The PLL (Professional Lacrosse League) has suffered some major setbacks early on, and is off to a somewhat rocky start, but I’m not ready to give up on the league just yet. There is still potential to move forward in a positive way and it’s far from the end of the organization, but if we don’t start seeing a change from the league soon, things could definitely get rockier.
The first major issue facing the PLL is that the New Jersey Rascals franchise has dropped out of the 2012 season. Apparently, they are waiting for 2013. That means Reading (PA), Jacksonville and Charlotte are left as the three remaining teams, and from the looks of things, on September 15th, Charlotte will head down to Jacksonville for the first-ever PLL regular season game. On the 22nd, Jacksonville heads to Charlotte for the second game.
And that brings up the second major issue facing the league right now: The schedule hasn’t been released beyond two games between Charlotte and Jacksonville, and Reading is set to finish training camp this week. This seems like a minor issue, as creating a schedule for three teams should not be that hard, but planning a professional game is not quite that easy, so not having a set schedule already makes me a bit nervous about availability, not only for the arenas, but for the players.
The third major issue for the league is the recent resignation of Brett Vickers, former PLL President. All the press releases say Vickers left to pursue other opportunities, but if that is the case, then why did he accept the job in the first place, only to leave within a couple of months, citing an interest in “other” things? Leadership is key for a young league, and this is a concern. Although to be fair, the owners of the three remaining franchises do seem more committed to moving forward. That’s a good thing, because if those guys aren’t 100% invested, it’s simply not going to work.
The fourth, and final, point of concern for the PLL has to be that the league is based out of New York, and has teams in PA, NC and FL. Now this might seem like an innocuous issue, but it underlies the fact that the PLL did not start small. Players aren’t driving to games 2 hours away, they are flying. Meetings in person require flights and hotel rooms, and if the teams don’t cover all the costs, players will be left paying to play, in a sense. Again, it’s not a death knell, but it requires an investment up front, and a serious one at that.
Now, to be fair, the PLL could still make it work. One only need look at the NALL for proof. Last year, it was a bit of an ad-hoc operation. Kentucky was there, and for real, and for Boston really came along nicely by the end of the “season”. The New Jersey team also had some good moments. It was FAR from a perfect first season, but they got through it, and the players seemed to like it, for the most part. Year 2 should be that much better.
So while the above four points are important, and definitely hit on some of the PLL’s biggest struggles, the league isn’t done yet. If they can get through year one together, and take care of the guys playing as well as their fans, the PLL could end up being just fine. Now it’s time to wait, and see.
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LACROSSE VIDEO OF THE WEEK:
I love this Canada goal (it’s all about teamwork!) but we already posted that… it’s time for something even spicier!
Yup, goalie goal. Garret Curran goes end to end for Lynchburg in the 2008 ODAC Championship game. Love it, Lynchburg!