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It’s That Magical Time Again

This is what excellence looks like.
You say you want action? You say you want to watch a team that is almost never embarrassed? You say you want to see a coach that may spout more obscenities then Jim Boeheim at a Big East Tournament Press Conference? Then it is time for you to be following Syracuse Lacrosse.

As penned yesterday by Matt Glaude, he states his case for why lacrosse should be the sport everyone wants to watch, rather then just when they feel they are stuck in the taint of the sports year (hat tip to “Fitzy”) between the NFL, MLB, and March Madness. I am not going to do my best to pen mine.

In no particular order, here are my top five reasons why you should go to a Syracuse Lacrosse game:

1. Constant Hitting
If you like unrelenting hits then this is the sport for you. Unlike hockey, which does have some amazing hits, the hitting is constant in lacrosse. Defenders with their long sticks try to absolutely punish the players on offense. It could be we are a society that likes violence, or the fact that it is really cool to see a guy get hit really hard and just keep playing. Either way, it is really cool to see.

2. Amazing Shots
I can’t even imagine the skill level needed to play lacrosse. I never watched lacrosse until I got to college, and I most certainly didn’t play it. To see guys go in that Dome and pull off the shots and goals they do is nothing short of spectacular. Behind the back, through the legs, diving in the air, and scoring on the top shelf are just a few of the shot selections that you can see in a game. Just this past week against Hobart we saw the old behind the back and diving through the crease. If you like a dramatic and exciting display of skill and the fury of balls flying at 100 miles per hour then you’ll like Syracuse Lacrosse.

3. Relaxed Atmosphere
I couldn’t think of a better way to spend a nice afternoon in the Dome. Games aren’t really stressful, there are plenty of seats (that are general admission), and if you go with a group of friends you can talk through the whole game. Not only could you drink a leisurely beer on a nice afternoon with your friends, but you can see a game full of action in front of you. You can be involved as you want and watch in your own way. The cornerstone of democracy is choice, and with lacrosse you’ve got plenty. In other words, if you don’t go, the terrorists win.

4. Genius Coaching
John Desko: Great coach or the greatest coach? I’m going with great coach, who certainly has an impressive resume. The highest winning percentage ever in the NCAA Tournament (.792), the highest winning percentage of any active DI coach (.764), three D1 National Championships, and in general just kicks ass.

Assistant Coach Roy Simmons III is the defensive guru behind the team. Like his father, and his father before him, it is a labor of love. He as coached two Defensemen of the Year, as well as 10 defensive All-Americans. That is pretty good in eight previous seasons.

Returning for his 19th season is Assistant Coach Kevin Donahue who works with the midfielders and goaltenders, as well as the face-off unit. He has had countless All-Americans, amazing goaltenders, and countless accolades, peaking in 2001 when he won the Jay Gallagher Award given for the nation’s top assistant coach in Division I.

If you want to see the way the game should be coached, you need look no further then the Syracuse sideline. You may want to avoid letting the kids sit too close during a game however, as Desko will be cussing like a sailor.

5. We’re Pretty Good!
Yeah you have read everything above that basically mentions how freaking amazing Syracuse Lacrosse is. 13 total National Championships, nine in the tournament era, as well as countless tournament appearances and second place finishes. There is a huge list of amazing players such as Jim Brown, The Gait Brothers, and the Powell Brothers. The games are exciting and until 2005 we had a streak of 22 consecutive Final Four appearances. “Death, Taxes, and Final Fours” were the only things that were for certain in life for Syracuse. We returned to the Final Four in 2006 to be knocked off by amazing #1 Seed Virginia, who went on to win the tournament. But 23 out of 24 Final Four appearances is pretty damn good. It’s a little to early to be talking about playoffs (Playoffs! Playoffs! Don’t talk about playoffs!), but having the ranking of #2 in the nation lends me to believe that it would take a catastrophic collapse for us to not reach the hallowed ground that is the Final Four.

So there you have it. Lacrosse is awesome. Some people will be bored to tears with it, much like I could give a flying fuck about golf, but for the majority of people that actually give it a chance I think they grow to like it, much like myself at the start of my great Syracuse undergrad career. Much more lacrosse and basketball fodder to enjoy in a next few weeks and months, so don’t burn out too early. The end of basketball season is approaching fast so that means expanded Tournament Coverage and much prognosticating before the committee locks the door and locks the bracket.

PS – I used “Boom Goes The Dynamite!” way too much this past weekend.


