Archive for June, 2008

Why Box Lacrosse is Just a Novelty

June 30, 2008

My intent is not to bash box lacrosse or offend anyone who is a fan of box lacrosse. My intention however is to express my perspective of why in its current state, the presence of box lacrosse needs to be decreased. This is my overall perspective of box lacrosse, it can be summed up like an old SAT analogy question, Arena Football : Football, Indoor Soccer : Soccer, Box Lacrosse : Lacrosse.

This goes on beyond the obvious fact that arena football, indoor soccer and box lacrosse are merely inside, miniature versions of sports. If that were the case than I wouldn’t have an issue with box lacrosse. My issue is that box lacrosse continues to be presented to people unfamiliar with the sport of lacrosse as a legitimate form of the sport and not just an inside, miniature version of something greater.

 

 indoor lax

This is NOT lacrosse…its box lacrosse!

The people most guilty of this are the team owners and league executives of the National Lacrosse League. They bring box lacrosse to new metropolitan areas and show it off by infusing the games with a constant blast of popular music played on 11 and allowing excessive, violent play and fighting during the games. Most people come away from the games enjoying the experience, but it has little to do with the actual sport of lacrosse. People would enjoy watching sausage being made if it included listening to Van Halen and Motley Crüe. Its a great way to make money. Sure, it would be very noble for the team owners and league executives of the NLL to stop blaring music during play, enforce the rules, and eliminate fighting, but I am not naive. Its the American way to make money and keep doing it as long as possible, and the the best way for the NLL, (including its players) to make the most money is to give the casual lacrosse fan what they want…noise and violence. The dedicated lacrosse fans will return to the games because they just want to watch lacrosse being played. I was actually a big fan of going to see Baltimore Thunder and Arizona Sting games when I could, and watching NLL games on TV, but I recently grew tired of the loud music and lack of rules. I would rather watch a college game than an NLL game.

Of course lacrosse isn’t black and white and separated into groups of people who like box lacrosse and people who don’t. There is a reason why the NLL can market box lacrosse to new metropolitan areas, and this is what separates box lacrosse from indoor soccer and arena football. Its the fact that box lacrosse has a hybrid, third group of followers created over a hundred years ago in Canada. People who don’t necessarily like outdoor lacrosse, but want the same dynamics of fighting and violence in ice hockey in another form of sport played during hockey’s off season. This is what makes box lacrosse a somewhat legit form in Canada and on the reservations of New York State. The preferred form of lacrosse in these regions is box lacrosse for a reason. Over time, people showed they would rather participate and watch box rather than outdoor lacrosse. Reasoning which I am fine with, you can’t really change that aspect of these cultures that was developed over several decades.

Let’s just say you have to pick one form of lacrosse for the rest of your life. I am lobbying for outdoor lacrosse for this reason: its not a dumbed down, over-violent form of lacrosse. It IS lacrosse. It is what lacrosse was before box lacrosse became the more popular form in Canada.

Box lacrosse is great…as a novelty sport. Its extremely fun to play. You don’t need as many people to organize a game. You don’t need to reserve a field or have a nice day to play, you can just use a vacant gym or rink to play on. You don’t need the same endurance level as outdoor lacrosse, so you don’t need to be in as good of shape. I am actually a bigger contributor to the team when I play box lacrosse than when I play outdoor lacrosse.

I just think it would be better for the lacrosse world in the long term to embrace my perspective that box lacrosse is just a novelty version of something greater. Then have everyone work together to sell lacrosse in the outdoor form to people unfamiliar with the sport. Instead of having two groups of people trying to sell two different versions of the same sport.

 

Chicago Stuns Denver 16-13

June 29, 2008

Chicago’s fifth ever franchise win came at the expense of the top team in the MLL in 2008, the Denver Outlaws who had more wins in 2008 than Chicago had in three seasons. The best way to sum up this game is to say that Chicago was the better team playing the Outlaws style of run and gun to get the three goal victory. Chicago had hat tricks from Steven Brooks and Kevin Leveille, Mike Leveille had a pair of goals as well.  

