People go to extreme lengths for the love of their favorite sport. They will practice their favorite sport from sunrise to sunset, or learn every move and master their sport, but some of the truly passionate ones will travel all over just to get their fix.
Lauren Kombol, 14, from Bellingham, travels to Seattle and even all over British Columbia for her favorite sport - lacrosse. Kombol discovered lacrosse when she and her dad, Aaron Kombol, happened to catch a game on TV.
"I was fascinated by it," she said in a phone interview.
Lauren, her dad, and her mom, Rita Kombol, decided to look more into this seemingly foreign sport. They found out through one of Lauren's friends that there was a small group who played in Bellingham.
"It was just a few girls, less than ten, and a great coach who had played on the east coast," said Rita Kombol, a school counselor in the Lakewood School district, in a phone interview. "Now, whenever she walks somewhere with her lacrosse stick, people ask her what it's for."
Last year, Lauren Kombol, who is now an eighth grader at Horizon Middle School, played for three different teams, including the Coquitlam Adanacs. The Adanacs play other teams in British Columbia, and ended up going undefeated and winning the British Columbia Provincial Championship.
"In one of the tournaments she got the MVP for her team," Rita Kombol recalled. "And being the only American on the team made it so unexpected. It was neat to see the shock on her face and everyone cheering her on."
This season, Lauren Kombol plays for the Canadian Revolution, another Coquitlam team, and the Seattle Superstix, a select travel team. From Nov. 2-3, the Superstix will travel to Baltimore, Md. for the Fall Uprising Tournament.
Lauren Kombol usually plays "middy," a midfield position. She said she enjoys the long trips to games with her family, and Rita Kombol said it has been good family time for them all.
"When you're on the way to a game, you're all focused on it," Lauren Kombol said. "On the way back my dad asks me three things I did well and three things I can improve."
In the spring lacrosse continues on. Lauren Kombol plays an indoor version of lacrosse, called box lacrosse, in the spring season. Box lacrosse is played in a hockey rink without the ice, and the players wear a heavy amount of padding. The indoor version is a much more physical game, Rita Kombol said.
"In field lacrosse you can read the person better, because with all the gear on (in box lacrosse) it's really hard to read someone," Lauren Kombol said.
Though the players are well-protected in box lacrosse, field lacrosse is fairly dangerous for girls. Boys who play lacrosse wear full helmets with facial cages, but girls only are required to wear a cage-like eye protector, leaving them more susceptible to concussions and head injuries.
"It's just something I have to put out of my head," Rita Kombol said. "But in Lauren's five years of playing, she has never been hit in the head."
Despite how tough the girls get when they go out on the field or in the indoor rink, they always come off the field ready to be "girly-girls" again, Rita Kombol noted.
"It isn't growing as fast as boys' lacrosse (in the area), but I think if people gave it a chance (they'd see) it's a fun sport," she said.
Reach Alex Peterson at 360-715-2285 or at firstname.lastname@example.org