Are you the parent of a girl lacrosse player, worried about your daughter in the frigid winter weather? Or are you a player yourself, who finds your hands freeze as you grip the stick…and it affects your playing altogether?! Well, all those worries can soon be put to rest, thanks to the brains and talent of local Chappaqua resident Samantha Wolfe.
At just 17 years old, this former lacrosse player–and proud Greeley senior–has designed an unprecedented heated lacrosse stick, trademarked FingerFire, which aims to prevent loss of dexterity and function in the hands when playing lacrosse out in the cold.
“You could wear gloves, but they don’t really work, because [the womens’ gloves] are so thin,” Wolfe explains. “When I played, my hands would always be freezing, and I’d always comment to my parents about how cold they were. So, I thought a heated lacrosse stick would be a great solution.” After repeatedly bringing the idea up to her parents–“I was very adamant and passionate about it, so I wouldn’t take ‘no’ for an answer,” she says, with a laugh–her father, Bruce, finally agreed to be her partner and make her dream a reality.
The stick itself is quite a marvel. As Wolfe explains, it looks and feels just like a normal lacrosse stick, save for the USB adapter and “on/off” switch at the butt of it, which is where one would recharge the stick after using it.
The heated stick takes only about ten minutes to fully heat up, and will then maintain a 70-degree temperature for the length of a game (approx. one and a half to two hours). Additionally, when a player puts their hands on the stick while playing, it further helps the stick to stay warm. Of note, Wolfe also mentions the stick has been specifically designed for female players, but hopes to eventually move into a design for men as well.
While there is no doubt this process has been fun and creative, Wolfe can’t dismiss how arduous it can get, at times, speaking of the lengthy process, which began in earnest roughly three years ago. “I was very naive. I thought this whole process would be done in a couple of months,” she confesses. “It’s been, like, years now. I honestly had no idea [of the scope of it all].” She speaks specifically to hiring an intellectual property attorney to check if a similar patent didn’t already exist, looking for product development companies to create their prototypes, and contacting the CEO of US Lacrosse, Steve Stenersen, to ensure that her invention did not violate any US Lacrosse guidelines. (She explains the FingerFire design does add a bit more weight toward the end of the stick– “though you can’t really feel it when you’re holding it,” she insists– but luckily, it wasn’t even close to surpassing the official weight limit as dictated by US Lacrosse).
Today, Wolfe currently has a patent pending for her stick and has reached out to local Division I Women’s Lacrosse teams, who have agreed to test the prototype during their winter season and offer feedback. Wolfe looks forward to hearing their various comments, making necessary changes, and hopefully, then closely partnering with a sports brand to have her design commercialized and sold in sports stores across the country.
And when it eventually does, there is no question it’ll be a game-changer. “I think this stick will absolutely change the game of lacrosse,” Wolfe comments. “If [players] can have circulation in their hands throughout the game, they will be able to catch and pick up ground balls [more easily], and they will be able to move better…. When it gets so cold, it affects your playing ability [and] you are not able to play to your full potential. This stick will allow everyone to play to their full potential, not to mention younger children will be much more eager to play, and parents will hear fewer complaints from their children about freezing hands!”
Surely, much to be excited about. But while Wolfe looks toward the future with certainty, her head chock-full of additional thoughts and ideas, she’s happy, for now, taking it one day a time. “It’s been a long process, but it has been totally worth it,” she concludes, with a smile. “I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Samantha Wolfe is a 17-year-old Greeley senior and Chappaqua resident. If you have any further questions about the FingerFire design or how it will change the face of lacrosse, she encourages you to contact her at FingerFirelax@gmail.com.
Matt Smith is a writer and contributor to The Inside Press. For further information or inquiry, please visit www.mattsmiththeatre.com.