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‘It’s an emotional nosedive’ Tampa Bay area lacrosse team loses equipment in fire

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HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA)- The Bay Area Sand Sharks were flying high after hosting a lacrosse tournament in Tampa this past weekend but unfortunately, when they returned to their Northlakes Park equipment shed on Sunday, their spirits were immediately reduced to ashes.

“It’s an emotional nosedive. You can’t express it,” said Joe Kuebrich, president of Northwest Tampa Lacrosse and the Bay Area Sand Sharks. “All the tangible things that resembled the memories we have are in ashes right now.”

The lacrosse team believes their equipment shed caught fire late Saturday night, causing them to lose everything from nets, balls, uniforms, and 15 year’s worth of team memorabilia.

“Losing that history, losing 15 years worth of pictures and kind of where our programs started, is going to be tough but the future is still possible,” said Jodo Donnian, director of Summer Lacrosse for the Bay Area Sand Sharks.

The team tells WFLA.com, they have enough resources to finish the last two weeks of their summer season but replacing what they lost will be an ongoing and difficult process.

“Just to see everything destroyed, like that is definitely a punch in the gut,” said Donnian. “We put a lot of effort into this lacrosse program for the kids and especially this year, with a lot of spring lacrosse being canceled. We had the opportunity to provide the kids what was taken away from them due to the ongoing pandemic. So, to see all the effort we put in and all the hoops we’ve jumped through to make sure we can have a season this year..then to kind of arrive to losing everything, it’s really tough for us.”

Currently, Hillsborough County Fire Rescue is investigating the cause of the fire.

In the meantime, the Bay Area Sand Sharks tell WFLA.com, they’re approaching their latest obstacle with the same attitude they would any game.

“There is perseverance in the face of adversity. That’s what’s going to allow you to come out on top, whether it’s in competition or, you know, in everyday life,” said Kuebrich. “Right now, everyday life is staring us right in the face. And that’s exactly what we’re trying to do, persevere, overcome and continue to build.”

The Bay Area Sand Sharks have set up a GoFundMe page to help replace their shed and equipment. To donate, click here

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