New lacrosse wall honors memory of local sports pioneer

Lacrosse Wall

Members of the O’Fallon Styx pose next to the new lacrosse wall. (Photo by Tim Grout)

O’FALLON – The O’Fallon Parks and Recreation department unveiled a new lacrosse wall at Public Safety Park on June 7, making O’Fallon the first town in the area with such a facility. The wall itself surrounds a storage shed that will house the equipment for the Styx Lacrosse Club, and is a 20 foot by 15 foot slab of six inch concrete angled at a six degree slope, which is standard for the lacrosse walls of the East Coast.

“We got the plans from a club out in Maryland,” Dave Boots said, explaining where the idea came from. “It was kind of a race with another club over in Missouri to see who would get it first, and we won. The slope of the wall is important because it is optimal for getting the ball to bounce back to you. It balances the top spin and makes playing wall-ball much easier and more natural for the players.”

Boots was among the leaders in the effort to bring lacrosse to the area when, he helped co-found Styx. But it was his late wife, Tamara Boots, who helped push the issue on bringing the new facility to the city. Tamara lost her battle with leukemia last fall, but has left a lasting legacy on the people and the sport she loved.

“Life as we know it will never be the same because of Tamara, and she left behind a space that cannot be filled,” Parks and Recreation Director Mary Jeanne Hutchison told the crowd at the dedication.

The wall is dedicated in Tamara’s honor and is adorned with a plaque that will forever bear her name. Members of the crowd honored Tamara by wearing orange, which is the color for leukemia awareness.

“This wall is a visible reminder of all the wonderful things she did for us. A mark has been made on O’Fallon, and it’s a mark that we will never forget,” said Hutchison.

Lacrosse Wall

The plaque honoring Tamara Boots (Photo by Tim Grout)

Lacrosse Wall

The new building not only offers players a practice wall but also
provides the Styx storage for equipment. (Photo by Tim Grout)