As an athlete myself, I understand that, sometimes, there are players who essentially risk it all for the game and the position. During practice, we are often reminded about the importance of acknowledging that, in lacrosse, our goalies risk their entire bodies to defend the goal. They may throw themselves on the ground, they may get on their knees, or risk some essential part. Kimaari Mondy is a Junior at Townview Magnet Center who has been playing for Bridge Lacrosse for six years now. From watching her play, I can one-hundred percent agree that she is one of the most hard-working athletes on the field. During games, you can see the drive she has in her eyes, and how important defending the cage is to her.
Mondy has not only played goalie but has also played on the field. Her first year with Bridge she was an attacker who moved the ball well but after that season their team no longer had a goalie so she decided to step up and try the position out. We can all agree that it went very well for her; a destiny meant to be. VYPE-U got to speak with Kimaari about her career with Bridge and the transition from attack to goalie.
When asked, "How has playing for Bridge Lacrosse impacted your life?" Mondy said, "I can say that playing lacrosse has helped me with stepping outside of my comfort zone. Most of the day I'm kind of to myself and quiet, but once I hit the field with my team, I feel like I can be whoever. There's no judgment with Bridge; anybody who comes is truly welcomed with open arms." I find this extremely true, because whenever there's a new player, whether they come at the beginning or middle of the season, we make sure we introduce ourselves and take the time to work on the basics so they can get a grasp of those skills. Kimaari herself was very welcoming when I first joined the team, and now I'd like to say we're good friends; she's one of the funniest people I know. For Mondy, Bridge is like a second family to her. She appreciates the dedication Bridge has for things other than lacrosse. For example, they provide SAT/ACT prep books and prep classes, internships, travel opportunities, and Coach David is essentially a college advisor.
Bridge Lacrosse | Kimaari Mondy 2022 - Spring 2020 Highlights - Uncommitted youtu.be
I asked Kimaari a bit more about her reasons for success, and the way she worked towards this level of play. Mondy said, "I'm sure many people have said this before, but I truly think it takes grit and a certain level of self-trust that is needed in order to be successful. And to be frank, I don't think I did a specific thing for me to build up these skills, I just let time do its thing. I'm a true believer in change over time so I think through time and experience I was able to pick up these skills." I definitely think this is a very unique way to approach success because we always hear from others that it takes "very hard work" or "working every hour of the day" but Mondy simply believes in being a very patient athlete.
As a follow-up question, I asked Kimaari about the coaches that have changed her athletic career, and she gives credit to "the great Coach David" for her success. Mondy learned from Coach David that being a good lacrosse player isn't always about your skill level, but rather your mental abilities, building relationships, leadership, and what you can do off the field rather than on it. Although Mondy has incredible strengths such as her courage, nobody is perfect. Being able to understand your weaknesses is an important asset to being an athlete, and Mondy knows that she still has some work to do with her confidence. Which is one-hundred percent okay, because life is a work in progress.
As far as her career after high school, Kimaari is still deciding if she'd be best off playing lacrosse in college or not, but regardless of what that decision comes down to she knows she wants to simply be the best version of herself; enjoy life and accomplish her goals.
"If I make the decision to play, I simply want to break records and be a major inspiration to others. If I don't continue my lacrosse career, I want to be successful in college so that I'm able to pursue my dream career." -Kimaari Mondy
VYPE-U talks with Ke'Von Day on his experience throughout his 8 years of playing lacrosse for Bridge Lacrosse in Dallas, TX.
Often, underprivileged and underserved communities lack the access to equality. Whether that be in sports or with essential resources, we see a disparity. Bridge Lacrosse is a nonprofit organization that strives to broaden the horizons of the youth in their community through lacrosse. Ke'Von Day, a senior at the Winston School in North Dallas, has had many life changing experiences as a black-student athlete, in the past eight years, playing on the Varsity Bridge Lacrosse team.
When he first started playing lacrosse he had no idea what the positions were. All he knew was that he wanted to score goals. Which, after eight years, has not happened in a regular season game. So, starting off he played some attack for about one practice, but then his team was in need of a goalie. So, when no one else would step up to walk into the cage Ke'Von finally decided to give it a try and, undeniably, it worked out well. Apart from Bridge, he plays for Stick Star and Nation United TX Lacrosse. Day has had quite a high school career. He has been named the 2019 THSLL Division 2 All-District Goalie, he is a member of the Bridge Leadership Board and is an Eagle Ambassador at the Winston School. He also comes in with a 60% save percentage.
VYPE-U takes a deep dive into how lacrosse has opened up many doors for him and the people who have taken part in his undeniable success.
Prior to writing this article, I got the opportunity to speak with Ke'Von and asked him a series of questions in which he was brutally honest. When asked: "How has being a black student-athlete impacted or affected your athletic life in any way shape or form?" He was very open and descriptive about his experience, and said:
"Being a black student athlete in the sport of lacrosse has had some challenges but many rewards. I have had my encounter with people that do not look like me and they definitely let me know how they feel. However, overall being black in the lacrosse community has affected my life more ways than imaginable. For example, I have become very confident in myself when I am the only person of color in the room. I do not have to change who I am to make others feel comfortable around me. Instead I work to make sure the comfort level is even both ways."
Ke'Von's response, evidently, is a mature and intelligent response. Not many people can be patient enough to not be quick to react when there's a microaggression that occurs on the field or even outside the field.
Day's career all started with one coach: David Higbee. Coach Higbee has been an incredibly huge part of his life, both outside and inside of lacrosse. For Ke'Von, Coach Higbee has always been supportive through good times and bad. On the lacrosse field, he was the first coach to greet Day, and take him through the rules of the game. However, off the lacrosse field his impact is untouchable. He is always there to help Ke'Von make a tough life decision with advice and open arms. The amount of connections that he has made because of Coach Higbee is unparalleled. Like Ke'Von said, "I believe the most important thing someone can do is tell the truth. Coach David will always be honest and informational whenever I talk with him, which I appreciate a lot."
We also got speak to Coach David Higbee about Ke'Von, and he said:
"He's incredibly passionate. He will try to get his team to win. He's the kind of player that leaves it all on the field for a win and for his teammates. He literally sacrifices his body for them. Overall, he is an all around competitor and a skilled goalie."
Here are a few clips to show how much of a skilled lacrosse player Day is:
Ke'Von has big dreams and aspirations for his future life. He hopes to attend Duke University to double major in sports management and another form of business. He does hope to expand his lacrosse experience at Duke, playing Division 1 lacrosse as a walk on. In the future, he wishes to own his own real estate company that sells ranches or to become a general manager of a sports franchise.
Want to know more? Follow him on social media: