In the Springfield College men’s lacrosse locker room, multiple items that speak to the life of a lax player litter the benches, floor and decorate every corner. Regular clothes, athletic shoes, lacrosse sticks, water bottles and rubber balls are among the most popular details.
But during the first week of April, hair clippers made their entrance.
One by one, players on the men’s lacrosse team began to step out on campus with bald heads. A classic team tradition, the men shaved each other’s heads either before or after their daily practices in their locker room, drawing attention from all to their cause: cancer research.
Through the Hope Street Foundation’s Lacrosse for Life event, each shaved head on the team represents a $1,000 donation. In addition to the players, the coaching staff and managers also shaved their heads — a testament to the team’s commitment to charity and personal bonding.
Thirty-seven members of the men’s lacrosse program participated, raising $37,000 in matched donations for cancer research.
This was the second time the Hope Street Foundation has organized the event, with multiple lacrosse programs all over the country taking part.
Hope Street Foundation partnered with the Dana-Farber Institute. The Dana-Farber JimmyFund site has a specific “Giving” page designated for the program, and has received over $1 million in pledged donations just from the players and coaches nationwide.
The foundation reached out to men’s head coach Keith Bugbee about participating in the event — but before he even said anything to his team, they had already started cutting their hair.
“It was really a team thing; it wasn’t even me,” Bugbee said.
Though this is the second year for the Lacrosse for Life event, the Pride usually cuts their hair as a team.
“Yeah we’ve done it before; they usually initiate it, which is great,” Bugbee said.
A good way to help out a good cause, even though his team is busy on the field, Bugbee makes sure there is still time to give back.
A couple of weeks back, the team wore yellow shoelaces against MIT, supporting an organization called “Go for the Goal.” The organization raises money for families of children with cancer.
The team put together a fundraising page to show their support and raise money for the cause.
Taking part in Lacrosse for Life is not the last thing that Bugbee has planned, either. With the team having a bit of a ‘bye’ week between games, Bugbee and some players are going to an elementary school to show kids how to play lacrosse.
Just like being able to play a full season and feeling a sense of normalcy again, giving back is an important part of the program.
“It’s part of our culture,” Bugbee said.
Last year, the team only played three games throughout the season. Not getting his players the game experience was hard for Bugbee and his team, but missing out on their culture was even harder.
“When you take away our culture, it totally affects us,” Bugbee said.
Missing out on hanging out with each other in Cheney or in the locker room, the team was not able to establish their culture. They couldn’t even practice as a full team.
A year later, knowing how important their culture is, the team can do things together again. Including shaving each other’s heads in the locker room.
“It’s fun, they did all the haircuts,” Bugbee said. “They had the clippers in the locker room, it’s funny they did a whole bunch of hair and there’s hair everywhere still.”
Keeping up the tradition of shaving their heads as a team the Pride have only three games left in the regular season. NEWMAC matchups with Coast Guard and Clark and a non-conference game with Wesleyan. The team hopes to finish strong heading into the NEWMAC tournament.