Pull strings are placed in the throat of a stick, and they allow a player to have a deep (and possibly illegal), pocket that can be tightened after a goal is scored, or if their stick is about to be checked by a ref, with the simple pull of a string. Hence the name pull string. The NCAA specifically outlawed pull strings, and even went so far as to make it illegal for a player to adjust his stick after scoring a goal.
After this last weekend’s MLL games, a knowledgeable little bird hit me up on Twitter, and told me to look closely at the Denver – New York highlights. Someone in the MLL might be using a pull string!
Now, I’ve watched the video below at least 20 times, in HD, and on a full screen, and while I can’t say for sure that this player is using a pull string, I also can’t say he’s definitively not using one either. The goal is scored at the 2:07 mark, and the potential pull string action occurs at the 2:10 mark.
Watch it again and again, and try to decide if it’s a pull string or not. For me, the jury is still very much out on this one… I just can’t tell from the video. And even if it is a pull string, it’s clearly not a very big one… but I really can’t be sure either way.
This almost non-issue does bring up a much more interesting and general question, and that is: are Pull Strings actually illegal in Major League Lacrosse? Before this, I’d never even thought to ask…
I called up the league office, and learned that pull strings are, indeed, illegal in the MLL. Ok, so that was actually pretty simple. The league representative I spoke with also felt, as I did, that the video was inconclusive, but for all you MLL players out there trying to sneak pull strings… we’re watching, and clearly the league is as well! Not trying to rain on anyone’s parade or anything, but these are the pro ranks we’re talking about here, so players will be under the microscope.
Leave the cheating to washed up men’s league players, like yours truly, ok? Below you can find a few other interesting stick rules I learned about while discussing pull strings with the MLL office:
- Strings can hang five inches down from the head, as opposed to only 2 inches of excess string in the college game.
- Players can use High School, College, or Universal heads. And some of the face off heads barely look legal for box lacrosse! As long as the ball comes out on the tests, it’s pretty much fine it seems, although refs do measure sticks as well.
- Players can not string their sticks with orange mesh, orange string, orange shooters, or orange leathers. It’s because the ball is orange! The stick in the middle, below, uses a light red. That’s walking the line. Heads and shafts, however, can be orange. Could you imagine if the NCAA made white strings, mesh, and shooters illegal, since they use a white ball?
If you have other Major League Lacrosse stick rule questions you want answered, drop them in the comments and we’ll either take them to the league and get some answers, or ask someone from the league to reply to you directly!
There has to be something you’re curious about!