With Rochester losing to the Los Angeles Riptide yesterday, my top four teams will probably get mixed around a bit. However, Boston and Long Island continue to win, so there was some balance in this weekends games. It just goes to show you that you can’t win on paper!

Cannons Blow Out Dragons By a Touchdown (and an extra point)

June 29, 2008

The Patriots Cannons defeated the 49ers Dragons 21-14 in a high scoring football lacrosse game. The Dragons were just no match for Boston. Who opened up the game with a 6-2 first quarter, and a 7-3 second quarter to take a 13-5 halftime lead. San Francisco came back in the third quarter to get within six goals. However, they couldn’t make the game any closer and lost by seven.

The Cannons potent offense was effective in the win. Mike Powell had eight points off a hat trick and five assists. Tom Zummo had five goals, and Paul Rabil and Matt Poskay each had four goals each. Their supporting cast of Christmas, Morris and Alrich each had a goal. San Francisco had four goals from Lewis Ratcliff and a hat trick from rookie Brendan Loftus.

Paul Rabil had a sick dive shot to score and Mike Powell had a sweet behind the back assist in the first quarter. Two things to look for on You Tube or laxunited.com later on in the week!

Barrage Get Big Win Over Bayhawks

June 29, 2008

I only got to see the first half and the last to minutes of this game. For some reason my DVR only recorded the first half, but I got to see the last couple minutes of the game live. I don’t know if that was something through DirecTV, Comcast who was broadcasting the game, or the actual DVR to begin with. It had nothing to do with the lightning delay, which actually allowed me to see the end of the game! The final score of the game was 14-13 in favor of the Barrage. This was after Washington shut out the Barrage in the first quarter 5-0. The Barrage responded with a 7-1 second quarter explosion. They Barrage continued to explode on the scoreboard with a 5-1 third quarter. Washington outscored the Barrage 6-2 in the final frame, but it was not enough to sneak past them.

Here’s my analysis of the last play, since Quint is so sure that the Bayhawks messed up by not going for two. I think Washington made the right choice by going for one and try to win the face off. In fact, the Bayhawks should have shot the final goal  a little earlier in the play. That would have given them the extra time the needed to get a better final shot after winning the face-off. Regardless, the Barrage have a tough defense. Which is why the Bayhawks couldn’t get a decent two point shot to begin with. The smart money is always on two quick one point goals. Not wasting time trying to set up a play for a two point goal.

NCAA Lacrosse Championships Good Where They Are

June 28, 2008

http://blogs.insidelacrosse.com/2008/06/27/player-of-the-year-watch-2009/

This is inspired by the College World Series that just ended a few days ago. One of my regular gripes is the fact that college baseball goes through almost the whole month of June when most colleges ended classes six weeks prior. College lacrosse ends a lot sooner considering they are both spring sports, and maybe it would improve if the season was longer and went into the summer. However, the fact that lacrosse has locked in Memorial Weekend to almost itself and booted the Softball Championships to a later weekend is too great of a gain. Memorial Weekend is lacrosse’s time to shine and it would not be a success if the NCAA Championships were moved to the middle of summer. Lacrosse is also smart to take their championships to various stadiums, not spend every damn summer in the same stadium in freakin’ Omaha, Nebraska!

I Love: Top Major League Lacrosse Moments of the Milleneum

June 27, 2008

I am a big fan of the I Love series on VH-1. I have spent countless hours on the couch watching the best moments from the past four decades, even when they’ve recycled the same decade three times. Plus I really liked the one they did on just toys. So if I were in charge of doing one of those shows for the best Major League Lacrosse moments since 2000, when the league started, these would be the things I would choose:

2000-The season of the Summer Showcases. The locations of the showcases were Buffalo, Rochester, Columbus, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Connecticut, Long Island, New Jersey, and Washington D.C. Buffalo did not get a team, neither did Columbus, but Columbus did get to host a title game. Philadelphia got the Barrage after three seasons, but they lost them in 2008, and the Barrage will probably go to a new city for 2009. Baltimore had the Bayhawks but they went south to DC, they played at UMBC which was never used for the Baltimore Bayhawks (JHU, Towson and Ravens Stadium were). Boston got the Cannons, Chicago got the Machine in 2006, the Barrage lasted in Bridgeport, Connecticut until 2004, Long Island got the Lizards, and New Jersey got the Pride.

