The US Lacrosse Convention is a devastating whirlwind of lacrosse, packed into a single long weekend. While many seemed to think the event had dropped off in terms of quality and attendance a couple of years ago, last year’s event, and this year’s follow up, vigorously dismissed that idea.
The US Lacrosse Convention is WELL worth attending again, and I had a great time in 2013. Allow me to share some of my most memorable moments from this year’s excellent event, laid down in chronological order. It only got better as #LaxCon rolled on:
The Train Ride To Philly
I was bringing a big duffel bag of “stuff” down with me, so I opted for a slightly later train on Friday morning. This got me in to Philly by noon, and meant I didn’t have to deal with the commuter crowd. They don’t like me, and I don’t like them. Great move. Also, I got a row of seats to myself, and that allowed me to string a traditional Brine Super Light 2.
The Shiny Stuff
Obviously, I saw a ton of lacrosse gear at the convention. Check out my Live From #LaxCon post to get a super solid sampling of the best stuff at the Convention. Reebok stood out with custom colored gloves and heads. Under Armour had a large, exciting display. STX kept is simple with their gear, but brought a lot of talent to the event, and showed well. Maverik and Cascade brought in their gigantic trailer and showed off 458275945 beautiful helmets.
Warrior and Brine were pretty much missing in action from the convention floor. I saw Drew Westervelt in a Warrior jacket, but other than that and some Warrior HeadStrong helmets, I literally didn’t see anything else. I saw the Easton guys and while they didn’t have a booth, they came as attendees, and to me that just shows how much they truly love the game. All smiles as usual. Epoch held a super secret press event. You’ll love what they’re doing next!
HeadWrapz wowed the world with a 22 karat gold LaxAllStars helmet wrap. It is… UNREAL! Also, their set up was fantastic. I loved the cardboard chairs along with all the lacrosse and hockey helmets.
NLL Game Friday Night
I picked Buffalo to beat Philly on Friday night, and ended up getting to the game about halfway through, and to my surprise, Philly was winning, 8-4! Needless to say, I was intrigued, as my pick was NOT panning out. The game was great, the Philly crowd was loud and into the action, and you can expect a LOT more NLL coverage from me after seeing this one! The Americans are coming. This is the year.
Fields Of Growth Tent
The guys at FoG offered up a portion of their tent to a couple of groups who are Game Growers and givers. We were blessed to be a part of that group! From the old school gear we brought to the Harlem Lacrosse and Leadership set up, to the One World Lacrosse portion, to the amazing work on display from Jamaica and Uganda, the FoG tent truly had it all. If you were at convention, it was impossible to miss!
Paul Rabil – Hey Big Guy!
I met Paul Rabil for the first time at convention, and he was great. We talked a little box lacrosse, and I asked him how he got the five stitches on his chin. Cross check to the face in the Buffalo game the night before. He shrugged it off as part of the game. No big deal. Up close and in person, Rabil is a total monster. Standing next to him and Drew Westervelt made me feel like I was back with my family, where I am the midget of the brood, at 6’1″.
Wooden Stick Nirvana
Alfred E. Jacques had a booth at the Convention, right next to the ArtOfLax, and it was packed with gawkers more often than not. During the times when Alf thought he might get a breather, I made my way over and chewed his ear off with wooden stick talk. Actually, I just listened to Alf most of the time… he has so many amazing stories to tell, and an unreal perspective on the game. I’d like the thank Alf for taking so much time out to speak with me. I truly enjoyed the experience, and highly recommend listening to AEJ talk about lacrosse, if you ever get the chance.
Of course, I HAD to pick up one of his field sticks. It was the ONLY thing I paid for at Convention. It was well worth it. I used it Sunday to run a clinic in Brooklyn. It. Is. AWESOME. And as it breaks in, it will only get better.
Mike Powell On Repeat
I spoke with the one and only MP five times. Each time we talked about the exact same things, just in a different order: Grow The Game, visiting Syracuse, a new lacrosse/art project, NYC, and behind the back low fives. Subtle, but effective. I think we ironed some things out.
The Rhino Hat!
Ryan Powell’s Rhino hats were a hot item at the Convention. I picked up a simple, all black version, but there was plenty of color in some of the other options. I think these could be a hot item in 2013.
The Throne Of String Ride Home
I hitched a ride back to Brooklyn with the guys from Throne of String, which wasn’t anything new, as we often rode back from NYC box lacrosse games together this season. This ride was a little longer, and it was even better. We just talk lacrosse, life and anything else, and I truly enjoy spending time with Joe Williams and Chris Tiernan.
It’s like an R-rated Joe Rogate podcast, except everything we talk about is lacrosse related. It made a two hour+ trip fly by, and was a fantastic way to wrap up a long, exhausting weekend.
Overall, I highly recommend attending the convention. I got to meet a ton of new people in person, had a number of fantastic conversations, and definitely learned a thing or two. If I can learn at #LaxCon, you can learn at #LaxCon. Make the trip, and see for yourself, in 2014!