I used to live exactly five minutes away from O.J. Simpson’s house in California, after he “allegedly” committed the murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and a restaurant waiter, Ron Goldman. Truthfully, I wasn’t even alive at the time of the murders, but how many people get to say that?
I was actually born in Old Bridge, New Jersey, very close to where my parents grew up. We stayed around there for a very short time, and shipped out West when I was about two. I tell people I grew up in California, because that’s really all I remember of my childhood.
During our time in the Golden State, I was always very involved with sports. A lot of my friends and I would play on the same soccer teams, so we would always be together. I even was an avid dirt biker at the ripe age of 5, much to my mother’s dismay.
Things would drastically change when we moved back to New Jersey just a few years later. People ask me all the time why we ever moved back, but as a seven-year-old, my vetoes didn’t carry much weight.
After living with my grandparents for a few months, we landed in Allentown, New Jersey (yes there is an Allentown in New Jersey). It has been my home for the last 13 years, and I will defend its existence long after I’m out of there. I’ve never been to the one in Pennsylvania it is commonly confused with, but I’m certain that the two are polar opposites.
I was in love with the sports I played in California, but the culture differences between the two coasts would change my experiences forever.
It was only 2003 at the time, so lacrosse was incredibly small and almost exclusive to a small bubble of East Coast states. I was lucky enough to hear about for the first time very early on and was hooked. Lacrosse wouldn’t move out West for years to come, so I’m not sure if I would’ve been exposed to the sport until very late if we didn’t make the move.
People heavily involved with lacrosse hear the same phrase repeatedly; grow the game. Some see it as a subtle thing they can do, and others see it as a mission. The truth is, lacrosse still isn’t very popular out West, but huge strides have been made in recent years.
Everyone close to the sport of lacrosse would love to see it become more mainstream. As someone who still plays, I see it as a mission to pay respect back to the sport and see it succeed on an even larger scale. Even more so, being someone who lived out West where I didn’t know about the sport, I see myself it the position of people who are uneducated about lacrosse.
I wonder what my childhood would have been like If I was able to shoot a lacrosse ball just minutes from O.J. Simpson’s house. In the future, as weird and specific as it may sound, I don’t want other kids to have to wonder that.