The traffic snarl leading into Lewes Saturday, June 28, was epic bordering on legendary, but a community with a long summer tradition of hosting multiple big events just absorbed the punches like Ali versus Forman up against the ropes in Zaire in 1974.
The Sea Glass Festival at the Lewes Historical Society, classic car show, farmers market and a lacrosse tournament using 10 fields between Cape and Lewes that featured 106 teams over three days playing close to 450 games all on a common horn and same time schedule. The economic impact on the local community when compared to other established major summer tournaments was projected to be between 6 and 8 million dollars.
"The weather was absolutely perfect, and teams from across the East Coast into the Midwest all want to sign up for next year before they leave town," said Sue Murphy, who along with her coach friend of 40 years, Courtney Vaughn, runs the tournament.
"Club teams are enjoying how the tournament is run, and it was not intended to be a recruiting tournament, but that's what is happening," Murphy said. "College coaches know they can come here and see so many great players in one tournament."
The local Eastern Shore Lacrosse Club with players from Cape, Stephen Decatur, Dover, Sts. Peter and Paul, Caesar Rodney, Polytech, Worcester, Parkside, North Caroline, Sussex Tech, Easton, Salisbury Christian and other summer kids filled up the rosters of five age-group teams from the graduating class of 2019-20 up through next year's class of 2015.
"Our teams did very well," said P.J. Kesmodel. "Most were 3-1 over 4 games, but none made the championship game. Kids learn a lot, and so do the coaches."
The Cape lacrosse boosters ran the field house concession stand and made about $5,000 on cold drinks, Primo Subs and Grotto Pizza. "We kept running out of food because it's hard to estimate," said booster Lori Voss.
"I don't think there's a better location than Cape, a high school with two synthetic, lighted fields, two beautiful bermuda fields, and the people are just so welcoming. We want to make sure we enhanced the community when were here, so we hire state police and extra staff; we want a relationship, a partnership," said Murphy.
Murphy contracted the Champions Cup and Capitol Tournament in Richmond for 250 teams and $13 million. So divide that in half. "The city of Richmond wants the tournaments to stay there, but other cities are trying to get it," Murphy said. "Club managers are asked to rank their own teams for proper placement in the tournament. I only saw a few eyeball scores; we want everyone to get competitive play."
The summer club season runs another three weeks before shutdown for summer, and get ready for fall sports.