I’d like to preface this blog by saying I am not a “please like my sport” guy. I’m a hockey and lacrosse coach/player so I have a great passion for both sports. I also have a great passion for wanting to burn alive the shitheads that say crap like “the real March Madness is the NHL playoff push, not stupid college basketball”. For whatever reason hockey and lacrosse fans can’t fathom that people like other sports too.
I’ve been hearing my entire life that “lacrosse is the sport of the future”. Well now I’m 25 and this summer was the first time I saw lacrosse in a prime time TV slot on a major network, with the PLL playing on NBC. So what gives?
This could be because the MLL has overall done a pretty terrible job marketing their product. The game itself stinks and they’ve never been able to get the ball rolling when they finally got a deal with ESPN. Their athletes are largely faceless players with full time jobs that prohibit them from practicing more than once or twice a week. The system just hasn’t worked.
There’s a huge disconnect between the amateur level of lacrosse and the professional level that I believe is stalling the growth of the game. There’s no shortage of college level programs. Men’s lacrosse fields 125 DI programs, over 70 DII programs, and over 200 at the DIII level. Clearly the game is popular among the nation’s youth, yet they simply can’t get viewers at a national level.
Paul Rabil, the biggest name in lacrosse, founded a brand new league called the Premier Lacrosse League that made it’s debut this summer. The sport took a nice leap thanks to the league’s ability to connect through social media, especially with Barstool Sports now owning a team.
The game itself has plenty of appeal, especially for Americans who love high scoring, high impact games. I’ll tell you why you should give this sport a chance
Right off the bat, lacrosse players simply look cool. The helmets are sick. Eyeblack makes everyone look like a badass. The equipment is sleek. The combo of shorts, compressions, mid-calfs, and cleats never disappoints. Simply enough, lacrosse players just look cool.
Lacrosse is a fast game. There’s a reason most games end with both teams putting up goals in the double digits. Players get up and down the field as fast as your favorite kick returner in the NFL and then move a little rubber ball around until it finds it’s way into the net much like your NHL team does. On the next faceoff, a clean win could result in a goal in as little as 6 seconds. Americans love high scoring games. The NBA, NHL, MLB, and NFL have all made moves to make sure their league sees higher scores. Lacrosse certainly doesn’t have that problem.
What is beautiful about lacrosse is you give a bunch of strong, elite athletes sticks that range from 3-6 feet in length and they are allowed to hit each other as hard as they can with them. Isn’t that beautiful? If you have the ball you better be ready to get abused by a suspiciously angry man carrying a metal pole. If that’s not enough to wet your whistle then worry not! If the poor bastard you’re covering is catching a pass from his teammate you’re more than welcome to introduce your shoulder to his chest and then go back to abusing him with your $200 titanium pole until you get that little white ball loose. Delicious.
It’s a fairly simple concept. There’s 9 guys on the field for each team plus their goalies. 3 players for each team must be on one side of the field divided by the midfield line at all times. You try to put the ball in the other team’s net while simultaneously defending them from putting that same ball in your net. Defensive and offensive concepts are not so different from basketball. The spacing is similar to soccer. It has the physicality of football and the tempo of hockey. All the sports we love can be found in lacrosse. It sounds exciting, isn’t it? Don’t be surprised if you want to go shopping for lacrosse cleats right now.
Not the biggest fan of the S word but it’s true. Lacrosse players have a ton of swagger. You can’t successfully play lacrosse without having a balance of cocky asshole and humble dirtdog in your DNA. Lacrosse players are tough enough to scoop up a ground ball through the death trap of stick checks I referenced earlier, then have the confidence to shoot behind the back. Take a look at this kid
Headed downfield one on one. Fakes a roll and breaks cuzzie’s ankles in the process. Head tilt, thanks for comin pal, stick side hide to put one on the board. Quick “are you not entertained” celly, group hug with his boys, and caps it off with a Vince McMahon strut. I’m not sure we’ll ever see anything more disrespectful.
All in all, lacrosse is sick. Im not sure what the deal is. Lacrosse has all the aspects of sport that American sports consumers enjoy. I’m starting to think maybe everyone else is wrong and should stop lying to themselves and devote a little bit more screentime to this beautiful game.
Please like my sport. And follow me on Twitter @T_Ry25_