MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) - Rainy days mean you have to stay inside for PE class, but earlier this week, Stratford middle schoolers made the most of it by learning all about a sport that's usually played outside: lacrosse.
"We are very fortunate to have Mercer University come and help us introduce this sport," says Stratford athletic director Grady Smith. "Coach Kyle Hannan from Mercer has helped us tremendously."
"As a lacrosse program at Mercer, we really want to get involved with the community and give back," Hannan says. "Coming here and working with these special young students and teaching them the special game of lacrosse is important to us."
It hasn't really caught on yet in the Deep South, but you'd never know it by talking to some of these kids.
"I want to play lacrosse, because there's not really a lot of other sports I like to play," says Hampton Tiller, a Stratford student. "Lacrosse is a blend of many sports, like hockey and basketball. It also gives you a great opportunity to spend time with your teammates--really get to know other people."
The sport isn't limited to boys.
The girls have their own version. Yes, there are more pads involved, but the concept is the same.
"It's really fun," says Anna Grace Grossnickle. "You have sticks and you just get to throw around the ball and kind of do whatever you want."
"I love lacrosse," says Sara Kate Durkee. "It's such a fun and fast sport."
"It seems like a fun game," says Lucy Boswell. "I like using the sticks."
For a sport like this, Mercer's players says it's best to start them when they're young.
"And slowly move forward as they get better and better," says Wilton McKown. "It's always good to see them grow and to watch them grow and to help them grow."
Stratford will actually field its own program as soon as this spring. The plan is to start with a JV team and have a varsity team the next year.
As for Mercer, the Bears hit the field for the 2014 season on February 8 at home against Boston.