For those of you that didn’t catch it on ESPN2, here are some highlights from the MLL championship weekend…
I thought in light of this great footage I would share my two cents on the MLL and its future. I think Connor Wilson had some great points in his article this past weekend, particularly with the rules. I can completely agree that, when given a chance, some of the new rules really bring a fun new perspective to the game – akin to playing mini-games at practice like fireball. However, it takes a certain familiarity with the game to really appreciate this new perspective and doesn’t really have the same appeal to someone learning the game for the first time. In fact, for the unfamiliar it could come off as downright confusing to have each league so distanced by their different rules and create intra-sport competition – which is the last thing a fledgling league needs. As is appropriate in the middle of a game of beer pong (also known as Beirut) I think a rulebook consolidation is in order. The more the fresh faces can relate to lacrosse as a whole, the easier it will be to market.
Another point I would like to bring up is that for the casual sports fan there just isn’t enough time in the day to be a true fan of every league. Furthermore, when it takes all sorts of effort to go dig up the lacrosse news and coverage the result is a fan path of least resistance which doesn’t end in lacrosse. It’s not that I am suggesting stealing air time from other sports (although seeing all MLB airtime given to NCAA lax/MLL would make me happier than a kitten following a leaky cow), but more that we as lacrosse players and promoters really need to make it easy for sports fans to become completely immersed in the world of lacrosse.
One way to accomplish this is to start the seed early. I, for one, can say that I played lacrosse because my dad introduced me to it when I was about 12. I had to make a choice in spring between lacrosse and baseball, and of course I went for what my dad showed me and loved. I can’t thank all my coaches enough for putting their time in to show me what an incredible game and community lacrosse is. Once I had the initial exposure, it was clearly the sport I would choose over any others. The sort of fandom that the MLL needs right now can, in my opinion, only be fostered further with personal and frequent marketing to the youth of the world today, such that when given the choice between lacrosse and the alternative, there’s no competition.