NEWPORT NEWS — For those who buy into the stereotype of athletes as self-absorbed and not that bright, a visit with the Christopher Newport women's lacrosse team might be in order.
The team, which saw its season end on Wednesday with a first-round NCAA Division III loss to Catholic University, has done more than rack up goals all year. It's raised money for ovarian cancer research through a season-long Goal-a-Thon, and the work isn't ending along with the school year.
The idea was born while Green was studying abroad as a Canon Scholar at Oxford and fueled by her desire to see lacrosse added to the Special Olympics.
"They told us to come up with something that could change the world or change your local community," said Green, a native of Pasadena, Md., and a neuroscience major out of Archbishop Spaulding High. "I noticed that there is not lacrosse in the Special Olympics. The Special Olympics doesn't fund that sport, and I thought that that was weird. It was my endeavor to make that happen."
Green is still in the beginning stages of getting her goal off the ground, rallying community support while studying similar programs such as AD Lacrosse, an adaptive program in Maryland for children with developmental disabilities.
"Seeing the success of that organization was just uplifting and fulfilling, knowing that I don't have a far-fetched goal and that it's achievable," Green said. "It's exciting, and there is an interest for it down here."
Green said the Center for Autism, a special education school in Newport News, is interested in working with AdaptLAX and adding lacrosse to its fall sports program. She's also planning to work the phones this summer — in between filling out medical school applications — to add additional events in the fall.
"I've learned that every little phone call and every little step matters," Green said. "I am a lot further along than when I started."
Green's work personifies the spirit of the CNU's team, which also sponsored the first Debbie Cale Classic on April 17 in honor of the mother of a former field hockey player. Debbie Cale died of ovarian cancer in October, and the lacrosse players wanted to honor Cale while reaching out to the field hockey team and raising money for ovarian cancer research and awareness.
"It's important to be well-rounded citizens, whether you're in college or not," lacrosse coach Carolyn Raveia said. "Especially in college, it's easy to forget that there's so much going on. You're in a little bit of a bubble, and to learn how to reach out and be involved is an important lesson that you can learn.
"(It's) just putting things in perspective and life in perspective. There's more than just lacrosse and there's more to stress about than just finals."
Green also took part in CNU's "Spread the Word to End the Word" campaign in March, which promoted respect for the developmentally disabled by raising awareness of the hurtful effects of the word "retarded."
"It's something that I want people to become educated about," Green said. "Overall awareness is something that I'm reaching for here, and lacrosse is just a means to do that."
Green and the entire CNU lacrosse roster, without a senior in 2012's school-record 15-win season, will return next year. The Captains' sights will be set on adding a victory to their 0-6 postseason mark, but it's a safe bet the players will have a few off-the-field goals to accomplish as well.
"We look outside of the lacrosse world," Green said. "We are looking to spread awareness for ovarian cancer and, with my program, for children with intellectual disabilities. … We have a really bright team, and everybody is passionate about different things. It comes together pretty well."
CNU's Green, lacrosse players see bigger picture
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