Last winter, ULax offered their first ever box lacrosse league, and it all went down in NYC. This past weekend, the second season of NYC outdoor box lacrosse kicked off through ULax, and in about a month, ULax’s second box league will commence down in North Carolina. LaxAllStars.com once again has a team entered in NYC, and we’re looking to repeat our Championship performance from last season.
Due to limited interest, the NYC league is only three teams. LAS is joined again this year by Dirt McGirt and the Brooklyn Dodgers, but unfortunately, the Brooklyn LC had to take a year off, due to their goalie and captain, the ArtOfLax, now having a baby. It happens! Hopefully these guys make it back out next year! Thankfully, ULax has been extremely flexible, and each weekend one team plays a double header. So for the guys who DO play, they get a lot of run in. And for the guys who couldn’t sign up for the whole season, there is even the option to pay to play on a per weekend basis as a free agent. If a team needs guys and you’d like to come out and play, you can. Pretty sweet!
We’ve also lost some guys because of the NALL. And I’m not upset about this at all. Seriously. We started the league because we wanted US lacrosse players in NYC to have the option to play box lacrosse. Well now they do in two different places! So while a number of guys aren’t back that played last year (because of possible NALL commitments), and our league is a little smaller because of it, we still wish the NALL well! Plus it would be cool to see a guy do well in the NALL who played in our league the year before. Maybe we could be a minor-minor league!
The real draw of the league is that it is box lacrosse in New York City. You’d have to go out to Long Island, or up to Westchester, to find anything that even comes close to the real deal. It’s convenient, and features lacrosse players from all over the City. The major drawback is that it is outdoors, and played during the winter. This definitely scares some people off, but I’ve yet to speak with someone after a game who didn’t enjoy it. No matter how cold it is outside, once you get on the rink, the wind dies down, and the sun hits you just a bit. Last weekend it was around 60 degrees and I was sweating like crazy under my jersey and all the pads. It was awesome.
The rink is concrete, and used for roller hockey. It doesn’t feel great to fall down on it, but you learn to roll onto the padded parts of your body, and it’s really not that bad. The fact that the surface is painted helps as well because you tend to slide a little more when you fall. Unpainted concrete doesn’t have the same slippery quality. Snow outs and even rain outs are always possible, but we tend to make due pretty well. And if we need to push games back or reschedule them, it’s usually not a problem, because no one else uses the facility over the winter. Not even the roller hockey guys.
The talent level is good, but the majority of us are still relatively new to box lacrosse, so games and teams can really run the gamut from typical box play to field-only technique. Last year’s LAS team went undefeated and won it all because we used as much box technique as we could. We sent on defensive or offensive players, used the two doors effectively, and focused on pick and rolls on O and a backside wall on D. Our keeper also adapted as the season progressed, and has really taken to the box game with ease. I think he might even prefer it to field at this point.
This season we’ve got a solid line up of players, and a number of guys back from last year’s team. We’ve also added some names our readers might recognize in Kevin McGuirl, of Rutgers Club Lax Fame, and he chipped in with 4 goals in his first appearance. Cam Kerst also joined the team and he dominated on face offs in our 11-10 win, while chipping in with a couple of assists. We’re looking forward to getting Joe Barile, Rory Baldini, Rich Sharp and a bunch of other guys out there this weekend. And we may even have a high profile guest player once in a while!
The league is trying to host small clinics before the first game of the day as well. This is so that guys with little to no box experience can begin to learn the game before actually going out and playing it. Playing is the best way to learn, I think, but a little training definitely comes in handy! And knowing all the rules… that’s key too.
The NYC box lacrosse following is still relatively small, but the interest is growing. It’s a great sport, a great change of pace from the field game, and it allows us to play lacrosse right in the middle of the City with cars buzzing around the park. The older I get, the more I like it.