By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 6/6/11
Tony McDevitt is living proof that you can be successful in lacrosse even if you start playing the sport later in life or come from the city.
Last Thursday and Friday McDevitt held his annual boys’ lacrosse camp at Archbishop Ryan for Our Lady of Calvary Church in Northeast Philadelphia. More than 100 youngsters of all ages attended the evening sessions held for two days.
McDevitt began playing lacrosse when he entered Penn Charter as a 9th grader. He became a standout defenseman, as well as a star in football and basketball at Penn Charter and chose to play lacrosse at Duke.
McDevitt enjoyed tremendous success at Duke on and off the field. He was an honor student who performed many hours of community service and also was a two-time All-American defenseman that helped the Blue Devils reach the NCAA semifinals in his senior year in 2008.
McDevitt, now a bond trader in New York City who also plays professional lacrosse for the Long Island Lizards of Major League Lacrosse, comes back to his roots in the Northeast to run the camp every year to give kids from non-traditional lacrosse areas a chance to learn the game that helped him so much.
“Anyone can be successful playing lacrosse,” said McDevitt. “I grew up in Northeast Philadelphia and I wasn’t able to play until I went to Penn Charter.
“I got this camp started four years ago and we had 35 kids. I just wanted them to have a head and get the feel of the sticks and shoulder pads. Many of them don’t where to buy equipment or can’t afford the equipment.
“Now we have 100 kids (7 to 17) out here. We are trying to spread the game as much as possible.”
McDevitt had a number of volunteers – some former teammates and others from the region – help coach during the camp. The other benefit of the camp is the Tony McDevitt Foundation, which provides funds to a deserving boy to pay high school or college tuition.
“We preach that school is still the most important thing,” McDevitt said. “The goal is to introduce the sport to young boys and show them that a sport they may not have known much about can open up doors to colleges they may not have thought they could attend.”
McDevitt said he is proud to make a contribution to the growth of the sport in the city. For many years the Philadelphia Lacrosse Association has built programs in the city and in the past few years the LEAPS program – run by pro players John Christmas and Eric Greg – has joined forces to build youth and school programs for boys and girls.
“I’ve been in touch with (John) Christmas several times and they have the same goals in mind,” said McDevitt. “If I can give a few kids the opportunity to learn a sport that I learned to love, that’s great – to give 100 kids the opportunity just multiplies it.
“I always remind them how late I started. Now, they have the opportunity to start playing at a young age. Believe it or not, they may have the opportunity to go play lacrosse at a Duke or another great school.”
Tags: Penn Charter