When it comes to planes, trains, and automobiles, Steve Martin and John Candy have nothing on the Highland Park boys lacrosse program.
The program has made its home for the past several years at Southwest Fields, on a donated 14 acres of grass adjacent to Love Field.
So the average practice or game there features jet engines in full roar, DART trains in spectator sightlines, and plenty of SUVs in the parking lot driven by Park Cities commuters.
“It’s just vital to our program,” said Richard Crow, president of Highland Park Boys Lacrosse. “In the Park Cities, we have limited fields. We just have to be creative with where we can play.”
Southwest Fields was the brainchild of a few fathers of players in the program who worked with Southwest Airlines. The company had some spare land, and agreed to lease it to HPBL for free.
The complex includes four fields. The lease, which took effect in 2006, requires the program to maintain the fields, which costs about $2,000 per month, Crow said. Three of the four fields have irrigation systems.
Still, it’s well worth that cost for unlimited use by an organization that has grown to include more than 500 kids ranging from 5-year-olds to the varsity level.
“There’s a big sense of pride,” Crow said. “ Not only do we appreciate using it, but we take great care of it.”
The natural-grass fields are most commonly used for practices for the high school teams, who play their home games on turf at Highlander Stadium.
During the season, the varsity squad usually schedules one workout each week at the complex, while the junior varsity team practices there about four times a week. In the offseason, the varsity squad heads over there more frequently.
It also can host games for younger age groups, some of which have practices at other HPISD facilities.
In exchange for the generosity, HPBL makes an effort to publicize Southwest on its website and in its printed materials.
Crow said that with available land at a premium in the Park Cities, having a private practice facility has been ideal to support the local growth of the sport — even if it’s not exactly quiet given its proximity to an active runway.
“It’s a great sport, and kids tell their friends,” Crow said. “We have a really great group of volunteer parents and coaches that make a huge difference. The growth of our youth program has led to a lot of success at the high school level.”