The bond that athletes in the same sport feel for each other is often one that transcends all ages and ability levels.
When tragedy strikes their community, the ripple effects are felt throughout.
Such was the case in May of 2010, when the world of women’s lacrosse was rocked by the untimely death of University of Virginia player Yeardley Love.
Love was beaten to death by her ex-boyfriend, and the event not only shocked the lacrosse world, but made headlines nationally as well.
To honor Love’s memory, the One Love Foundation was founded in September of 2010. The organization’s name is a nod to not only Love’s name, but also her uniform number at the University of Virginia, which has since been retired.
One Love works with young people all over the country, educating and raising awareness about relationship violence and its warning signs. They want to do for relationship violence what Mothers Against Drunk Driving has done to publicize the dangers of intoxicated driving.
“(As a women’s lacrosse player) I am personally so proud and honored to be able to be a part of this organization,” said freshman Brooke Davis, a Kennard-Dale graduate and a defender on the Millersville University women’s lacrosse team. “It is a huge issue with so many students all around the nation and it is great to be able to raise awareness.”
Among One Love’s primary efforts is the awareness campaign Yards for Yeardley. It’s one that a number of collegiate women’s lacrosse teams are participating in, including the Millersville team, which boasts a number of former York-Adams League players.
Aside from Davis, that list includes Taylor Davis (Kennard-Dale), Carly Godstrey (Dallastown), Callie Kavanaugh (South Western) and Brianna Logana (Kennard-Dale).
During their preseason conditioning, the Marauders have pledged to run one million yards, starting Jan. 26 with an anticipated finishing date of Feb. 24. Quick conversion, that’s 568.18 miles.
Coach Mia Hall tracks most of the yardage, accomplished during team conditioning exercises.
There’s also an additional friendly, competitive element according to Davis.
“To keep track of the running we do on our own, we send the distance we ran into a group message we have set up,” Brooke Davis said. “The team is also having a competition to see who can run the most yards on their own.”
Millersville is in its first year of participation. Other nearby institutions involved with One Love include York College, Elizabethtown, Messiah and Franklin & Marshall.
“We got started with this program because of a domestic violence case that happened last year on campus,” Davis said. “And it was a good way to raise awareness to the issue of domestic violence.”
One Love also accepts donations, which helps with endeavors such as escalation workshops. Those workshops illuminate the warning signs of violent relationships and engages participants in honest, empowering conversations about how communities can, and should, respond when it’s observed.
The group's website, joinonelove.org, also states that 94 percent of adults will never perpetrate violence, yet 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men will experience relationship violence in their lifetime. It also says young adults, ages 16-24, are at the greatest risk.
To date, the organization has conducted more than 600 workshops on campuses nation wide. And the website also provides links to resources and has information such as the 10 signs of unhealthy relationships.
As of Feb 10, the team was closing in on its goal with 838,020 yards logged.
While there’s no direct or real-time way to track the Marauders’ progress, the One Love site includes a national tracker which aggregates reports from coaches around the country. The hashtag #Yards4Yeardley is being used nationally on Twitter when teams are posting about their own distances covered.
Reach Elijah Armold at firstname.lastname@example.org.