12 Responses to “It’s That Magical Time Again”

  1. # Anonymous Tim

    Obviously lacrosse is huge in New York, but I wonder if it's not a lot bigger in the Baltimore-Washington corridor. I seem to remember that lax dudes down there even had their own peculiar subculture -- doofy shaggy hair cuts, lots of white University of South Carolina hats (the ones that say "COCKS" on them), etc. They were jocks and stoners at the same time. Meanwhile all the lacrosse players I knew in high school in Syracuse were, in a word, totally effing nuts. Like, psychopaths.

    Go figure.

    P.S. To reinforce the geographical argument, I think five or six of the Top 20 D1 lacrosse teams are from Maryland, Virginia or DC.

    P.P.S Has anyone ever even heard of lacrosse in California?

    P.P.P.S. Longest comment...ever!  

  2. # Blogger Matt Glaude

    Tim --

    A couple responses, answers:

    1. I still firmly believe that the Baltimore-Washington corridor is the strength of the sport. People point to Long Island and CNY as fertile recruiting grounds, but nothing touches the MIAA on a year-to-year basis.

    Hell, lacrosse is the state's co-sport (along with jousting or dueling or something).

    There's a reason that Baltimore and not Syracuse is going to be the rotating hub for the Lacrosse Final Four.

    2. The CNY-Maryland collegiate dichotomy is deep in all three NCAA divisions. CNY is routinely putting Cornell, SU, Cortland, Le Moyne, etc. into postseason tourneys. Baltimore-Washington goes even deeper (G'Town, Salisbury, Hop, MD, etc.). The difference is not drastic, but B-W still wins.

    3. Lacrosse is coming up huge in California. A recruiting boom is taking place down in San Diego and other fancy-pants places like Torrey Pines and the like. Syracuse has frequently gone to California to grab players like Spencer Wright and the Cavalieris.

    Plus, the Home Depot Center in Carson hosted the "First Four" a couple years back. The games pitted Syracuse against Georgetown and two other teams also played (I want to say it was Notre Dame and North Carolina). Around 8,000 attended.  

  3. # Anonymous Tim

    Matt -- Thanks for the knowledge!  

  4. # Blogger MariusJanulisForThree

    Hey Tim, I grew up back east and played lax but have lived in LA for the last five years. Believe it or not, they've started playing out here on the West Coast. I went to that First Four event a few year back and it was a solid crowd for out here. It's nowhere near as popular as it is in the Northeast (and for the record the pro team in Anaheim folded last year) but its gaining.  

  5. # Blogger Brian Harrison

    Adding to the debate, nothing was a more memorable Final Four for me personally then the one held in BMore at M&T Bank Stadium against Navy on a Memorial Day in '04. Highest turnout for a Final Four, plus playing the Midshipman on a holiday weekend...simply electrifying.  

  6. # Blogger MariusJanulisForThree

    I remember watching that game on TV....fantastic. Kinda sucked being "the team that no one wanted to win" but oh well...I'll take the title however I can get it.  

  7. # Blogger Brian Harrison

    At least you were safe on TV. I had Navy Dads trying to gut me with a knife, not to mention that Baltimore is kind of a sketchy town anyway.  

  8. # Blogger Matt Glaude

    I remember three things from that trip:

    1. The fucking cicadas;

    2. Jeff Robinson almost getting a bunch of us shot in Little Italy when he decided to mouth off at cars on the walk home from Power Plant; and

    3. Getting absolutely drenched at the game because I forgot both a jacket and umbrella.  

  9. # Blogger Brian Harrison

    It's fine. They wouldn't have let you bring the umbrella in. Clearly you'd use it as a weapon.  

  10. # Anonymous Anonymous

    I began to get interested in lacrosse during the Gait brother era. It's a great game. As to this:

    Highest turnout for a Final Four, plus playing the Midshipman on a holiday weekend...simply electrifying.

    Simply a great,great game.  

  11. # Anonymous John Brennan

    I was so pissed about not being able to bring umbrellas into the Championship in Baltimore. I had to ditch mine on the way in. Then I went at least 8 months without an umbrella because I was too lazy to buy another one.  

  12. # Anonymous Tim

    In case my previous comment left anyone with the impression that I hate lacrosse or lax players, let me share my fav memory of the sport (unfortunately not SU related): From 1992-94 I got a chance to see a lot of my stepbrother Jeremy's college games. He played at Nazareth in Rochester. Best game I ever saw was Naz's dismantling of Roanoke in the DIII national championship in 1992. Too bad I was a punkass teenager at the time or I probably would have been able to appreciate it more.  

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