The gaze of spectators at one of this season’s Quesnel Crossfire Pee Wee lacrosse games is instantly drawn towards a pink-helmeted player who is a head taller than most of the competitors on the floor and more than a step or two faster.
Talking amongst one another, they might draw comparisons to a deer as the athlete bounds towards the goal, seemingly not touching the ground.
Moments later, it looks as though the player is more akin to a mountain lion, showing aggression, determination and tact all at once.
Brooklyn Karey is 13, ordinarily the age of a first-year Bantam player, but she’s playing with youth age 11 to 12 in Pee Wee this season.
As luck would have it, one of the finest young talents to wield a lacrosse stick doesn’t have teammates her own age to play with.
Last year, she played Bantam lacrosse – playing above her age group, at 12 years old – and more than held her own against competitors a year or two older.
This year, she should have played with the Bantams again, but only four other players in that age group signed up.
But Karey still wants to play. Instead of moving up to the Midget team, where she would play against 15- and 16-year-old boys, she moved down a level, to Pee Wee.
“Last year she scored goals, she made plays and she made hits,” her father Aaron Olsen says.
He says Karey is close to having the skill to compete against Midget players, but the size of some of the boys on the teams could prove to be a bit much at this point, and cause her to lose some confidence.
“It’s unfortunate that this age group falls short every other year, being that she is such a great athlete,” says Lisa Scott, president of the Quesnel Lacrosse Association.
While there were discussions of Karey joining the Midget team, it was decided it would be best to stick with the Pee Wees to help her develop her many skills and avoid being injured.
After the first two games of this season, she had hat tricks in each.
But her size and skill make her a target for opposing teams.
“They definitely don’t hold their hits for her,” says Olsen.
“They see her coming and they definitely take shots at her to try to take her down. Fortunately, she’s faster than she looks, and strong, very strong.
“It’s hard to get her down as her agility is way up there with her strength and her speed.”
Karey attends Riverview Elementary School, where she excels in her studies as well as track and field, volleyball and soccer.
She fell in love with lacrosse after attending a cousin’s Midget game five years ago.
Karey says she enjoys the competitive nature of the support.
“I like the aggressiveness and I also like the running.”
This year she hope to focus on teamwork and helping out some of the younger cohorts get to her level. She says she is always giving out tips.
“I tell them how to work on shooting,” she says.
“Going against other goalies where some are bigger, you’ve got to know what side they’re going to move to when you shoot and how you can deke around that.”