Editor’s note: Please welcome Matt Gibson to LAS. Matt is a recent graduate of Yale University and just finished his first season playing Major League Lacrosse, at the end of which he was named 2012 MLL Rookie of the Year.
Matt will be blogging daily throughout the 2012 Grow The Game Tour. To explain the title of this series a bit more… Dutchmen happens to be the name of the RV we’re living out of during the GTG Tour. This pretty thing right here:
Friday, Sept. 28
The Easton gang (Mike Powell, Henry Fitzpatrick, and myself) landed Friday in Salt Lake City to kick off the Grow The Game Tour with Lacrosse All Stars. It wasn’t until after we rented a car that I found out we were headed to good ole Orem, Utah.
I had landed thinking the LXM Pro 801 game was being played in Salt Lake City, but I guess when one wants to truly ‘grow the game’ he must take the road less traveled. After all, Orem, Utah stands as a mega-city compared to some of the more remote locales we will visit on the GTG Tour.
Friday night we rendezvoused with some of the Lacrosse All Stars crew (Jeff Brunelle and Krieg Shaw) for a Bloomin’ Onion and geared up for the LXM Pro game in the AM. Outback Steakhouse seemed fitting considering our looming RV tour into the wilderness.
Saturday, Sept. 29
In the morning, we hit the IHOP so Mike could get proper fuel for the game. Then we headed over to the LXM venue and set up shop. Going into the event, I was curious as to how many people would be there, but the turn out really shocked me.
The place was teeming with young lacrosse players and fans, all of whom seemed to gravitate toward the Easton/LAS tent. Most of them left with a bit of LAS gear and got to check out Easton’s soon-to-be Stealth Core line. It was awesome to realize that Utah is filled with lacrosse enthusiasts, and it’s quite a testament to the growth of the sport.
By the time the LXM game started, thousands of fans lined the field. It was straight up live action. In the end, Team STX came out with a 16-14 win over Team Sole, but Mike had 5 points and a nice behind-the-back goal. Overall, the LXM 801 event was a huge success. Undoubtedly, the game of lacrosse grew a little bit on September 29th, and it was an honor to witness and take part in it.
To top it all off, we had some down time in the hotel Saturday night, and we ended up taking part in a Polynesian wedding party. I even got my hair braided. I don’t want to jump to any conclusions, but I think this was a sign of acceptance.
Sunday, Sept. 30
The day following the LXM game was spent on the road. To be safe, though, we again hit IHOP in the morning for maintenance. Then we hopped in the rental car and headed to the LAS headquarters in Boise, Idaho. The Polynesian wedding event had taken its toll, so I literally slept the entire 6 hours. By late afternoon, we had arrived in Boise and enjoyed a nice dinner and some down time.
In my opinion, Boise is an awesome city with great people and great food. Idaho is certainly more than just potatoes.
Monday, Oct. 1
We woke up Monday and checked out the Lacrosse All Stars office in downtown Boise. It’s a cozy little space, a microcosm of the city itself. We did a ton of filming, ranging from more serious interviews to our bizarre expectations for a crammed RV journey.
During the afternoon, we didn’t have much planned, so we decided to take a trip to Ann Morrison Park and visit the local youth fall ball league. We did a little stick trick challenge with a local kid named Alex, and he was delighted when we awarded him a full Easton stick.
Inevitably, this attracted a few more youngsters who wanted to take part. The next young fella did the challenge with a donut in his mouth the entire time. While we didn’t have any gear to give him, he undoubtedly earned our respect with that move. We left Ann Morrison Park satisfied, knowing that our small challenge had made a huge impact on a few young players. What started as an impromptu trip to a local youth game became something much bigger.
I’m excited for some of the footage to surface because the whole thing was really cool. So here I sit Monday night, and there is a bit of anxiousness in the air. Tomorrow morning we pick up the RV and find out just how many of us will share a queen bed.