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Team USA Ignites Lacrosse Spark in Youngsters' Eyes

There's no question the event is bringing the sport huge exposure in the country, and they may have gained a few more players last night.

The United States has yet to play a game in the 2018 Federation of International Lacrosse Men's World Championship, but I think I've already seen the moment I'll remember forever from these world games.

Last night, the U.S. team returned from practice to the hotel around 11 p.m., just as the Croatia-England World Cup soccer game was winding down. A number of the U.S. players put their bags down to watch the ending on the various TV's in the restaurant just off the hotel lobby.

As Marcus Holman put down his bag, a young boy, Sal, speaking broken English started pointing at one of the sticks in Marcus' equipment bag. It started simply, Marcus saying the word lacrosse. And then Marcus handed one of his sticks to the boy to let him hold it.

Sal's eyes lit up as he grabbed the stick. He started pointing at the head and Marcus quickly went back to his bag and pulled out a soft pink ball. And just like that, they started having a catch in the lobby. Marcus, with his own eyes lit up, started teaching the boy how to scoop a ground ball and throw the ball.

Soon, another boy, Michael, joined in and then as the soccer game ended, people started pouring out into the lobby. Kyle Hartzell joined in the catch, and then Paul Rabil.

I talked to a woman from Australia, a man from France and a woman from South Africa. All three were watching lacrosse for the first time in their lives. The woman from Australia turned to a friend and said, "Isn't this the cutest thing you've ever seen."

Our videographer, Mikey Wallin, captured some footage of the moment which you watch on our latest Vlog with Team USA.

On Tuesday the U.S. team toured the Old City of Jerusalem, but had a pit stop on the way back to the hotel for some bus maintenance. The players killed time at an outdor shopping mall and had their equipment piled up next to a storefront. Groups of people walked by staring at the equipment, but continued to walk.

On Wednesday night a little boy with childlike innocence did more than stare.

One of the goals for Israel in bringing the world championship to this country was to help the sport grow. There's no question the event is bringing the sport huge exposure in the country, and they may have gained a few more players last night. Our U.S. men's team general manager Jimmy Butler shared the Israel Lacrosse website address with one of the boys' mother.

And the U.S. team may have gained some more fans.

The woman from South Africa turned to me and said, "Well, I'm leaving tomorrow, but I'll be looking to see how you guys did. Good luck."

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