Gary Porter’s story is a familiar one.
The father of four boys, the kids wanted to play lacrosse, so the dutiful dad signed them up.
What he didn’t expect was to be roped into the game himself.
This was 15 years ago and the 46-year-old Porter is still heavily involved in a sport he never played.
He has served as a coach, assistant coach, manager, vice-president and president of the Chilliwack Minor Lacrosse Association.
These days, Porter is the equipment manager for both the Langley Thunder intermediate and junior teams, as well as an assistant coach for the intermediates.
“It’s great to be involved,” he explained.
“It is just great to be around them when they are playing the game and having fun, staying out of trouble.
“I like being involved with them, that time you get to spend with them.”
Porter has four sons — Chase (25), Colton (23), Zack (20) and Brodie (18) as well as a stepson, Nathan (12) — with all of them still playing the sport except for the eldest.
Colton plays in the Western Lacrosse Association with Maple Ridge, while Zack is with the Junior Thunder and Brodie with intermediate team. Nathan plays peewee with the Mission Lacrosse Association.
Porter moved to Mission from Chilliwack three years ago and has been involved with the Thunder even before they came to Langley: prior to the move, the team played in Surrey as the Stickmen.
It can make for some long days during the season for Porter, who works as a millwright.
“Very long nights in the summer time,” he said. “Some nights, you are getting home at 11:30 or 12 at night and then getting up at about quarter after four in the morning.”
But the sacrifice is more than worth it.
“It is satisfying watching your kids grow up and playing at this high level,” Porter said.
“And being around them and not being some parent who just drops them off.”
And while some kids may want a bit of separation from their parent, Porter says his sons have enjoyed it.
“A lot of people would think so (but) they liked it actually,” he said.
“Sometimes I would coach with only that one kid on the team so they would get that one-on-one time (with me).”
Those around Porter marvel at his dedication.
“I can’t imagine how many hours a week he spends either driving or being at arenas or travelling or whatever the case,” said Jake Elliott, the Junior Thunder head coach.
“He is at the arena probably more than anyone in our organization.
“(He) never complains and is just a hardworking, honest guy who loves his family and loves lacrosse.”
“He is willing to do whatever he can to help out in any way he can,” Elliott added.
“I try to thank him whenever I can but I think some of the stuff he does goes unappreciated a lot of the time.”