b'Lacrosse, Friendships,and Sore KneesLocal moms get off the sidelines and into the gameBY SARA COURTNEYMembers of the reLAX lacrosse team.T heFacebookpoststartedoutsimplypossible availability for practices. The post becamefirst graders play, Lombardi recalls. And we were enough.Whosupforplayingla- overwhelmedwithexcitedcomment.Itbecamesitting there thinking, We run our kids to activities. crosse? Dani Geraci and Kelly Lom- the genesis of reLAX Womens Lacrosse, the leagueWe sign them up for activities. We drive them to bardiaskedonacommunitygroupfounded by Geraci and Lombardi for local women. activities. We sit and watch them do activities. And back in February, thereby sending outLombardi and Geraci, both Maplewood residentswe are just sort of facilitators in their joy. a broad-based summons on social me- and moms, first connected after their daughters be- Geraci felt the same itch. Sports were always a dia to all the local athletes, moms, andcame friends at school. They quickly discovered theypart of my life, she said. When I was young it was women ages 35-plus who were looking to connecthad a lot in common. For starters, they both usedabout learning the values of teams. As I got into my over their love of lacrosse. As one enthusiastic re- to be athletes, and had even played the same sportsadult years, there was just something about it that sponse rolled in after another, it occurred to Lom- growing up: field hockey, basketball, and their fa- I really missed. Lombardi echoed this sentiment, bardi and Geraci that there was an entire commu- vorite, lacrosse, which they played in college. Whenpointing out the connection to mental health. Ive nity of women eager to recapture that competitivetheir own daughters took up lacrosse, they spent timealways noticed and believe there is a direct connec-spirit of their youth, and, with any luck, make sometogether, sitting on the sidelines cheering them on.tion between mental health and exercise, she said.new friends in the process. After the eager commentsBut along with those enthusiastic cheers was a kernelGeracis previous attempts to join a league had piled up, women interested in playing filled out aof frustration: They wanted to be out there too. been unsuccessful. I tried to revisit lacrosse when I survey to share their own lacrosse experience andWe were sitting in the bleachers, watching ourwas 30, when I still lived in Philadelphia, she said. 14/ matters magazine / summer 2022'