 I remember I was home from college that summer and watched these games on TV with my grandma, who was living with us because my grandfather had died a few months prior. I remember Mike Battista had a sweet high-step dodge to a goal in one of the games, as well as Brian Carcaterra and Jake Bergey getting into a fight. Carcaterra picked up Bergey and threw him, something he could probably not duplicate in a million years!

2001-The first official season of the MLL. Teams were the Long Island Lizards, Boston Cannons, Bridgeport Barrage in the American Division, and the Baltimore Bayhawks, New Jersey Pride,  Rochester Rattlers in the National Division.

I went to the first ever MLL game between Baltimore and Long Island at Homewood Field at JHU. I was walking behind one of the goals during warm-ups and someone ripped a shot and a ball got stuck in the fence in front of me. I quickly snagged the ball since I almost had a traumatic brain injury. I later saw a random person signing autographs in the stands, so I had them sign the ball so I could see who it was from their signature. Turned out to be Jesse Hubbard.

Chris Turner from Salisbury scored the first MLL goal ever. He gave one of my college teammates a concussion in a game once. He also got cut from the Bayhawks soon after the first game, which was won by Baltimore 16-13.

I remember two particular things about the first season.  The first is that I remember that the Gaits were not given much respect. They were drafted pretty low and not expected to be stars. Paul Gait scored seven goals in the first Steinfeld Cup game, and Gary Gait played for five seasons and won three championships as a player and player/coach. The second one is how the first Steinfeld Cup was played on a skinny field because they didn’t have lacrosse sidelines. A future sign that issues will come up occasionally in the MLL.

2002-The Baltimore Bayhawks try to be bold and move the team from Johns Hopkins to Ravens Stadium. Baltimore proves once again that while they may have a large population of lacrosse players, they do not have a very large population of lacrosse fans. Not many people show up to the games, and playing in an empty stadium is not very impressive, especially when you are renting it. It is a one year experiment and the Bayhawks move back to Hopkins the next season. Baltimore did win the Steinfeld Cup in Columbus that season.

2003-I spent most of this summer working in New Hampshire at a summer camp, but I did get to see the All-Star game and the Steinfeld Cup which was in Philly. Long Island beat the Bayhawks in overtime. I remember watching the game with some college buddies, it was excellent. The first and only OT championship game so far in the MLL!

2004-I remember this summer since I had just moved back to Arizona and was watching all the games on ESPN2. The Barrage moved to Philly from Bridgeport. Peter Inge was tearing up the face-off X for the Boston Cannons and lead them to the Steinfeld Cup against the Barrage. I remember it was a pretty close game and it looked like Boston was going to win the Championship on its own field. However, Ryan Curtis had too many penalties which resulted in the rare lacrosse foul out. This lead to a 13-11 win for the Barrage.

2005-While I may have spend a majority of my summer in Maine not watching any games. I do remember it as the summer of Bayhawks domination. An attack line of Tom Marechek, Gary Gait, and Mike Powell lead them to a 12-2 record and a championship. This was also the summer that Warrior started making lacrosse cleats and turf shoes. I bought a pair of the turf shoes and still have them! This was also the summer that the MLL went with the Tommy Hilfiger uniforms and sold replicas. I still have my Gary Gait jersey that I break out when I am feeling saucy!

The MLL spent the summers of 2004 and 2005 testing out potential markets for western expansion. They played games in Seattle and Denver. Denver was an obvious choice and got the Oulaws in 2006. Seattle hosted a pair of games, but like Columbus, did not end up with a team.

2006-This was not only the first summer for expansion teams Chicago Machine, Denver Outlaws, Los Angeles Riptide, and San Francisco Dragons, but it was also the summer of the World Games. Many players missed out on the season or a portion of the games. However, the All-Star game was MLL vs Team USA, which was a great contest. Canada ended up winning the World Games. Chicago Machine did not win any games that year. The only MLL team to ever get a doughnut.

