IRVING, Texas – Joshua McClendon (Redondo Beach, Calif.) carries a passion for men's lacrosse that extends beyond the reach of just playing collegiately for the University of Dallas. McClendon looks to letter a third season and has been part of the program the past four years.
McClendon coached youth lacrosse in San Diego before moving to Irving. The first couple years living in the metroplex, McClendon and teammate Tyler Smith (Snoqualmie, Wash.) coached in Plano and Frisco. While McClendon enjoyed coaching, the commute was still noticeable, and he discovered he resided five minutes from the YMCA late in 2018.
"In March, I was surprised and overjoyed to see ten kids arrive at the YMCA at 9 a.m. on a Sunday morning for the first instructional lacrosse clinic," McClendon reflected. "We spent an hour and a half going over the basics of the game of lacrosse."
McClendon added, "It was amazing to see the kids learn the game so quickly, and to witness their excitement grow as the lesson continued."
McClendon was able to have lacrosse sticks and ball given to each player for them to keep that day. McClendon had received overwhelming donations from lacrosse coaches and players he had met through Instagram.
On April 7, 2019, the same day as "Senior Day" for the Crusaders; McClendon led the second instructional clinic of the series. He mentioned, "Neary all the kids returned and we had two new players as well, whose friends told them to come try lacrosse." McClendon had some help from his teammate Ben Blessard (Falls Church, Va.) who helped coach the kids that morning.
McClendon has been speaking with the Sports Director at the Irving Family YMCA about long-term plans for the future of Irving lacrosse.
"I hope to develop and maintain an indoor 5v5 youth lacrosse league," McClendon stated. "Eventually, I plan to grow the sport beyond this YMCA and within the next few years organize small, indoor lacrosse games between YMCA locations – similar to YMCA basketball, baseball, and flag football leagues."
The proposed sport is a modified variation of the game. It would be non-contact to start and games would go fast-paced with the use of tennis balls and small lacrosse goals. The idea is to minimize the cost of the sport with having to purchase lacrosse sticks, pads, helmets, etc. It would also reduce the risk of injury and try to make the game more accessible.
McClendon did not get exposed to lacrosse until 2008 when his high school, Redondo Union, started a lacrosse program.
"I hope to provide that same enjoyment for the kids here with the Y."
McClendon concludes, "The point of it all is to grow lacrosse from the ground up, and to make lacrosse part of the culture here in Irving. I plan to invite as many of my current teammates as possible so that the kids can also spend time around college student-athletes, which might hopefully encourage more of the kids to aspire to attend college. Now at the end of my lacrosse career it is more important to me than ever before to provide opportunities for the next generation of lacrosse players."
McClendon played 47 matches, scored 14 goals, dished 11 assists, accumulated 25 points, 53 ground balls, and 13 caused turnovers for his career with the Crusaders.