Four years ago, Rick and Jennifer Baker’s then seven-year-old son, Trip, was diagnosed with leukemia. Having just moved to Wyoming from Southern California, the Bakers were without a big network of family and friends as treatments started for Trip. 

While his parents were focusing on Trip’s health, Trip was focusing on lacrosse. He made his dad promise that he’d start a lacrosse team for Trip to play on after undergoing a stem-cell transplant and being cleared for sports again. 

“I went to those I had been coaching in hockey and who had become strong family friends, and asked them to believe in me as they did in my son’s recovery, and join me in creating a lacrosse club,” said Rick.

And they did. Wyoming is a big state with few people, so a lot of travel is necessary. This, coupled with the expense of equipment, put many of these families in a tough spot. With the help of the US Lacrosse First Stick Program in 2017, Rick was able to outfit 20 players - some of whom had been using old, pre-owned equipment from eBay and thrift stores from visits to Utah – and see the Lopes Lacrosse grow from 12 players to 29 in its second season.

“Thank you for allowing me to pass my passion along to what I believe will be countless youth in my corner of Wyoming, and the exponential growth of the sport nationwide,” said Rick. 

We believe, too.

First Stick Program

The US Lacrosse First Stick Program helps provide comprehensive resources, from equipment to coach development, to help new lacrosse programs build off a strong foundation.

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