By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, posted 6/29/18
For rising freshman Sam Malloy, the Shootout for Soldiers is special in many ways.
A midfielder who will attend Episcopal Academy, Malloy and his PA Roughriders 2022 Elite squad has raised $3,573 this year for the National fundraising event that was held for 24 hours Tuesday and Wednesday at Episcopal Academy. In all, 11 Roughriders teams participated while raising over $13,000 in the event that has raised over $91,500 in just its second year in Philly.
Shootout for Soldiers, being held in 12 cities, benefits many organizations for soldiers; the main beneficiary in Philly is the Travis Manion Foundation. Malloy’s mother is a first cousin of Manion, the former La Salle College High and Navy lacrosse player who died in 2007 while serving his country as a United States Marine in Iraq. He was awarded the Silver Star and Bronze Star with Valor.
“It was super special,” said Malloy. “This event honors people like Travis Manion, all the soldiers still fighting and all the soldiers that have fought.
“On our team, everyone showed up and we all raised money. Also, all 11 teams from the Roughriders came to the event. I think it was a great representation of what PA Roughriders is all about – playing lacrosse, but also giving back.”
Malloy’s mother, Maureen, has overseen the Travis Manion 9/11 Heroes Run for 9 years.
“I love lacrosse and raising money so being involved in this is a no-brainer,” Sam Malloy said.
Malloy said his 2022 team played with the Roughriders 2019 Select team during their hour-long game. While their fundraising efforts were intense, the game was low key. Shootout for Soldiers is known for its lively and upbeat atmosphere, featuring music, games and good sportsmanship with low-stress competition.
Malloy was also proud that Shootout for Soldiers Philly is hosted and run by his future coach Chris Bates, who actually coached Manion one year when he attended Drexel. Malloy and his teammates wanted to give a shoutout to Bates for his efforts in hosting the event.
“It was so much fun,” Malloy said. “We practice really hard; it’s good to have a break and have a little fun. The atmosphere was so great, great.
“We just want to give back and help out the soldiers and I think this is the perfect way to do it.”
Another member of the Roughriders 2022 squad, Jack Onderdonk, said the Shootout for Soldiers event helps him focus on what’s important to the community.
“Giving back is a very big part of my family,” said the future Malvern Prep attackman. “Obviously, they are overseas defending our constitutional rights. They could come back as an amputee so it’s very important to see what the Travis Manion Foundation does.
“The atmosphere was great and there was music in the background. That’s something you don’t see with field lacrosse. The parents seemed to enjoy it a lot.”
Onderdonk’s father, Chris, is the 2022 coach. He took his team to personally meet all the other beneficiaries at the event so the players would fully understand the impact of their fundraising work.
“My dad had the whole team go around to the non-profits and they explained to us what they do how and how they impact the troops,” Jack said.
Roughriders 2022 Chris Datz (also headed to Malvern Prep) also appreciated meeting each beneficiary.
“I thought it was really important to me and my team teammates that our coach is maybe the only one that took us to every charity so they could explain their mission and what they do,” said Datz. “This event is a really good cause that combines two great things – lacrosse and funbdraising.
“I am proud to be a part of the Roughriders and the money we raised. A lot of people in my family have been in the military and friends of mine have family members in the military. That makes it that much better.”
Datz, who also plays on the Dukes Nationals and is starting to understand the recruiting scene, enjoyed playing the sport for more than the stresses of showing off his skills to coaches.
“It’s the type of lacrosse you don’t get a lot of,” he said. “It gets really competitive with the club game and to just go out and not worry about people watching you is great. We had a blast for a good cause.
“This is something that encourages me to do more (community work) in the future.”
Coach Onderdonk was pleased that his team embraced the time spent with beneficiaries and that they understood the importance of the cause. He noted that Roughriders director Doug Corrigan made participating in the event last year a priority.
“Doug approached us last year about it,” Onderdonk said. “It was the first year in Philadelphia and we all jumped on board and sort of viewed it as an opportunity for the boys to learn and expand their understanding of what service means.
“We talk about being respectful on the lacrosse field. These kids are young and it exposes them to things much larger than themselves. This is another opportunity for boys to connect the dots. They learned stories of each of the charities.
“Our team raised about $3,600 alone and our Roughriders raised $13,000 or $14,000 and for one organization that’s probably No. 1, so the experience is fantastic. They do a really good job or organizing and it keeping it fun.”
Onderdonk said it was eye-opening to hear representatives from the charities speak to his players. He also was pleased to see the 2026 PA Roughriders invite their grandparents to watch and come out on the field.
“Our kids don’t understand the most basic concept of a soldier coming back from overseas,” Onderdonk said. “They don’t understand the sacrifices and mental impact these soldiers have to deal with.
“It was a nice way for boys to hear first-hand from those charities. If they go to school, maybe they will share what they learned and will build in to their daily lives.”