After successfully calling the old school leather glove look that Hopkins donned last weekend AND the Brine Block Party gloves over 1.5 years ago, I realized that I was something of a lacrosse Swami. Of course my game predictions aren’t always correct, and for some reason I keep picking the Red Hot Buffs to win the MCLA, but for the most part, I’m actually pretty on point. If you look back at my predictions I think you’ll find a much higher percentage of correctness than Chris Berman, and he’s a Swami of sorts on ESPN!
I’ll run through my list of Swami-tastic predictions for the rest of this year and beyond. Let’s have some fun. Behold the power of future guesstimation:
2012 College Lacrosse National Champions
I actually gave the big one away earlier today in the Hot Pot. My choice for NCAA D1 champ may surprise you here, but my reasoning is pretty solid. This team has been there all year, quietly winning games or at least coming close. It’s a bit of a sleeper pick, at least right now.
When it comes to the NJCAA, I can’t pick against OCC, and don’t want to. So I won’t. On the NCAA D2 side I like Mercyhurst. Not quite as much as I like OCC, but it’s close. In NCAA D3 I’ll go with Cortland. Is it an upset to pick them over Salisbury? I’m not so sure about that.
For MCLA D1 I’m picking Colorado State and not Colorado. Weird, I know. I actually think their regular season losses will serve them well in the playoffs. On the D2 side I’m going way outside the box and picking Westminster. I just like their regular season schedule and think they’ll be ready to roll. Now that is an upset pick.
Lacrosse Equipment Predictions
We’re going back to what worked already, and this trend will continue to show up in the lax gear world. Not only are we seeing gloves made to look old, but we are also seeing older gloves re-released and updated. And this makes sense as we see this approach taken in film (21 Jump Street anyone?) and fashion on a regular basis. What’s old is new. Brine Defts? Sure thing.
Photo Credit: Nike Lacrosse Facebook Page
But what’s NEXT? I’d stick with my clear padding prediction for sure. The materials exist right now and it hasn’t been done before. Well, not really. Some manufacturer will develop a padding technology for their gloves that they feel is so awesome, that it simply has to be seen. This has been done before in small doses (STX’s K18 line), but the next time we see it, the see through part will be even more prominent. It’s like having a clear hood on a hot rod.
But the biggest changes in lacrosse equipment in the next year or two won’t have as much to do with the look as it does the function, and this impending technological revolution could be a complete game changer.
When offset sticks first hit the market, the idea that they allowed players to shoot faster and retain the ball more easily was not completely accepted, even though now it is generally held true by many if not all lacrosse people. I believe the same can be said about the flexible shafts and heads of today, which have only hit the market in earnest over the last year or two. These pieces of equipment are going to change the game in a couple of ways, so keep an eye out!
I have used both C-12 Carbon Fiber shafts and the STX Alliance, and I can say that both have a substantial amount of snap to them. Metal shafts bend and snap a bit as well, but not nearly as much as one of these newer shafts. Check out the below video for a visual:
Right now, the flexible shafts are a bit heavier than the lightest Scandium shafts… but that won’t last forever. And when it does, the game is going to change.
Changes In Game Play
With these flexible heads and shafts, it is hypothesized that a greater torque can be put on the stick, and this can allow for an ever whippier pocket, a harder shot and better stick handling. No one is saying these new sticks will make bad players good, but if offset heads allowed guys to do just a little more with their sticks, it makes sense that extra flex and snap on the release might too.
Basically, the best of the best would just have that much more of an advantage when handling the ball, but when you consider where we are with one handed goals right now, I believe the next technology advance could be the drop that overflows the bucket.
Zach Palmer scored one handed. Steele Stanwick scored one handed from the ground.
And Mark Matthews almost scored one handed on the run from 12 yards out. Why that isn’t on Youtube is beyond me. And that was all THIS YEAR. Can you imagine what we could be headed for in the near future if super light and whippy sticks become even more common? One handed lacrosse is here already, and as the stick tech continues to improve, its general popularity is well on its way.
In ten years I wouldn’t be surprised to see youth players scoring one handed goals pretty regularly. And yes, it could travel that fast. Many of the young players of today watch the pros and the college guys, and they will try anything they see. I see kids in NYC who can play wall ball with one hand, and some of them are in 4th grade. If the sticks are light enough for them to play wall, and perfect the skill set, it’s only a matter of time until we see it more often.
I’m not sure if this will be a good thing or a bad thing, but I’m leaning towards going with good. The endless creativity that one handed lacrosse allows for, and the SportsCenter worthy plays it could help create are just too much for me to pass up. Plus if I try hard enough, I’ll convince myself to try it in an old man game sometime. I’m sure hilarity will ensue there. But for the rest of the lax world, the one handed play is going to be more and more popular. You can take that to the bank.