Editor’s Note: While there have been some high profile stories of NCAA lacrosse players in Iraq, there had only been one other mention in the news of an MCLA player overseas (Conner Zwinggi from Oklahoma). LacrosseAllStars would like to introduce you to Zack Porter. Zack is in Iraq right now, and his lacrosse career has been put on hold while he serves his Country.
It’s easy to get wrapped up in the passion and competiton of sports but sometimes it only takes a few pictures to capture the real meaning of the game we play. Here are a couple snapshots of Sergeant Zack Porter, who is currently on loan to the good people of Iraq (via the Washington National Guard). Zack is a HUGE fan LacrosseAllStars.com and a member of the University of Idaho Men’s Lacrosse Team.
After only two years of playing high school lacrosse,(Editor’s Note: Sgt. Porter had no previous lacrosse experience when he began playing for the University of Idaho in the fall of 2006, but worked his way into the starting lineup by the spring, even more a testament to his athletic ability!) Zack used his natural athleticism and speed to make himself an asset and help the Idaho Vandals as they embarked on their journey from habitual PNCLL basement dwellers to playoff contenders.
Sergeant Zack Porter of Tri-Cities, Washington poses in front of the goal he shoots on in Iraq. He believes the goal has been there for less than two years and has been used a lot, as evident by the many welding repair jobs.
Zack joined the National Guard in order to help pay for college, and although he has missed an occasional lacrosse practice due to obligations, he has succeeded at juggling school, lax, and his military commitment all the while maintaining a 3.0-plus grade point average. Having only played a few years, Zack is part of the new wave of lacrosse enthusiasts who have transfered over from mass appeal sports. And since picking up a stick in high school he’s been unable to part himself from the game. So, he did what any right minded soldier would do when he heard he was headed to Iraq: he took it with him.
In addition to his stick, Zack tried to bring all of his lacrosse gear with him, but his request was denied. But of lacrosse in a war zone Zack seems to have found a bright spot in what some might consider a period of exile:
“The nice thing about being here is that there is a million concrete barriers to hit the wall with.”
He stumbled across the goal in these pictures on his way back from a mission. When he stopped to watch a flag football game he spotted the goal in a corner of a sandlot. He drove past it again a few days later, and he saw several guys from another unit playing catch around it – that’s when he said it was “on like Donkey Kong.” He jumped into the mix to play catch and partake in a few pickup games before the unit’s term in Iraq was up. After the unit left a few months into Zack’s tour, he was faced with the challenge of cultivating new guys from within his own unit to play and share the game with.
Sergeant Porter working on his shot
Sergeant Porter says he has enjoyed the experience of teaching because he gets to see how far he has come since he first picked up a stick in the fall of 2006. These days he only gets to the cage once a week, twice if he’s lucky, but it makes him “forget (he’s) in Iraq for a little bit.”
Sgt. Porter and the LAS Staff would love to know how the goal managed to find its way out to the Middle East. If you have any information on how it got there then drop us a line at [email protected]. Until then it’s just going to have to stay an awesome mystery. Somebody call Scooby Doo!