Shining moments: Not on Sunday

In 2009 Eric and Cheri Koford enrolled their two children in a lacrosse camp offered through their local parks and recreation department. The two teens, daughter Kennedy and son Harrison, discovered they enjoyed the sport, in spite of the extreme heat and humidity found in Kansas City, Mo.

The Kofords, members of the Lee's Summit 2nd Ward, Kansas City Missouri Stake, contacted the local league to find a lacrosse team for their children. They learned that all of the games were played on Sunday, a day the Kofords knew was not in keeping with their Church beliefs. A second challenge was the location for the team practices; the distance would be a challenge for the family.

After pondering their options, Brother and Sister Koford chose to organize their own team in Lee's Summit and not practice or play on Sundays.

With the support of the local parks and recreation department, a team was organized and 19 players signed up, many of them unfamiliar with the lacrosse sport.

Brother Koford said they practiced and played their first season — without a single victory, "but we found that other teams in the league were very willing to play us on Saturdays or during the week."

At the beginning of their second season, 50 youth signed up following a four-day lacrosse camp. During their fall practice sessions they had an average of 60 participants at each event. They were also able to help organize teams at three local high schools for both boys and girls. Brother Koford was asked to coach the team at Lee's Summit West High School.

Lacrosse in Lee's Summit, for lack of a better analogy, exploded and soon grew to more than 200 youth participants.

Among the program's successes was the local precedent of not playing on Sundays. Other teams in the area expressed their support of having Sundays free of games.

Today, there are more than 500 youth lacrosse players in Lee's Summit (30 of them are Church members). In addition, more than 30 adults have volunteered to coach and another 30 are involved in support roles for the teams — all volunteers.

Brother Koford's team made the playoffs in 2012 and he was named coach of the year, voted for by other coaches in their league.

When he is asked the secret of his success, he simply responds: "I tell them not to play on Sundays." He adds, "When you align yourself with the Lord, that puts a lot of punch in your corner."

— Jerry Wellman

Sorry, no more articles available