Editor’s Note: Please welcome Josh Potter back to LAS! Josh loves playing and coaching lacrosse, and I met him for the first time in Prague two years ago playing in the Ales Hrebesky Memorial box lacrosse tournament. Josh is sharing his story of getting back into the game, and in a whole new way!
In the last 16 months I’ve had a surgery on each of my Achilles tendons. The first was a complete tear on the right side which basically required a complete replacement, yes replacement. I guess that’s what I get for diving on the crease. I play defense, what was I thinking? The second was a preventive surgery, it didn’t require a replacement, but it did require a lot of attention and rehab. I have a pair of really cool scars now, but nothing else good had come of these injuries.
Until last Sunday.
I got an email about a pick up game of box lacrosse on Sunday morning at 10AM… Uggh AM, as in, the morning right? Also:
“I can’t run Jim. I’ve got two bad wheels, fella.”
The president of the Liberty Indoor Lacrosse League, Jim Fee, was actually asking me to play in goal. I had tried this only once before, just for the fun of trying it, a while back. Jim remembered how much fun I had and thought that since they needed another tender for Sunday that I might like this opportunity. Now I can’t run, and I still like playing box lacrosse, so the transition in this particular case only seemed natural. It was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.
“I’m in Jim, where are we playing?”
Cue your favorite villains theme music… “Northeast Philly” was his response, and my whole body shuddered as those fear chills trickled down my spine. You see, I’m a suburban guy. I grew up on a farm. Literally, a farm. For some people Northeast Philly has reputation for being a rough part of town, I’m one of those people.
I meet the guys at 10AM sharp after a one hour drive on the turnpike from my comparatively back-woods town. I am greeted by two players I know, Bill and… Bill. In the time I waited for Jim to show up with the goalie gear, I had time to talk with the Bills about the outdoor hockey floor we were standing on. The floor has large cracks that appear to have been repaired several times, there’s boards and chain link fence surrounding us. The Bills point out that it must have been a quiet night last night since there was only “some” broken glass in the two north corners of the floor.
Jim arrives shortly after our broken glass identification game, which I think I won since I was able to point out a bottle of Steele Reserve. Good start to the day I thought, I’m already a point ahead of everyone! I quickly donned my borrowed gear, and it smelled just like roses. Dead roses, dead roses in a garbage dump for restaurant food. Chinese food.
After the traditional stick pile to pick sides, we were on our way. Jim was behind the boards giving me very helpful tips the entire no-contact match. He pointed out that leaving a three inch gap was more like leaving a mile to a good box shooter, and with that piece of sage advice I quickly let two goals in, just past the one mile gap I had left open by my right leg.
After a few more minutes I started to get the hang of this position a little better. I take a decent shot directly to my left forearm from the youngest player on the floor, Henry. Henry is very young, but since this is no contact, Henry can hang with the big boys today. Henry hurt me, but I was able to contain my pain a bit. Since I am relatively new to this position, I am lacking proper posture at times and this meant I was leaving bare skin exposed.
We play on a bit more, and honestly I am impressed with the way everyone played that morning. I mean really, playing in Philly you’re required to keep a cheese steak in one hand at all times while reciting quotes from Rocky. If you’re from New Joysee, you are expected to shout out what exit you live off of every time you hit the floor. It’s tough up here in the North East.
A few more “Trenton exit”, and “get up you sonuva bitch, cause Mickey loves ya” plays later, I took a shot to the right fore arm. This was a much faster shot than little Henry’s, so of course the pain was great enough to warrant an audible ouchy ouch! To which, goalie for the PBLA Grim Reapers Frank Menschner, my counterpart in the opposing net shouted over “don’t ever let em’ know you’re hurt, sissy!.” Got it Frank…. suck it up and keep playing.
At that point, I decided I’d rather roll in the broken glass over there in the corner than keep taking shots on my wrists, so we wrap it up and head out for lunch. Overall, it was a great morning of lacrosse, my first ever “inner-city” experience, and I loved every minute of it. I am expecting to play next Sunday morning and then onto Friday nights in the LILL.