Next weekend on the campus of the University of New England in Biddeford, Maine, the Nor’easters will host their 14th “Lax 4 Life” fall ball tournament.
While most teams will be using their fall as a time to hone their skills and commit to some fundraising, UNE and the teams they have invited will be raising money for the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital in Portland.
Division 3 teams are allowed one day of official competition in the fall. Most choose to scrimmage a challenging local team. Some choose to play multiple opponents in a one-day tournament despite not having a lot of lead-up time. Lax 4 Life is that tournament for the University of New England.
With a twist.
“We’ve raised over $36,000 and donated that to the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital,” said UNE head coach Charlie Burch. “The hospital would let us bring about eight players and myself up to the hospital the week before the tournament and visit with the young patients in the hospital, but they told us those kids are just too vulnerable to have outsiders come in now.
“There is a big atrium area in the hospital where the kids could come out and play games with visitors, and we bring them a few presents and visit with them and play cornhole and other games with them. They really opened our guys’ eyes to what this whole the whole point of the tournament was.”
The tournament itself is a massive fundraiser that collects donations from the crowd and all of the proceeds go directly to the Hospital. Even the referees donate their fee to officiate the games. Lax 4 Life has become more than just a fall ball tournament; it’s an event that brings in the Maine community in a positive way. Donations can also be made through the UNE athletic department.
“We don’t declare a winner or anything like that,” said Burch “What we do is each team contributes an entry fee. We do not charge admission for the event, but we set up a table by the gate to the stadium and we collect donations.
“Now, our women’s lacrosse team joined us. And for the last four or five years, we do our tournament on Saturday and then they do their tournament on Sunday. So, it’s a combination of both teams supporting this event and that’s allowed us to raise a little bit more money.”
This year the tournament will include longtime participant Bentley, Curry College and New England College in addition to UNE. The event is open to the public on the UNE campus on Oct. 16.
The tournament kicks off at 8:30 a.m. with UNE matching up against New England College. The next games are Curry versus Bentley at 10:30. That will be followed by Curry taking on NEC at 12:30 and then UNE will play Bentley to finish the day at 2:30.
For more details visit UNE’s website and/or contact Burch.