It was 2002 when Anthony “Merc” Ryan and Lloyd Carter founded Blax Lax, a nonprofit lacrosse program aimed at attracting Baltimore City youth to the sport the two coaches share a passion for.
When the longtime friends — teammates and graduates of Edmondson and Morgan State — were on the phone earlier this week, discussing the special day set for Saturday at US Lacrosse’s Tierney Field in Sparks, they couldn’t help but think back to those days.
Baltimore City lacrosse will be celebrated Saturday with a day filled with games at all levels, a memorial ceremony honoring two fallen lacrosse players and more.
The Hampton University (Va.) men’s lacrosse team, started under Carter in 2016, will take on Bethany College (W.Va.) at 3 p.m. The game is a homecoming of sorts for Carter’s team, which features three Baltimore-area players: City grads Derian Williams-Sturdivant and Melvin Scott III, and Archbishop Curley grad Jordan Brown. At 6:30, Ryan will guide the City boys against defending Baltimore City champion Mervo in a rematch of last year’s title game.
Three youth club games will begin the day with the action starting at 10 a.m.
“It’s very historic, it’s very sentimental and it’s very indicative of where we are as far as lacrosse here and growing the game,” Carter said. “Saturday is a culmination of that.
“[On Wednesday,] Coach Merc and I were talking about the club program we started and this is a fruition of everything we had dreamed of. We were looking for more involvement from the African American community … and it’s all coming together.”
At 5:30 p.m., a ceremony will take place to honor the memory of Devin Cook and Ray Glasgow III, two lacrosse players who lost their lives to Baltimore City’s gun violence.
Cook, a 2012 graduate of the National Academy Foundation school, was a 20-year-old business major at CCBC-Catonsville when he was murdered in August 2014. Last May, Glasgow was a 17-year-old senior captain at City when he was shot in Southeast Baltimore just two days before the Knights were set to take on Mervo in the championship game.
Admission is free for the day’s events, including to the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame and Museum. Food and drinks will be sold.
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“It’s huge and everybody is really excited,” Ryan said. “We’re going to have participation of all ages, food out there and it’s free to anybody that comes through. It’s embracing the entire Baltimore City lacrosse community, so we’re real happy about that.”