This weekend I got to ball with some big names in the small box lacrosse universe. Living boxla legend Randy Fraser put together a star-studded team, made up mostly of former PLL and NALL players from Boston and Baltimore. The team is called the Boston Blazers, and a solid core of the guys play in a league in Boston.
We took on the Vermont Voyagers and Syracuse Stingers up in Syracuse’s OnCenter War Memorial arena. The Blazers went 1-1 on the day, playing back-to-back games at 1pm and 4pm. It was brutal and excellent! The Voyageurs and Stingers also played a game, to make it a true three-way box lacrosse event!
Playing on a defense full of “meatheads,” as Josh Rachman described us, I was by far and away the smallest guy on D. I’m 5’11″ 155 pounds on a good day! But this large veteran group talked me through every pick and slip. We communicated well and played great on-ball defense.
Photo Credit: Larry Palumbo
Being out there with accomplished players, I felt as if I’ve played box lacrosse for years, but really this was only my 4th real game. Randy was excellent on the bench and the team was great on the floor, communicating and executing.
The pace of the games was fast, and I can remember coming off the floor and getting back on almost immediately at least a couple of times. It was hard to catch my breath, but I loved every second of it. Our D guys really did grind it out going back-to-back games while our O was taking great shots, even when they manifested early in the shot clock.
Around this time last year, I was very passive on defense and had silly penalties for being ignorant of the rules. This year I had a penalty for high sticking and being too aggressive and even had a couple breakaway opportunities that I should’ve buried. I’m not a star yet, but I’m definitely getting better, and playing with all these knowledgeable “meatheads” has only helped.
Photo Credit: Scott Thomas
Before the second game, I had a short conversation with Alf Jacques about traditional sticks, and he gave me a tap on my shoulder and said good luck. He noticed that I wasn’t wearing shoulder pads and suggested that I should protect myself, but I told him I wasn’t afraid.
That’s the attitude you need for box lacrosse! I’m looking forward to playing more in the coming years, and improving my game. Maybe I’ll even get over to Prague for the Ales Hrebesky Memorial some year. Connor’s coverage of that tournament is going to be crazy this year. Keep an eye out!