In 2010, University of Virginia women’s lacrosse player Yeardley Love was beaten to death by her ex-boyfriend. On Saturday afternoon, the Binghamton men’s and women’s lacrosse teams dedicated their doubleheader to the One Love Foundation, an organization founded to honor Love’s memory and raise awareness for domestic violence among students.
“The UVA women’s lacrosse team, unfortunately, lost a player and a teammate of theirs in Yeardley Love,” said BU women’s lacrosse head coach Stephanie Allen. “Her family, shortly after her brutal death, was on a mission to raise awareness on domestic violence and started the One Love Foundation. It’s something we’ve been a part of since the initial date of that foundation, but today we really wanted to dedicate this game and do it in a doubleheader fashion and make sure that our men’s and women’s teams were raising awareness.”
The One Love Foundation works to educate young people about the warning signs of domestic violence and prevent future tragedies from occurring. This movement has gained particular recognition in the lacrosse community, given Love’s participation on Virginia’s women’s lacrosse team.
“My daughter, Lexie, and I started the One Love Foundation to honor Yeardley’s memory,” said Sharon Love, Yeardley’s mother, per joinonelove.org. “We did not want the bookend on her life to be the horrible way it ended, and we were determined to help others avoid the devastating loss that we had endured. We thought about Mothers Against Drunk Driving and aspired to tackle prevention in much the same way: by educating young people and starting a conversation about an incredibly prevalent issue that too often goes undiscussed.”
Before game day, the players participated in The Escalation Workshop, an interactive film-based workshop designed to educate participants about the signs of relationship abuse. Both Allen and men’s lacrosse head coach Kevin McKeown wore One Love Foundation T-shirts during the doubleheader.
“We did an escalation workshop with both teams, and today they had on the socks and goalies had stickers on their helmets,” Allen said. “It’s not just about today, though, it’s about creating conversation, having open dialogue about what’s healthy in a relationship.”
In the days leading up to the doubleheader, the teams created a video featuring the coaches and players reflecting on the importance of having healthy relationships.
“A healthy relationship means, to me, someone that I feel like I can always turn to if I’m having a problem or a dilemma, that I know they would help listen, hear me out and help me think of solutions to that problem, or just be able to be there for support,” said women’s lacrosse junior midfielder Alissa Franze in the video.
The players also spoke on the relationships between teammates and the importance of positive support in the locker room.
“I feel like being a good teammate starts with trust,” said men’s lacrosse senior midfielder Tim Mattiace in the clip. “If you can trust your teammates on the field and off the field to know that they’re gonna have your back and they’re gonna take your best interest in mind when they’re talking to you or making a play on the field, those things are super important.”
For the Binghamton lacrosse staff, it is important to foster programs that support positive relationships and allow for the necessary dialogues to occur.
“Loving is hard, and I think it’s really important that we train our young women to stand up for themselves and to have the conversations with each other and to show them as often as we can what a healthy relationship does look like,” Allen said. “I think just making sure that we have an environment, both with the coaching staff to the student athlete, but also amongst our team members, that they feel like they can have those conversations with each other.”