Editor’s note: What follows is an open and honest review of the 2011 Las Vegas Lacrosse Showcase. This is the second 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.
If you are interested in having LAS review your tournament, please feel free to drop us a line.
Spring and summer are the best seasons to enjoy lacrosse… high school and college ball in the spring and club ball and MLL in the summer, how could it get better than that? At least, until last weekend, that was my thinking. Then Las Vegas and the Las Vegas Lacrosse Showcase proved me wrong.
Combine the brightest city in the USA with THE best sport in the USA, and you have yourself a great overall environment, with endless opportunities for fun on and off the field.
Bienvenidos a Las Vegas mi amigos!
I assumed that with my collegiate career over, so was my time playing fall ball, boy was I wrong. About a month or so ago, I got an invitation to play with the Bigfoot Lax All Stars team that was going to Vegas for this tournament. I had played against Bigfoot Lacrosse in Bend, OR, this summer and an LAS team in McCall as well; both were great teams and the Bigfoot team in Bend actually beat us (the Scallywags) to take home a gigantic Sasquatch trophy. So, I jumped right on board and sent my RSVP back to Jonny B with an exclamation mark inside the “yes” check box.
The Idaho portion of the Bigfoot Lax All Stars team arrived in Las Vegas on Friday afternoon thanks to a short flight from Southwest. After a quick stop at the field to drop off some goodies for all of the teams, we headed out to find some grub… In-N-Out being the obvious choice. Even though In-N-Out isn’t a “Vegas specific” food joint, it is a delicious one. Considering my ANIMAL STYLE double-double and all of the other scrumptious options for food the city has to offer, you should all know what comes next. Delicious pregame meal for under $10… +2
With our bellies filled, we drove back to the hotel for a short rest before the evening game required our presence. We had a very nice room at Rumor (if you whisper the name it sounds better) Las Vegas. It was very affordable, and all-in-all, it was a sweet hotel. I’m pretty sure it was an older hotel that they renovated and gave a modern feel. Affordable and comfortable accommodations… +1
Off-field activities at the tournament were almost as fun as the tournament itself (obviously, it’s Vegas). As soon as games were over, we headed back to (make sure to whisper) the Rumor and got all fancied up for the evening’s events. Jonny B apparently knows everyone in Vegas, so we got the VIP treatment at the Cathouse in the Luxor and went off into the night. From what I heard, arrival times back to people’s respective hotels throughout the weekend ranged from 1:30 am (us… weak, I know) to 8:30 am. I think it goes without saying that the off-field activities get a good score. 24/7 off-field activities… +1
But as is the case with all lacrosse tournaments, first and foremost you are there to lax. As I already mentioned, a fall-ball tournament with an Elite and Master’s bracket gets a good score as it is. Add some great competition from around the United States to the mix, sprinkle a few professional players on top, and you’ve got yourself a complete and totally awesome lacrosse experience. We’ll talk about this more later in the Bigfoot Lax All Stars section of the review, but being able to play with and against names like Brett Hughes, Brian Silcott, Zack Greer, and Anthony Kelly (just to name a few) is an awesome experience. It just goes to show you how tightly-knit the lacrosse community is. Prescription to lax… +1
I wasn’t able to check out every single field during my time at the tourney (there were 11 of them!), so I couldn’t tell you every single player that was there. But what I can tell you is there was a great mix of talent at this tourney, and it helped make the Men’s Elite bracket perfectly competitive for a fall ball outing. Talent included the pro’s I’ve already mentioned, plus guys from several MCLA schools, Lynchburg, Brown, Whittier, Salisbury, LXM Pro, and probably countless others I couldn’t identify or just didn’t see. Talent variety… +1
Bigfoot Lax All Stars Hit the Field
The Bigfoot Lax All Stars team was made up of quite the hodge podge of players. We had everything from MCLA players all the way to professionals, from cities throughout the entire United States. This created the first big obstacle – trying to gel and mesh with each other from the get-go. Even despite what I just said, we started off our first game on a hot streak, going “all in” (see what I did there?) and going up four goals on our first opponent before they came roaring back to make the game close.
That was how the weekend went, we hit spurts of great fluidity, followed by moments of absurd errors. We all had one big thing in common though – a great passion for the game. That fact was proven throughout every game the entire weekend, whether it was making a comeback, working together to hold onto a win, or even just supporting our new teammates after a bad play or one of our losses. Everyone was in it for the right reason, and I’ve got to say I love being on teams like that.
Overall, we went 2-2 on the weekend, defeating Salt Shakerz and Division, and losing to Xiphos and South Bay. Our team spent quite a bit of time getting to know each other and building a little bit of team chemistry inbetween games, and the tournament-wide party on Saturday night did a great job of bringing multiple teams together. Not to mention the view from the pre-party, which was in a suite on the 33rd floor of the Cosmopolitan…
It was great to have the chance to meet all of these new faces and incredible talent on the Bigfoot Lax All Stars, but it was a little tough to do any true team bonding. However, we made the most out of the time we had and we took every advantage to build some camaraderie. Even with a 2-2 record, we still had a great run. Team satisfaction… +1
As someone who has had a behind-the-scenes look at how a team is created and helped run a small tournament, it was definitely important to take notice of the management aspect of the Las Vegas Lacrosse Showcase when conducting this review. Hosting a tournament of this size is in no way an easy task – especially in Vegas where one might think a lot could go wrong.
However, from the moment we arrived to the fields, there were a ton of event staffers helping to manage the event – from preparing goody bags for each team to overseeing the execution of each game. The behind-the-scenes work at this tournament looked to stretch for miles.
Everything ran incredibly well from my perspective, and it didn’t hurt their cause that the tournament was held in the 11-field complex of Kellogg Zaher Park. Even for the tournament party Saturday night, Cassie was downstairs helping direct traffic to the suite up on the 33rd floor. That’s dedication.
The tournament also had had a clinic for the little ones. Zack Greer, Brett Hughes, Michael Brand, Coach Lamb (Adams State College), and Coach Schneck (BYU) all helped to give the young laxers some direction and tips to improve their game. Something for the kids… +1
I can’t forget to mention the fact that there were seven, count’em, seven brackets. Master’s, Elite, College, U-19, U-17, U-15, and a Women’s division. Maybe you won’t believe it until you check out the schedules on their website. Now that is some intense event scheduling. Event execution… +2
Vegas Baby, Vegas!
I’ve just got three words for you – Vegas Baby, Vegas! With 13 years now under its belt, the Las Vegas Lacrosse Showcase is the best fall-ball lacrosse tournament this side of the Mississippi. On top of that, the event organizers truly work hard to grow the game.
Big props go out to Cassie Shannon and Neil Butterfield from Vitality Lacrosse for putting on such a successful event.
Total Score: 10/10