Project 813 Lacrosse, an organization that offers clinics to older potential players who don’t have a high school team and want to try out the sport, was founded and started by Nancy Ping and her son, Zach Gambill, three months ago. Gambill, who attends the Brandon Academy, doesn’t have a high school team to play on, as is the case for several students in the area, because lacrosse is not a fully funded county sport.
“I enjoy helping spread the game to other people because the sport is such a great thing to experience,” said Gambill. “It’s unlike any other sport that people have played before. You don’t really get the opportunity to learn the game this late, so if you want to try something new, then come out.”
The first two clinics that the program offered were on April 30 and May 28 and were a big success, according to Ping. The next clinic is scheduled for Sunday, June 25 at the Brandon Academy, located at 801 Limona Rd. in Brandon, for male athletes from grades 8-11. Those interested must register on the program’s website (https://project813lax.com/) and have their USA Lacrosse number.
Former University of Tampa (UT) captain Bryan Wright has been the main coach at these clinics. His resume speaks for itself with many major accomplishments. During his freshman year, he was an All-SSC Freshman Team selection; in his sophomore year, he was an SSC All-Championship Team selection and First Team All-Sunshine State Conference selection; in his junior year, he was again a First Team All-Sunshine State Conference selection and a three-time SSC Offensive Player of the Week; and in his senior year, he was a team captain, the team’s leading scorer and, during his master’s program, he was a Preseason All-American, team captain, D2 ADA Academic Achievement Award winner, SSC Commissioner’s Honor Roll winner and the third all-time points leader in UT’s history.
“Being an athlete has taught me a multitude of lessons throughout my life not only on the field but off it as well,” said Wright. “It’s incredible how much you learn about yourself, your sport and the world through your athletic journey. I’ve played lacrosse for about 14 years and I can definitely say I wouldn’t be the person I am today without that part of my identity. The things I’ve learned as an athlete apply to all areas of life and can be appreciated by athletes and nonathletes, such as self-discipline, time management, leadership and accountability.”
Wright hopes to help grow the game of lacrosse in Florida and share his experience and knowledge of the game with the young athletes. He wants the sport to eventually be as big as it is up north, where he is originally from. The club doesn’t play against other teams but plans to do so in the future.
“Coaching is one of the most rewarding occupations,” said Wright. “When you are able to say that you positively impacted your student-athletes’ lives, it is all worth it when you see the kids develop and grow into young men. I hope to not only teach them lacrosse but valuable life lessons.”