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Illinois’ Finest

3 - Published October 22, 2010 by in Club

Editor’s note: Please welcome our newest contributor, Christopher Weed, to LAS!  He’ll be checking in from the greater Illinois area from time to time.  Let’s make him feel welcome, shall we?
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Oh Hey Illinois, I didn’t see you there…

Welcome to the land of Lincoln.  Nothing but fun with politics, corn as far as the eye can see… and the source of my inspiration for writing for LAS.  While Illinois (mainly Chicago) isn’t considered a hotbed for lacrosse, it’s absolutely alive and well in the city and state.

Ahhhhh, the Windy City, where the food is quality and the professional sports teams are not.  Alright, I shouldn’t say all of them aren’t quality; the Hawks did just win the Stanley Cup.  But with a 100+ years without a World Series (Editor’s note: since this is his first post, we will excuse Mr. Weed for making a baseball reference) on the North Side and a nickname like the “Second City”, finding your way to the top can be tough.  Couple that with one professional lax team that had a 13 game losing streak through the first two seasons, and another that folded up and it’s hard to believe lacrosse is even alive in the city at all.

While the professional lax scene has come and gone (for now) in the city, there’s still a good pulse for lacrosse around, just gotta do a fair amount of digging.  This week, I want to focus on the men’s clubs around the area.

There are currently 4 different men’s clubs in the city that compete in the Midwest Cities Lacrosse Conference. There are 4 divisions in the MCLC according to state (Illinois, Ohio, Michigan and Minnesota). The Chicago Lacrosse Club is by far the oldest of the clubs and boasts the strongest roster on paper.  Alumni from Syracuse, Ohio State, Cornell, Navy and a host of other D1 schools seem to gravitate towards CLC if they take up roots in the greater Chicagoland area.

Chicago area men's club lacrosse in the late 90's.

CLC has won 11 of the past 20 MCLC championships. Lincoln Park Lacrosse Club would be #2 in the pecking order and anchors itself around a core of former D1 players living on the North Shore. Sprinkle that with some D3 and MCLA guys and you’ve got a decent squad that travels well and plays pretty fearlessly.

Next is Windy City, a combination of mostly former MCLA players from University of Illinois and Illinois State, the team is definitely has more of a blue collar ethic to them, and needs it in order to compete with the talent that CLC and LPLC have been able to cultivate over the years.

Lastly is Chitown Lacrosse Club.  They’re the newcomers on the block, having only been in existence since 2005.  The roster is mostly former MCLA guys, but their youth makes them a very athletic team.

Definitely an exciting game whenever any of these teams get together.  None of these teams have a fondness for the other and they ALL treat the rivalry games like it’s being played in M&T Bank. So if you have the opportunity to catch one of these, I’d recommend it.

So while the average Chicagoan doesn’t have a clue what’s going on in the lacrosse world, you can still find a game or two around the city. In fact, there’s men’s indoor tonight in the neighborhood, so I’ll be following up with that soon.

I’d like to close on a different topic with my eatery recommendation for the city. You’ve seen it on “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” and it absolutely can’t be passed up.  Smoque is the reason I can’t live in Irving Park. Living within 5 miles of the place would convince me to give up running midfield anymore.  A BBQ experience second to none and it receives my highest recommendation.

By the way, I loved Knox Hutchinson’s review of Chi-town from the summer – it’s been stuck in my mind since I read it and it pretty much convinced me to start writing for LAS!

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