Jamey Kittelberger was raised a little differently than most folks around here.
Being from the East Coast is part of it, but what defined him even more were the lacrosse sticks in his car. Those sticks, and that sport, had been a part of his life since seventh grade, something few people in Colorado — especially these mountains — can relate to.
So imagine the star-crossed moment when Kittelberger discovered the family living next door to his in-laws was a few years removed from Massachusetts and suffering the same kind of withdrawal. And this family was doing something about it.
This is how Kittelberger and Bob Wescott met. And this is how the Clear Creek Lacrosse Club has continued to grow, thanks to the dedication and vision of two guys that want their kids and your kids to have a chance play the sport.
“I just kind of dove in,” Kittelberger said.
And now the Clear Creek club has recently added a middle school team for sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders — from Idaho Springs to the I-70 corridor and Evergreen — to play.
It’s a program that is cheaper than most, they say, and has between 15 to 18 players apiece in its high school and middle school teams.
Wescott got the ball moving, so to speak, when he moved out here three years ago with his wife (who helped get girls soccer going at Clear Creek High School), two sons and daughter. Wescott saw an obvious need when it came to lacrosse and he has devoted much of his time, money and any equipment he has laying around to give kids a chance to play.
Since Clear Creek is a club team, there is more flexibility. Players can be from anywhere in the area, and there aren’t academic requirements or restrictions on practice time. Maybe one day, funding provided, the Diggers will feed a high school team, but Kittelberger really likes where the team is currently positioned, albeit as a young, growing club.
“Right now, not being a part of (the Colorado High School Activities Association) is kind of in our advantage because we don’t have so many players,” he said. “If we had so many player, I don’t know if we could compete with those other schools because we’re not there yet.”
The Clear Creek teams practice three days a week, often indoors at the bubble in Evergreen. The are currently practicing, although their first tournament isn’t until April.
The Diggers have a growing and positive relationship with the players and coaches out of Evergreen and Conifer, even using some of their players at Evergreen’s annual Mountain Jam tournament.