Vacation was, as it most often is, awesome and much needed. The lovely ladyfriend and I went down to my parents’ house in Vieques, Puerto Rico and hit up the tropic zone for a little bit of R&R. You can see the view from our kitchen to the left. The sun was great, the parental doting/cooking was exceptional and the overall trip was a huge success.
I even came face to face with the one and only “Starbury” on my way home and to answer all of your questions: Yes, he was flying commercial on JetBlue. Yes, he loves Louis Vuitton backpacks. And finally, yes, that Sigma tattoo on his head looks even sillier in person. I almost said that to him but due to the fact that I was an inch taller than he was, employed and at least 41% more handsome, I just let it go.
Much to my surprise, I saw a pro baller but didn’t see one lacrosse stick in all of my time in Puerto Rico. Ok, I wasn’t actually surprised at all. Unfortunately however, that means I didn’t manage to get any of my own sticks down there either… so I am now going to ship a couple spicy wands down to the familial compound for future use. When my brother goes down for a visit next time, I’m sure he’ll break at least one of them. I’ll make sure to tell him to take it easy when I go to visit him for theNew Orleans Lacrosse Tournament February 5th to the 7th.
I’ll throw out some more vacation stories as the week progresses but for now, I’ll end with this: I rode a horse for the first time and like everything else I try, with the exception of basketball and facing off, I was awesome at it. Sure, they’re glorified joy ride ponies and it was just a simple jaunt on some hillside trails but I was awesome. At least that’s what my girlfriend said and why would she lie?
Ok, enough of that for now… let’s get back to business. As I predicted, John Grant, Jr. and the old man himself, Gary Gait, have teamed up in Rochester with fantastic results. It was a really tough prediction, I know! Gary legend went 3-2 and JGJ dropped 8 points on Buffalo. Ouch. The Bandits got 1-2 from my favorite NLL player, Mark Steenhuis, in the losing effort but had to do without the services of John Tavares. Ok, a lil’ less ouch.
Toronto kicked Boston’s ass HARD: 17-7. I’m not sure if Jack Reid fought anyone or tried the Fail Gait again but whatever happened did not work out well for the Blazers. Rock Rookie (Rockie?) Garrett Billings dropped 5 goals and chipped in with 2 assists. Colin Doyle only scored one goal but managed to help on NINE others. The Rock is back, baby.
The newly-Washingtonian (the state, not the district) Stealth dealt a first round loss to Colorado and I could talk about Rabil’s RIDICULOUS hair or how the Stealth had a great crowd or a million other things (like how awesome StealthDragon on Twitter is) but instead I’m going to focus on Eric Martin.
Martin dropped 6 points from his defensive position and I’m sure he also managed to smash some dudes face-first into the boards. This cat is going to be leading the US National Team’s defense in Manchester this summer and we should be thankful to have such an awesome defender on the squad. Throw in the fact that he played D3 lax at Salisbury and you’ve got an under the radar legend in the making.
Minnesota lost to Calgary 12-7 but that’s ok because Calgary won it all last year and they are pretty stacked. Zach Greer went 1-1 in the losing effort but I think we can expect to see a lot more scoring out of him in the second half of the season. The box game is an adjustment from the outdoor version and Greer has been focusing on field lax lately even though he’s a crafty Canadian at heart. As the season progresses, he’ll improve drastically.
The no-longer-NY-and-now-ORLANDO Titans won their first game of the year by taking down Philly 13-8 in Florida. The Titans’ games in NYC (and Jersey and Long Island) were usually quiet, poorly attended and disastrous. Evidently the crowd in Orlando was awesome so I’m really excited to see if they can keep it going. If lacrosse is going to expand in general, the NLL needs to be a part of it… and if they can make it in Orlando, the future we will arrive at is bright. Of course, having Ryan Boyle and Casey Powell on the floor for the team doesn’t hurt either.
I’ve mentioned a LOT of former college and outdoor players in my NLL recap. I am not doing this to slight the Canadians, contrary to what some of my more Nationalistic friends might be hoping for. I do so to highlight the fact that NLL lacrosse is really good lacrosse… it’s just a little different from what you’re used to. So before this season runs out, try to get to a game if you live nearby or check one out online… the NLL even shows games on its website here. Ok, so no more excuses. Unless you don’t like lax. You don’t like lax? GET OUTTA HERE!
Speaking of the college game… lots is going on right now but most of it isn’t really worth too much investigation. Umass grad goes back to coach there, new schools add lacrosse, there are lots of scrimmages to check out and high school kids are laxing round the clock. I would like to point out that Talon, a lacrosse company based out in Cali that was started by two brothers who played at UAlbany has been purchased by Easton-Bell Sports. I’ve seen some comments along the lines of “I’d never buy lax stuff from a company that is owned by a baseball company”. That is just plain-old stupid talk. If you like it, the gear is good and priced competitively, buy it. That’s like saying you wouldn’t buy Nike football or lacrosse cleats because they started out as a running shoe company. Also very stupid.
Overall, the laxiness out there in the ether has been exponentially increasing for weeks. In no time at all, there will be pictures of practices and scrimmages, then games floating around. All of the new gear will be shown off. The Coaches Convention is this weekend. The NLL will heat up. Tournaments will take place for us older folks. I can’t wait. Til then, keep it laxy and don’t cut your hair. You’ll only regret it.
About the Author: After helping to start the program at Weston HS in Massachusetts, Connor Wilson went on to play at Wesleyan University. Post-graduation, Wilson stayed on and coached at Wesleyan for 2 years. He also played in Australia and the American Lacrosse League. Currently Wilson plays for the Southampton Lacrosse Club in NYC and enjoys dyeing lacrosse sticks, eating breakfast sandwiches and a pretentious writer’s bio on LAS.
Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org