Editor’s note: What follows is an open and honest review of the 2012 Fresno Lacrosse Festival. This is the fourth installment in LaxAllStars.com’s tournament review series. The process is simple: the reviewer has a maximum of 10 points to distribute over 8 categories, making the highest possible score 10/10.
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If you had called UC Davis alum Brian Walsh up last Friday night, you’d have heard the celebratory clatter of plastic boots filled with beer between friends at a German bar in San Francisco, CA.
If you had asked Brian, “do you want to wake up at the buttcrack of dawn tomorrow morning and go to Fresno to share a weekend of debauchery and excess in Fresno with 3 friends and 20 complete strangers?” He would’ve politely told you to forget it because frankly, some people think Fresno sucks, and he’s already safely behind a bootfull of German beer. “Oh, and here’s the kicker,” you would have continued, “you have to leave the bar and get to my house, which is an hour away. And you don’t have a car. And you have to do it right now.”
But if you FIRST told him you’d be going to Fresno to win a plastic trophy and be tournament champions, and then do all that other stuff, he’d be asleep on your bean bag chair by 12:30am that very night, dreaming less than peacefully of ripping ched and doing the Cat Daddy.
For those post-collegiate weekend warriors who will travel anywhere reasonable to play against another team, I empathize. Durrrty Mike ‘n the Boyz (my current club team) discovered how truly overwhelming our lacrosse addiction has become. There are few promises you could make that would get me to Fresno, California… but the promise of competitive lacrosse seems to trump all other preoccupations.
Now We’re In Fresno
The night life is exactly what you can make of it, and lacrosse truly was the most interesting thing that happened during the day. The hot tub full of dudes at the Residence Inn was a close second. Off-field activities +0. A bit of a rough start here.
My Team At The Fresno Tourney
The tournament was small, with eight teams competing for the title. The list included host Central California Lacrosse Club, MCLA schools CSU Monterey Bay and UC Merced, Chico Republic, Santa Barbara Community College, returning champs the Tahoe Dawgs, Palo Alto Club, and us… Durrrty Mike ‘n the Boyz. Our team was organized by Mike and Joe Vila of Xiphos fame, one of whom (we won’t say which) has acquired a nickname so fitting we named our team after him…
Look for the Tim Desko-style goal around the 2:40 mark:
Team Durrrty Mike was comprised of mostly WCLL players from Chico, UC Davis, Sonoma State, and Cal Poly and included high school coaches from Monte Vista, Amador Valley, and De La Salle high schools. This was definitely a Northern California born and bred team.
I’m glad none of us have kids yet, because the fields were a bit of a dustbowl in terms of entertainment for the young ones, however this isn’t one of my priorities at all. I don’t have progeny and I didn’t notice a ton of kid friendly stuff. Something #forthekids +0
Exploring The Area More Deeply
Because you don’t have the comfort of your own kitchen, one of the most important facets of any tournament is the local cuisine. Fresno, as a municipality, seemed to employ the usual suspects in dine-and-dash eateries. Quizno’s, Chipotle, Popeyes, etc. The only reason the Fresno Festival is getting a score in the food department at all is this little hole in the wall we found called Big Bruh’s Soul Food. The best fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and mac ‘n cheese I’ve ever taken out. I will go back there every single time I attend this tournament, it was that good. Food +2
The one really nice thing about locating your tournament in “California’s Armpit” as my former roommate so lovingly calls it, is the hotel rooms are incredibly affordable. This is the first tournament I’ve ever been to where I could afford to sleep in a Queen sized bed without a teammate playing big spoon. I always seem to be little spoon… Accommodations +1
A Different Tournament Approach Is Appreciated!
I have also never played in a tournament where current MCLA programs competed directly against men’s club lacrosse teams, so this formatting was a bit new for us and it definitely favored the older, more experienced squads. Durrrty Mike ‘n the Boyz was almost entirely comprised of post-collegiate players with a few years of on-field experience on some of the MCLA teams we played against. Although it was fun for us, and a learning experience for some teams, I would have liked to see more of the Tahoe-style talent come out to play. Playing Experience +1
After a hard fought semifinal battle between Palo Alto and the Tahoe Dawgs, some of team Durrrty Mike prepared for a championship rematch from 2011, while those of us who were absent the year before only remembered the Dawgs from the Tahoe tourney.
In the end, Durrrty Mike walked away with a handed victory and the Fresno Lacrosse Festival trophy. And then we did the Dirty Mike face. Team Satisfaction +1
I sincerely hope that more MCLA teams can pencil this tourney into their schedule next year, if only to help the rising DII teams experience what it’s like to play against the DI boys. I also hope that more post-collegiate clubs and groups of friends continue to bring talent to this every year, forming teams like ours to keep this tournament competitive as lacrosse in California continues to grow.
The Fresno Lacrosse Festival definitely has legs, and with a few years of recruiting talent it could be a major stop on the West Coast tourney circuit. Current Talent Variety, however gets a +0
The Big Picture
When all is said and done, I think this tournament was well put together given the early Spring date and location, and I’m extremely glad we made the trip. Event Execution +1
Total Score: 6/10
Check out the full gallery of photos from the 2012 Fresno Lacrosse Festival! All photo credit goes to Momma Rottman.