Fathers of the field: Girls on the lacrosse team show up with their gear and their fathers’ support


Jason Barnett, NHS Lacrosse coach, advises player, Emma Hammond, during practice. Players say their practices are becoming even more valuable as the first games of the season have begun.

Madeline Smith and Carter Swart

Lauren Fischer is flying. Her feet, dressed in ruffled socks, kick high into the clear blue sky. Her eyes widen in wonder as she is pushed closer and closer to the clouds above her. Giggling on the playground swing, she turns her head to look at her dad and the beaming smile he wears across his face. As a little girl, Fischer’s father was her hero. As a high schooler, he still is. But, the hands that used to push her on the swing now throw lacrosse balls at the sophomore goalie to catch before hitting the back of the net. That same beaming smile appears on her dad’s face as he proudly supports Fischer, not only in the game of lacrosse, but also in her journey of life.

Junior Chloe Barnett and Fischer are teammates on the NHS varsity lacrosse team. Barnett, who plays both attack and middie, has been playing the sport for several years, while this is Fischer’s first season. Despite their differences in lacrosse experience, Barnett and Fischer have a main advantage in common: the steadfast support that they each receive from their close relationships with their fathers.

A Goalie’s Story

Fischer began a search for an activity to engage in during her sophomore year, when she stopped competing in volleyball. A soon-to-be teammate reached out to Fischer with a new opportunity.

“I started playing lacrosse because my friend, Molly Adams, convinced me to,” Fischer said, “and I wanted to try another sport other than volleyball.”

Fischer had no experience with lacrosse, so she turned to her best friend for knowledge.

“My father is my best friend,” Fischer said, “and he always motivates me to give my 100% effort.”

Fischer says her dad, Matt Fischer, supported her through the confusion of an unfamiliar sport with his own lack of knowledge. Neither of them knew how to play, but he embraced her curiosity and learned the game alongside his daughter.

“My dad has supported me through lacrosse by playing with me in the backyard,” Fischer said, “and learning with me along the way.”

Not only does Fischer’s dad support her through athletics, he also encourages her with life advice. Fischer values the advice her father offers her and incorporates his lessons throughout her day.

“My dad has supported me throughout life by always telling me to do the right thing, to stand up for myself, and strive to be the greatest in each sport I play,” Fischer said.

Fischer also incorporates her father’s advice into every practice and game as she bravely awaits the high-speed shots that fly off the turf.

“My dad has always told me to be confident throughout my life,” Fischer said, “and confidence is a really important part of being a goalie.”

Although this is only her first season playing lacrosse, Fischer began training as goalie and fell in love with the position immediately. She preferrs playing defensive roles in sports. So although the goalie position can be difficult, it is also very exciting for Fischer.

“It also is a very mentally challenging position to be in, but being the main-spot of defense is awesome,” Fischer said.

As Fischer continues to learn the ropes of her position, her friends and teammates  are noticing her improvement. Her friends and teammates are also aware that Fischer’s skill advancement is built on the foundation that her dad’s encouragement set.

“Lauren and her dad have been practicing together a lot outside of school practice,” Adams said, “and she’s gotten to be such a good goalie thanks to him.”

Fischer earned a spot as the NHS varsity goalie. Being on varsity so early in her career brings high-expectations. However Fischer feels confident in her abilities through the encouragement of her friends.

“I love lacrosse because the girls and the community are very welcoming,” she said. “So I’ve made a lot of new friends I can count on, in and out of the field.”

Apart from her classmates, teammates, and friends, her ultimate source of support still comes from her father. Fischer draws on the memories with her father that have made her the person and lacrosse player she is today.

“I am thankful for my dad because he has always had my back growing up,” Fischer said, “and showing up to every one of my games.”

On The Attack

Barnett on the other hand, is a dual-threat athlete, playing both attack and middie. However, Barnett is in a unique situation. Her father, Jason Barnett, is the head coach of the lacrosse team which creates an interesting dynamic for herself and her teammates.

“I started to play lacrosse because I met a friend at basketball practice and her sister played and she wanted to try it out and wondered if I would [play lacrosse] with her,” Barnett said. “I continued to play lacrosse because I love hanging out with my friends everyday, and I like being active.”                       

Barnett takes pride in her relationship with her father. She remembers an event from her freshman year, where her father awarded her “Rookie of the Year” during the end of the season banquet.

“My father supports me in all things I do. We have such a close relationship that he has always been there for me,” Barnett said.

While Barnett currently plays attack and middie, these aren’t the only two positions she’s has experience with. In middle school, she dabbled in Fischer’s position, goaltending. Her time in goal allowed her to help Fischer learn the ropes of the position, and also introduced a new challenge for Barnett.

“I had to play goalie for a whole season in middle school because our goalie was never there, and since my dad was the coach, he sat me down and told me I had to step up and play the position since no one else wanted to,” Barnett said. “So I took the challenge and practiced goalie throughout that whole season.”

Barnett feels that there is a stigma attached to the goalie position. According to Barnett, being a goalie isn’t easy and it quickly became an undesirable position for girls at NHS.

“I think there is a general opinion that no one wants to play goalie because they might get hurt or not like it. Eventually, everyone gets hurt at one point or another and you just have to power through it,” Barnett said.

On and off the field, Barnett enjoys having her dad as a coach because she claims he is always there for her. She says having her coach live under the same roof is an advantage.

“My father has supported me through everything I have done with lacrosse throughout the years,” Barnett said. “He took me to most practices, because he got into coaching right after I started and hasn’t stopped being involved yet.”