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Bronx lacrosse team’s new equipment from SidelineSwap is a morale booster

Cardinal Hayes High School gets help from company backed by hoops legend David Robinson

The lacrosse team at Timothy Heckman’s Bronx, New York, high school is no longer short of equipment.

SidelineSwap, an online sports gear marketplace, recently donated 29 new custom-dyed lacrosse sticks to Cardinal Hayes High School, where Heckman is an earth science teacher and head lacrosse coach.

“They reached out to myself and my assistant coach, primarily, and were just in communication about how they have a program where they identify schools that are maybe underfunded or may have a diverse student population that don’t have access to equipment,” Heckman said.

The mission of SidelineSwap, which was founded in 2012 by former college athletes, is to make sports more affordable. Former NBA player David Robinson’s company Admiral Capital is one of SidelineSwap’s investors. The company raised more than $8.9 million in a Series A financing round.

“We interact with a lot of people who are looking for good deals on sports equipment,” said SidelineSwap CEO Brendan Candon. “In the case of Cardinal Hayes, we talked to the coaches and we saw that there was an opportunity where we could probably step up and help a growing program with their equipment needs and hopefully have a big impact with the kids.”

The donation means a lot for Cardinal Hayes, Heckman said.

“We would split the tryouts up because we just didn’t have enough equipment to go around for 60, 70, 80-plus kids that were trying out at the same time,” he said. “This equipment helps put a dent in that. It helps us with our numbers and not having to make kids borrow and share on specific days.”

The donation also allows students to have their own equipment during the season.

“Lacrosse can be a very expensive sport,” Heckman said. “The upkeep, the lacrosse sticks and the mesh and all that can be very expensive. Donations like what SidelineSwap gave us, and any of the equipment that we have in our equipment lockers, that’s used season-round and even offseason when kids want to get some extra reps in.”

Candon said his business is designed to help make sports more affordable. “The average family who shops on SidelineSwap saves 40 percent off the retail price, and so we get to see that impact every day,” he said. “But we know that even 40 percent-plus off isn’t enough in some cases, and so when we get an opportunity to identify a program where we can step in and be especially helpful, it means a lot to us.”

The equipment has the school’s colors and flag, which is a morale booster for the students.

“It would attract a whole bunch of positive attention for the program and also for the kids. They go, ‘Sideline Swap is actually donating equipment for us. That’s so cool,’ ” Heckman said.

Cardinal Hayes has one of the few lacrosse programs in the Bronx, and Heckman says the sport’s potential is largely untapped in the area.

“I feel like lacrosse in the Bronx in general or urban communities as a whole, it’s not really viewed as a popular sport. It’s almost an outlier sport,” he said. “It’s got offensive and defensive components of basketball. It’s got a little bit of contact like football has. You have your teamwork like soccer with passing and scoring, shooting. You have moving like ice hockey and substitutions like ice hockey.

“We are entering our 10th year as a program at this school. We are slowly but surely nudging our way to the forefront. It’s a big morale booster for the kids to be recognized.”

Kelley Evans is a digital producer at Andscape. She is a food passionista, helicopter mom and an unapologetic Southerner who spends every night with the cast of The Young and the Restless by way of her couch.