Editor’s Note: Today we welcome back JR Oreskovich for his final installment on the USIL (US Indoor Lacrosse) Combine. Yesterday was a lot of running and today’s action focuses on the actual playing. Nothing like running a group of guys til their legs fall off only to have them come back the next day for full contact box lacrosse! The NFL has nothing on these guys!
The Final Day
by JR Oreskovich
Most of us made it back today, although there were a few casualties the first day, most notably Josh Pourcell. A few pulled muscles and a separated shoulder from what I can gather was the extent of the damage to the group. Everybody I have talked to so far said that they were asleep by ten last night so I don’t feel bad that I missed the end of the Miami game. There are lots of red bulls and 5-hour energy drinks going around.
The game schedule is up and each team is playing 3 times and possibly 4. It is time for a warm up before some stick drills. One notable difference to the field game is that before we play, we do “arc shooting” which basically consists of every player on the team lining up from sideline to sideline in front of the goalie and shooting one at a time starting on one side and ending on the other. I don’t think it is to help the shooters but some people are letting it fly. Also, hitting the goalie in the head is a big faux pas apparently.
Red played in the first game so I am trying to get my legs back right now. We lost to the black team which I am being told has been playing together on the US developmental team for a few years. It was pretty ugly at first with a lot of hitting and people leaving the box early but the referee tightened up the play by the end. I can see that Dave Huntley, from the Wings, is here along with the Buffalo staff. Tom Ryan, from Boston is on his way but there has been no word from Minnesota or Orlando as of yet.
We came out firing but ended up losing the second game. Once the blue team jumped up on us they couldn’t miss – three shots, three goals. Then we went scoreless in the final quarter to round out the beating. Now we break for a sandwich and for team blue and black to get their stuff together before the next 50 minute long game.
The championship game is on. Black is up two and their first round bye looks like it helped. Blue is mostly field guys but they are playing tough. Everybody not playing is lingering around the field trying to figure out if they should stay or if there is anything after the championship. I am going to stay to try to get some feedback on the weekend from the coaches. Three minutes left in the third and blue has tied it up.
Black won after a 3-0 run to start the fourth. Although we were all here to impress somebody and stand out, we are gassed and happy the weekend is over. The coaches speak to the group as a whole and then we are off. If they are interested in bringing somebody in, they will email or call them during the next week; even the coaches and scouts are tired and want to get home. I won’t speak for anybody else but I am pretty beat up. I can barely move my legs. My upper back is sore and when I get in and out of a seated position I need to use my hands to help guide my lower body. (Connor’s note: welcome to my world… every day!)
JR’s Final Takeaways:
In conclusion, I am pretty happy with the way the weekend went. We learned a lot and there were not too many injuries or fights. The group was happy to be there and players didn’t try to overextend themselves. I wasn’t sure what to expect but I came in trying to stand out as an athlete and I think that I was able to accomplish that. I expected our team to win some more games but I learned a lot and am a better player in both the field and indoor games because of it. My cardio was never really a problem but my legs need some work I think. I wish everybody the best of luck because I think that the more people that can break into camps, the better it is for everybody. The game does not lack talented athletes, so as young lacrosse players if we can send a couple of Americans to rosters each year, more and more opportunities will open up. With the massive contraction in the pro ranks in both leagues this year, it is a very difficult time to be an undrafted guy. Teams are loyal to their returners and there simply are not enough teams to showcase the number of outstanding players. It was a humbling experience in that sense but I do believe that if a few of us can make it to the next level, we will excel.