2007-A few days before the MLL collegiate draft, the NCAA announced that it would allow all of the players from the 2006 Duke lacrosse team to play another season. Which means Matt Danowski, Tony McDevitt, Nick O’Hara would not be drafted that year. Pat Heim from Penn State was the first picked in probably the worst draft class in eight seasons. The Barrage won their second straight Steinfeld Cup. Denver Outlaws lost their luggage and played without official uniforms in a semi-final loss to the Philly Barrage. Rochester was hosting the Championship Weekend and lost to the LA Riptide.

2008-So far the draft class and resulting rookies have been amazing this season. Paul Rabil and Matt Danowski are already established on their teams. Chicago, San Francisco and New Jersey are just some of the teams using as many young players as possible. The Barrage are playing all of their games on the road this season, stopping at a few places around the country that may call the franchise home in 2009. The MLL is allowing teams to show games on local cable channels. Which means I get at least three games a week on DirecTV!

Trudie’s MLL Preview: Week Seven

June 26, 2008

http://blogs.insidelacrosse.com/2008/06/25/mll-weekly-jarret-park-rob-scherr-bill-mcglone-paul-rabil/

This weekend has a slate full of exciting match-ups. Here is what is going to go down:

Barrage at Washington Bayhawks-A Saturday night battle in DC at 7pm EST. Will be live on local cable TV. Both teams are coming into the game with 3-3 records. Both teams are coming of losses last week. The Bayhawks to Boston, and the Barrage to Rochester. I think the Bayhawks have the advantage since they are playing at home and Barrage continues to have to travel.

Boston Cannons at San Francisco Dragons– Another Saturday night tilt, this one is in the Golden State at 10pm EST. This game is also being shown live on local channels in New England and California. Boston is coming off two straight wins off Washington and New Jersey. San Francisco lost to New Jersey last weekend and have not won in two straight weeks. Big news is the addition of Bill McGlone to the Dragons roster. That is nothing compared to the Cannons offensive of firepower of Powell, Christmas, Alrich, Poskay, Morris, Rabil, and Shannon. Cannons should get an easy win.

Los Angeles Riptide at Rochester Rattlers-Another Saturday night game that is live on local TV. This one starts at 7:30 EST. Los Angeles has a pretty good roster full of great players at every position like Chazz Woodson, Kyle Harrison, Terry Riordan, Michael Watson, Kevin Huntley, and Greg Bice. However, they only have a 2-3 record and are playing a Rochester team with an even better roster of Casey Powell,  Joe Walters, Brett Bucktooth, Brodie Merrill,Jeff  Zywicki, John Grant Jr., Gavin Prout, and Nick O’Hara. Rochester even has a better record at 4-2. I think it has the potential to be a great game, with tons of goals. Rochester will come out with the victory.

Long Island Lizards at New Jersey Pride-This game is at Rutgers University on Saturday night at 7:30EST and will only be live on one local channel, which is in NJ so you better go to Piscataway. The Pride are coming off two straight wins over Rochester and San Francisco, their first of 2008. Long Island has won four straight after losing their first two. While New Jersey may be at home, I don’t think they can handle the Lizards.

Denver Outlaws at Chicago Machine-The lone Sunday game will start at 4:30EST and will be live on several local channels. Denver is the best in the league at 5-1. Chicago is camping out in the basement with a 1-5 record. They haven’t won since the first week over San Francisco. Denver is too much to handle with their stacked roster for Chicago to have a realistic chance at a win.

 

They’ll Always Be Villa Julie to Me!

June 25, 2008

http://www.vjc.edu/

http://www.gomustangsports.com/sports/mlax/index

I was just perusing lacrosse websites and came across the news that Villa Julie College is changing its name to Stevenson University. This comes after a few years of moving the school to two campuses. One of them in Owings Mills in the former practice facility of the Baltimore Ravens, which happened just as I moved away from Baltimore in 2004.

My first college lacrosse game (for Goucher) was in 1999 and we played Villa Julie to a 12-11 victory. What was cool is that it started snowing in the third quarter! One of my friends also scored by kicking the ball into the goal. Which I didn’t know you could do at the time. Cut me some slack, I had just started playing lacrosse three years before that!

