continuing the Legacy of the Bay Area Sand Sharks With Your Help
After losing over a decade's worth of memorabilia, stockpiles of balls, multiple goals, jerseys, and more, the Sand Sharks are left with bare bones of what was a fully stocked program less than a week ago. This is a poignant reminder of how devastating life can sometimes be and how quickly we can fall from grace, but it's also a joyous reminder of the strength and love of the lacrosse community. While it only took minutes for the fire to destroy thousands of dollars worth of equipment, the lacrosse community jumped into action to help fund-raise and support the Sand Sharks just as quickly. Please take the time to visit the link to their GoFundMe, if possible, and lend a helping hand where it could really be used.
History of the Bay Area Sand Sharks
The Sand Sharks got their start in 2008 when Brian Martin and Matt Newman began organizing a summer lacrosse season for Tampa Bay area lacrosse players. This duo helped spread joy and the game of lacrosse in Florida until 2012. Brian then went on to Oregon to start another lacrosse program in uncharted lacrosse territory and left the care of Sand Sharks in Matt's hands. During this time, the dedicated help and devotion of the Stienbrenner Lacrosse Club allowed Matt, and his four nephews who came to assist him in running the Sand Sharks, keep their ship afloat.
These early years were humbling ones that were spent practicing and playing on fields that were more sand than grass, but the Bay Are Sand Sharks have grown into a prominent program that provides dedicated coaching and organized lacrosse to over 150 lacrosse players. The 20 coaches of the Sand Sharks include John, Jeremy, Justin, and Joe Kuebrich, the four nephews of Matt Newman, who work diligently to continue on the legacy of the program no matter what obstacles are in their way. This group put forth an incredible effort to provide a safe lacrosse tournament during this pandemic, and the recent fire is just another challenge that they will one day reminisce about.