Editor’s Note: Jackson Davis is a self-proclaimed lacrosse fanatic, entrepreneur, and super dope guy. He was able to take in a couple of Charlotte Hounds games this Summer and jumped at the chance to get a quick post-game Fireside Chat Interview with the Charlotte Hounds’ Billy Bitter.
5,013 fans, from all around North and South Carolina, came to the 6th home game of the brand new professional lacrosse team, the Charlotte Hounds. The atmosphere at the 76-year-old Charlotte Memorial Stadium was very energetic, giving the experience a huge boost. Family and friends enjoyed tailgating and talking to players before the game. For 5,013 people, it sounded like a packed house. It’s true; Charlotte really is crazy about Lacrosse.
I got the chance to talk to UNC grad and MLL All Star, Billy Bitter. Wearing the number 4 jersey for the new team and in his second season in the MLL, Billy started his career with the Denver Outlaws but was traded to the Hounds during the last draft period. My first impressions when I got to talk to him were that he oozes swag, he’s very clear with words, and has the attitude of a leader. Needless to say, he was pretty chill.
What’s your favorite position to play in lacrosse?
Billy Bitter: Attack, that’s the only position I have played in my life… basically my whole life. It’s what I’m used to and I have always had fun with it.
How is Mike Cerino’s coaching style different from Joe Breschi’s, if at all?
Billy Bitter: It’s a little different. Obviously, the game is a little different; the shot clock is a new experience, and only practicing one day a week is another change. The one thing I notice is that they are both very similar off the field – great people, very welcoming, and very personable. It’s always a good thing to have in a coach. [Also] the coaching styles have to be different, due to the fact that the game is a lot different, the speed of play, and not being able to see the other players. Other than that, I would say they are pretty similar.
Where do you see lacrosse as a sport in 10 years?
Billy Bitter: I can see it growing a lot more on the West coast and in the Midwest… Basically not all in the Northeast where all the colleges are and the top ten [lacrosse] schools are. I can see it might be going to some colleges out in the West, which would be great. More teams in the MLL too would be great.
What is your favorite pre-game meal?
Billy Bitter: Peanut butter and jelly! Light on the jelly. Toasted.
What do you do before a game?
Billy Bitter: Not much. A lot of guys try to come out here and shoot around, try to get loose. I just try to keep to myself. I listen to music, sort of stretch out and relax.
What’s your favorite type of music?
Billy Bitter: I have a pretty big collection of music on my computer, but I like anything from Country to Dance. Right now I say I’m into Dance music. Heavy beats. A little bit of Dub Step but I get a headache from that stuff. (Laughs)
What do you do other than play lacrosse?
Billy Bitter: I like to ski, I like to hike. I ski a lot in the winter, it’s one of my favorite things to do and I have pretty much done it my whole life. Hiking is a really good time too… boating, cliff jumping, a lot of outdoor stuff.
Question from the Followers, Are you single?
Billy Bitter: (Slight Smirk) No.
How do you like Charlotte?
Billy Bitter: I like it a lot, Charlotte couldn’t be better. An easy one hour flight down here on the weekends, the coaching staff is great, and our front office is awesome. They treat us great so we’re really lucky, the fans are easily the best part.
Do you think staying at Deerfield Academy for an extra year had an impact on your skills?
Billy Bitter: Definitely. For one, Deerfield is just a very difficult school academically, and you’re also living on your own. It definitely helped me before I went off to college on my own, very far away from home. That extra year also helped me to tune up my skills that I needed to work on. I had a great coach there who really helped me improve my game.
How is the chemistry on the team?
Billy Bitter: I think it’s great. If you see us in the locker room after the games and before the games, we are very friendly with one another… and are always laughing on the bus. (The play) on the field … will eventually come. We literally just started as a team, so that always takes time. It’s tough to know each other’s tendencies when you only have practice once a week, but I think we are heading in the right direction. I see a lot of promise with the people we have and I can see bright things in our future.
How often does your family go to your games?
Billy Bitter: They haven’t been to one yet. I’m the fifth of six kids, so there’s a lot of lax in their life. It doesn’t bother me at all though; I know they are busy on weekends. Eventually they will be able to make it to a few games. Hopefully this summer, if not next summer. They always try to watch my games on TV or ESPN3.
Does Jimmy, your brother, ask for advice?
Billy Bitter: He does and I always try to reach out to him, send him a text before the game with stuff to work on… always congratulate him on the games he played. Just constantly keeping with him and telling him to keep his head up and push on.
How was the MLL All-Star game?
Billy Bitter: It was a lot of fun and I had a great time. I thought they did an awesome job with the fans and the crowd. The half time show was fun to watch. Overall it was a great experience – great weather and everything.
What does your offseason look like?
Billy Bitter: It’s pretty basic. I work in New York City, 9am to 5pm. The weekends I’ll have off. After work I’ll train, if not before. It’s pretty relaxing, not too busy, which is great because it’s been a lot of lacrosse for me this summer so far.
Did you have any role models growing up?
Billy Bitter: My dad is one for sure. He always helped me and taught me a lot of my game that I know today. Mikey Powell is one guy too; I remember watching him, he was pretty sick. Lacrosse wasn’t on TV as much as it is now and YouTube didn’t even exist so I wasn’t as lucky as these kids are today. Anytime the game was on I would try to catch it on TV or go to games that were near where I was from, up North.
Any advice to Laxers that want to make it big like you?
Billy Bitter: Play as much as you can, always have your stick with you. Bring it where ever you are and play other sports too.
Great stuff from Jackson and Billy! If you want to see more great stuff like this, pick up some gear from The Lacrosse Shop, so we can keep paying the bills, and bringing you the best lacrosse coverage anywhere!