HISTORY OF LACROSSE IN GIG HARBOR
The Harbor Fire Lacrosse Association-- founded by Craig Wickstrom, Ken Uddenberg, and Tino De La Rosa-- brought modern lacrosse to Gig Harbor, WA in 2009, providing teams for boys and girls from 3rd through 8th grades. In 2010, Marc Kemp and Kelly Bland developed a high school boys team, serving both Gig Harbor and Peninsula High Schools. Over the next three years, Ken Uddenberg (2011), Tracy Lyon (2012 & 2013) & Tom Olson (2013) joined the high school team’s coaching staff.
The initial group of 19 high school boys grew to a roster of over 60 by 2013. In the four year history, the team finished with a record of 36-25, claimed two conference championships, earned four 1st round playoff appearances, and had 7 players earn All-Conference honors.
GIG HARBOR AND PENINSULA SPLIT
In 2014, the league’s governing body (Washington High School Boys Lacrosse Association) mandated that conglomerate clubs split, so separate teams were created to align with GHHS and PHS, and the GHHS team was moved to Division I. Marc Kemp, Kelly Bland, and Tom Olson continued to coach the players from GHHS while Tracy Lyon and Rusty Wilder assumed leadership of the players from PHS. In the 2015 season the youth teams will also separate to align with the high schools.
In the spirit of the Apple Cup and Fish Bowl, the Baggataway Bowl was established to commemorate the common origin of the two squads, celebrate their natural rivalry, and honor the heritage of The Game. “Baaga`adowe” is the Ojibwe word for the Native American game we know as “lacrosse,” a name prescribed in 1636 by French Jesuit Missionaries. Native Americans considered Baaga`adowe to be “The Creator’s Game,” a divine gift, and in turn they played the game with great reverence to honor the Creator, heal the sick or injured, resolve disputes, and prepare warriors for battle. The Baggataway Bowl was envisioned as an annual event between the GHHS and PHS teams to honor their common history and the heritage of the sport, to resolve the dispute over which team is better, and to prepare the players for the rest of the season. In keeping with the tradition of The Creator’s Game being played to heal community members, The Bowl may be dedicated to a player who is sick or injured or an ailing member of the lacrosse community.
The victor of the Baggataway Bowl is awarded “The Fire Stick” trophy. The Fire Stick is a symbol of the Harbor Fire Lacrosse Association, of the players, coaches, and families who divided into two proud clubs, and of baaga`adowe itself. The head was custom dyed and strung by Coach Marc Kemp in the original red and black colors of HFLA. The more traditional stringing materials and wood “Crooked Arrows” shaft are homage to the Native origins of the game. The winning team may honor one of its players as the Keeper of the Stick, who shall be its steward until the next meeting of the two teams; or the Fire Stick may be displayed in an appropriate community trophy case. It is intended that the Fire Stick shall pass to the winner after each contest in perpetuity.
Dedicated by the HFLA Founding Fathers, coaches, and players of the 1st Baaga`adowe Bowl, March 18, 2014