By Jerry Del Priore
Sam Cardella, a freshman at West Morris Mendham High School, is passionate about her favorite sport — lacrosse.
Cardella wanted to do something monumental for the game that she said has helped shape the core of her existence. She said that the Federation of International (FIL) Lacrosse advised her on starting an equipment drive, as the sport isn’t an inexpensive one.
“The FIL said it would be beneficial to start an equipment drive to help grow the game internationally,” Cardella recollected.
Therefore, the 15-year-old high school lacrosse player founded and created Gear the Globe, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit lacrosse organization whose mission is to collect used gear through a traveling shipping container at various lacrosse tournaments in the Northeast for players around the world who otherwise might not get to experience the sport due to its associated costs.
However, Cardella refused to take full credit for the good Gear the Globe accomplishes, as her dad owns a trucking company, enabling the organization to transport the container to different tournaments.
Additionally, she noted that GTG gets assistance from other people and organizations, such as Pan-American Lacrosse Association, Peru Lacrosse Association, and Charlie Shoulberg, who runs STEPS Lacrosse, a lacrosse player development program.
The container’s first event appearance occurred at the STEPS Lacrosse Spring Fling Tournament on April 14th at the Capelli Sports Complex in Tinton Falls.
The container’s final destination will be at the FIL Women’s World Championship Qualifier game for the Pan-American region on November 14th, at the Lake Myrtle Sports Complex in Auburndale, Florida.
Cardella said that eight countries will be the benefactors of the donated equipment, including Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the Haudenosaunee nation — a historically powerful northeast Native American confederacy.
While most high school student-athletes are doing their best to get through the typical trying adolescent years, Cardella has taken on an adult-sized responsibility while living a busy life of sports, school and family.
The question is, why is she working so hard for the worthy cause?
“I’m passionate about the sport,” said Cardella, who plays the game for both Mendham High School and the STEPS 2022 White team. “I wanted to be involved in the sport internationally. I want other people to enjoy the sport as much as I do. I want to put a stick in every player’s hand.”
Cardella’s tireless commitment and diligent work to the altruistic project hasn’t gone unnoticed by the adults in her life, however.
“Gear the Globe is an amazing initiative by Sam Cardella,” Shoulberg said. “Her passion for this project is contagious and I am extremely proud of her efforts. For a ninth grader to come up with the concept and bring it to life is truly inspirational. STEPS Lacrosse fully supports her efforts and looks forward to seeing all her hard work help grow the great game of lacrosse globally.”
By placing a lacrosse stick in the hands of everyone worldwide who desires to play the fastest game on two feet, Cardella and Gear the Globe hope its selfless work ultimately leads to participation in the world’s biggest athletic event.
“I actually want to see the sport become an Olympic sport,” she said, with the aim of inclusion in the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles. “I want to help grow it so it can eventually get into the Olympic games,” adding that every spectator will be enthralled by the game’s high-octane action.
For more information on Gear the Globe, log onto www.geartheglobe.com.