The name change has also happened to Western Maryland College (now McDaniel) and numerous other schools. My school (Goucher) was once The Women’s College of Baltimore. I know Mary Washington went from MWC to the University of Mary Washington. Whenever that happens, I think that the school is trying to make some big important move into being a large institution. Start admitting everyone who applies, and build a 100,000 seat lacrosse stadium. But usually it only has something to do with financial gain through some weird policy.

Trudie’s Top 10 Division III Colleges I Would Have Gone To: #10 York College

June 24, 2008

Ten years ago I was preparing to be a Freshman student and lacrosse midfielder at Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland. While it was an unbelievable and life changing experience. There are several schools that I would have gone to if given the opportunity to start college over again. This is a  weekly series featuring some of the schools I would have liked to have attended.

#10 York College Of Pennsylvania

The city of York is located  almost two hours west of Philadelphia and an hour north of Baltimore, Maryland in South Central Pennsylvania. The population of the city is about 40,000 people and is a very blue collar city. They manufacture barbells and weight equipment, as well as animal crackers (Stauffer Biscuit Co.). 1990s band Live is also from York.

The college itself has over 5,000 students. Which is on the larger side for most Division III schools in the area. What is most appealing to me about York is the new facilities that they built in the past few years. http://www.ycp.edu/6109.htm Not only to they have a new gym, swimming pool, and track. But they also have to new field-turf athletic fields. Even before these new athletic facilities were created, York was high on my list of schools I would have attended because of its proximity to large cities and similar culture to my own hometown. York costs about $22,000 a year for on campus students, and about $14,000 for commuters. The college offers several majors http://www.ycp.edu/academics/index.html   Including lacrosse, York offers 20 athletic programs.

The lacrosse team has only been around for nine seasons. I remember they were a club team my Freshman year at Goucher in 1999 and we scrimmaged them in the preseason, and we went there the next season to play them in an actual game. While they may have been a basement team in their first few years, they have improved a lot recently and have a lot of potential to be a threat in the middle tier of Division III lacrosse. York plays in the Capital Athletic Conference. The only contender in the conference is Salisbury, the two time defending NCAA champs. However, they are competitive with the other six teams in the conference, and there is a chance at getting an automatic qualifier if they or anyone else can manage to beat Salisbury.

 

Trudie’s Top Four MLL Teams: Week 7

June 24, 2008

http://blogs.insidelacrosse.com/2008/06/22/quint-kessenichs-mll-power-rankings-june-23rd/

Last weekend’s games shook up the league so much that the playoff picture is becoming clearer. Here is my predictions of who is going to the MLL playoffs:

1. Denver Outlaws-They have the best record in the MLL at 5-1. They have won three straight close games against conference opponents. They will travel to Chicago next Sunday to play the Machine. They have an easy road to the playoffs since they only have to win their conference, which is not a challenge. Only game outside their conference is against Boston at the end of the season.

2. Long Island Lizards-Have won four straight games after opening the season 0-2. Beat the Los Angeles Riptide by one in LA last weekend. LA is a pretty stacked team. They face the New Jersey Pride for the first time this season next weekend.

3. Rochester Rattlers-Beat the Barrage in North Carolina 20-17 to move to 4-2 on the season. Face the LA Riptide next weekend. I think their team is one of the best in the MLL and the Eastern Conference, should finish 2nd, if they don’t pass the Lizards some point this season.

4. Boston Cannons-The Cannons are at 3-2 after beating the Washington Bayhawks at home last Thursday. They travel to San Francisco to play the Dragons next weekend. The Dragons are an inconsistent team. With Boston’s recent additions, they could compete for the top spot in the Eastern Conference, and will make the playoffs.

The Truth-Remember this…The MLL playoff format is the top two teams in each conference get in the playoffs, then the other two spots go to the next two best teams regardless of their conference. This will mean that three Eastern Conference teams will be in the playoffs, and only one Western team will get in. Denver is a lock in the Western Conference. I think the Eastern Conference is pretty set unless Washington can get some big wins the second half of the season. The Barrage aren’t a bad team, I just think all that travel will effect them by the end of the season, and they are already losing by a lot in their games.