Hot Pot: I Should Have Gone D1


I should have gone D1.

Or maybe I’m just having a major case of gear envy….

To be honest, the words “I should have gone D1” should never come out of my mouth. I had a great experience playing D3 lacrosse, and attending school at Wesleyan truly opened up my mind. Also, I really wasn’t that good.

If given the chance to make a deal with the devil, and go back to change my choice, I wouldn’t take it… at least on most days, and my minutes played will always thank me for that.

However yesterday, after seeing this photo on Twitter, I almost changed my mind:

Just look at all that equipment. Must be nice! It may seem silly, but stuff like this really does make me pause and ruminate, “what if…

The draw of top notch free gear, playing on ESPNU, and being discussed online and in print (even by sites like this one!) is real. If it impacts me, it definitely impacts some of the kids of today. I’m not saying this is automatically bad, but it is something to keep an eye on, especially if you are a coach or parent.

As the manufacturers and colleges unveil all their 2013 gear, I’m sure we’ll continue to salivate over it, and there is nothing intrinsically wrong with that. However, I hope that we continue to have a conversation around recruiting, and kids finding the best fit for themselves, regardless of bells and whistles.

There are so many college choices out there, and a good number of them offer great lacrosse. D1 lacrosse will always have the biggest draw, as it is the pinnacle of the sport at the college level, but don’t be swayed by the gear, or the TV coverage. Don’t get caught up in the hype. Find the right school for YOU, and it will all work out. Even then you’ll get to wear stuff like this:


  1. Nice post.  But, D1 is about more than the gear.  It’s a full-time job, depending on the program.  At most schools, like the one I went to, we were able to pre-register for courses before the regular students.  However, this was offered in order for us to schedule our courses around practice.  

    Morning AND afternoon practices (sometimes on the same day), winter conditioning (While regular students get around a month off, we had to come back for the final three weeks to run at 7am every single day.  Many of us chose to take a 3 week compacted winter course, which took place directly after the 7am workout), and then spring practices, plus travel time were grueling.  We did not have a spring break Cabo vacation.  I feel like most people decide to play club or D3 because they want to have a “life.”  I was able to enjoy every aspect of D1 lacrosse.  My social life was enhanced because I was around some of the most competitive and accomplished people in the entire school.  

    Back to the gear!  We had full-reign of whatever the heck we wanted (provided by our team sponsors).  Break a shaft, get a new one from the equipment manager.  Bend a head (didn’t even have to be broken), grab a new one.  The luxury of gear comes with the hard work one puts forth.  

    • No question that D1 is about WAY more than just gear. I hope the post didn’t come across that way… it was simply the impetus for my thought process.

      During those moments when I say to myself, “I should have gone D1”, I also think about the early morning practices, access to team weight rooms, early class registration, and all the other things you mention. I still find it attractive, and a part of me still wishes I had gone that path. A part of me also wishes I had gone to Whittier or Chapman, and another part of me wishes I had gone to the AFA. I don’t see the path I took as the perfect or preferred one, but it did work for me as an athlete, a student, and a person.

      The D1 path can, and will, work for many, as it did for you. I don’t have a problem with it, or the gear. It’s just a good point to start a discussion.

      Thanks for the insightful comment. I hope more people will chime in with what their experience was like so that kids and parents out there will know what to expect when Jimmy goes off to college! Thanks again.

      • Thanks for the reply.  I didn’t mean to sound over the top either.  Life is full of choices.  I’m sure, knowing the people you know from school, you made the right choice.  Education, cost, and location are important, but I think the best thing to look for in a program/school is the culture and the people you’ll be surrounding yourself with.  Def.

        • I think this is a great point about priorities. Well made!

          I’m curious if you would consider a coach as part of “the people you’ll be surrounding yourself with”… what happens if that coach leaves? Just curious as we see this more often in football and basketball, and could see it more in lacrosse someday soon…

  2. Not to be focused on just the gear, but based off what LPG said, “We had full-reign of whatever the heck we wanted (provided by our team
    sponsors).  Break a shaft, get a new one from the equipment manager.
     Bend a head (didn’t even have to be broken), grab a new one.  The
    luxury of gear comes with the hard work one puts forth.”…what did you Connor at a D3 school do?

    Do D3 teams have equipment rooms or how do you get your gear? What if a head bends past usage or breaks?

    • Allow me to set the stage… this is going to be longer than it should be.

      The years were the early 2000s, aught to oh-three to be precise, and Wesleyan was the lowest funded lacrosse team in the NESCAC. Technically speaking, we had team helmets, but not enough, so I bought my own. Standard issue white. My first year we didn’t have team gloves, so everyone just wore black gloves. If you didn’t have black gloves, the team provided standard issue all black cloth Brine gloves. I think I wore some cloth L-27s. I loved them.Then we started getting team gloves, but if you wanted them outside of Feb-May you had to buy them. We paid retail prices for custom gloves. Not that bad. The school also bought a couple extra pairs for people who wouldn’t buy them, which was about 3 guys each year. We bought new gloves every year for a while. If you wanted to wear Trace arm pads, you could get some from the equipment manager, if he liked you. If you wanted something good, you bought it. They also gave out shoulder pad liners to people the guy liked. And we got grey sweatsuits that were awful and yet awesome, but had to turn those back in. If you took them you got charged $40.We did a discounted order for sticks at the beginning of the year. 20% off maybe? or 30? I can’t remember. Back then when you broke a head you could literally take it to a store in Hartford and they would give you a brand new one. Ah, the days of great warranties. That doesn’t happen anymore.We bought our own cleats, and we also bought a pair of game shorts each year. Honestly, I felt lucky when the trainers gave us white tape to use on our sticks for free as a freshman, but by the time I finished as an assistant there, we were doing a lot more.None of this seemed weird, or wrong to me. We were playing D3 lacrosse, and we weren’t Syracuse or Maryland. Lacrosse was a privilege, and while it may have seemed like a job to some guys on the team, most just did it because they enjoyed it, and liked competing.Fast forward ten years and it’s a different world. D3 teams get way more “stuff” than they used to, although many still pay for it, and I’m sure a LOT of teams were getting way more than we were when I was there. Wesleyan, for example, is much better funded and supported now than it was when I was there. The kids currently on that team have no idea what it was like a decade ago. Kids at Middlebury in 2003 would also look at me like I was crazy, but they had an established program, so it made sense for them to get the goodies.

  3. The amount of gear you get is a plus.   However I went to an MCLA school, played my butt off, played in a friendly against the Italian national team before the 2006 world games with my MCLA team and got my foot in the door with the national team.   Now I help design the gear that we use so not only do I get to wear sweet gear playing around the world but I get to actually help design it.   So like you Connor if I had a chance to go for a D1 school I wouldn’t change it for anything.    It doesn’t matter the path to your goal as long as you get there