Imagine a sporting event in which all players are there for a good time, the fans are polite, the college recruiters are absent, and the fees support a noble cause. Today, it seems like sporting events are all taken a little, and in some cases a lot too seriously. This dream of a happy, upbeat tournament was made into a reality by a group of lacrosse players from Baltimore, Maryland.
In 2012, Tyler Steinhardt and a few Boys Latin lacrosse players founded Shootout for Soldiers. The Boys Latin School of Maryland is a world renowned high school lacrosse powerhouse. The idea behind the tournament was to have games being played for 24 hours straight. Each game last only an hour, and while there are many teams competing, the are all put into one of two teams; team Stars and team Stripes. The score runs through the whole tournament, so in reality it is multiple teams that make up each team. This was a unique system set up by the founders that will attract players and fans alike, and thus bring more support to our veterans. All proceeds of the event benefit the Wounded Warrior Project, which supports events and medical expenses for veterans. The Wounded Warrior Project is seeing a large growth in support from the Baltimore area, as Shootout for Soldiers and Under Armour are both major financial contributors.
Shootout for Soldiers has partnered with multiple companies for raising funds, one of which being SHOC Sports Visors featured in the above photograph.
The first tournament took place in Baltimore, Maryland on June 14th, 2012. As with any brand new event, nobody can be sure of its success until it has already taken place, especially a 24 hour tournament. After all, who wants to be tossed around by huge defenders at one o’clock in the morning? But the tournament was a huge hit, raising more than $110,00, and over $156,000 the next year. These two years were only in Baltimore, but now the tournament has spread like wildfire to twelve locations, and very far from Baltimore as well, with events in Texas, California, and Utah. The initial reaction to Shootout for Soldiers shows just how special this tournament is. On June 28th, ESPN released their story “A Game Like No Other,” which tells the story of US Army veteran Calvin Todd, who was wounded in combat and later able to participate in the tournament. Players like Paul Rabil and Kyle Hartzell of the New York Lizards play each year, as well as the entire ECD Lacrosse Company, a major equipment brand.
The support from the lacrosse community for the veterans is incredible to see, and it is not only from big name players and companies. Thousands of fans and players of all ages and skills from all around the country join in the action to help out those who served our country. Last year, Shootout for Soldiers broke the million dollar mark, with all of those funds going towards helping veterans get back on their feet. With multiple city expansion each year, this incredible event shows no signs of stopping.