Five years ago, the Jammer Classic started as a small, two-day tournament for midget field lacrosse.
Today, says Mark Kuhlmann, the Jammer has become the spring kick-off for Ontario’s minor field season, now joined by varsity teams from as far as Detroit.
Then and now, everyone who runs the pitches at the Cherry Beach tournament honours Mark’s son Jamieson Kuhlmann, a dedicated lacrosse player who died suddenly from a game injury in 2008.
Registration for the tournament is always full, says Jamieson’s mother Michelle Weber, and there is always a waiting list.
“The life that’s on the field is just overwhelming,” she says. “You cannot not get a high coming down here.”
Jamieson would be 20 now, she said, and many of his friends have graduated from playing the tournament to helping off the field – refereeing games and grilling on the barbecue.
Starting the Jammer Classic was a way to give back, to embrace Jamieson and also to do something for his friends, she said. Jamieson’s death was probably the first time they had lost a close friend.
Since 2009, the tournament has also raised $71,000 for the Children’s Wish Foundation, and has been a place to check in and see how greatly improved are the lives of four children and two adults who all received organs donated by Jamieson.
“That all came about because of the type of person Jamieson was,” Weber said. “He really was a kind soul, a very loyal friend, very trustworthy.”