In my article yesterday on the MLL Finals I went off on Quint Kessenich and one of his observations. I probably went over the top and gave Quint too hard of a time, and in the end, it really doesn’t matter how much I disagree with him on one issue (Rabil is not Kobe!); because overall, I really respect him. Heck, you could even say I like the guy, and I’ve never even met him! He is good for the game of lacrosse, far superior to many of his counterparts in sports broadcasting in many ways (I’ll get into that later), and he has a really good sense of humor, even when it comes to Quint himself. Let’s get to it shall we? Why Quint Kessenich is awesome:
First off, Quint knows lacrosse. He’s played at the highest levels and saw a ton of success while doing so. He’s a Hopkins guy through and through, loves D1 college lacrosse (especially at Homewood), and is probably one of those people that still believes Maryland is vastly superior to the rest of the country. And I’m not even talking about lacrosse in Maryland… just Maryland. Thinking Lacrosse is better there is really just a given.
Nothing wrong with a little hometown pride, even if he grew up on Long Island. But Quint is a BMore guy now, and proud of it. I feel the same way about NYC, even though I’m originally from Boston, so I know how hard the switch in allegiance can be. Heck, I don’t even like pro sports outside of the MLL anymore because of my move. So this tells me Quint is able to think for himself, and I like that. He is able to adjust and change long-held opinions, and as an analyst, that’s extremely valuable. Some LI guys I know would never deign move to Baltimore. Not in a million years.
Now of course, he does have his biases. Like I’ve already said, he clearly LOVES the Hop, which is fair when you consider how good they were (and how good Quint was) when he was at JHU. Those were the ultimate glory days for Hop lax in my opinion, because while the talent on other teams was very good, Hopkins winning was still an expectation. And Quint was a huge part of that. So the love for the Blue Jays makes total sense to me. And in the end, I’d much rather have a guy like Quint with clear-cut rational allegiances than Jamie Munro, who often seems to be working some PR angle when he calls a game. Quint’s a Hop guy for sure, but he’s not looking for the next open coaching gig, or where he can be a paid “consultant”, and this makes Quint’s broadcast work that much more natural, and consistent.
Stylistically, some people just don’t like listening to Quint. And I’m not going to tell them they are wrong, because there are people out there who hated listening to John Madden (I liked Madden) or Dick Vitale (hated Vitale) or even Howard Cossell (I was too young. He sounds good though!). It comes with the territory of not being boring, and having an opinion; so while you might not enjoy his broadcast personally, one does have to think of all the good that Quint does, and what the alternative could be.
Quint is a game grower. Sure, he spends a ton of time broadcasting and writing, but I like to think that all of that work helps the game of lacrosse. His passion for lax is evident all the time, and Quint is often talking about how the game is expanding to new areas and demographics, even when he’s talking about the current perception of dominance from hot bed areas. Quint has also kept up with the coaching, and hasn’t gone to sports commentating full-time. To me, this says he loves his sport more than most sports commentators, and the fact that he still runs the QK Goalie Camps at Boys Latin over the Summer is direct evidence of this love and dedication. He probably makes some money there too, but no one is coaching HS lax for the money.
Quint does college football broadcasts, and he covers wrestling, and even horse racing. But he is at his best calling a lacrosse game. He brings his game to another level when the lax action is on, and even though he often describes lacrosse using other sports, I definitely get the feeling he’s rather be doing it the other way around. But he also knows that a lot of new fans aren’t 100% sold on lax yet, so he makes it his mission to educate them. And I think he does a great job in that regard, even if I personally find all the “hitting like football, defense like basketball, speed of hockey” comparisons tiring. They are not for me. They are the next generation of fans, and even if it gets in the way of MY viewing experience, I see why he does it, and I totally approve.
So yeah, anyone who is willing to simplify their take on the game for the benefit of new fans gets my respect. And it’s not that easy. Ever tried to explain lacrosse to someone who is standing right in front of you? It can be challenging and you are speaking one on one, face to face. Now try to do it over a television. And to a couple hundred thousand people. Even harder. One doesn’t have to agree with HOW Quint educates people, but you have to appreciate the amount of time spent trying. I can guarantee Quint has converted at least one mainstream sports fan with his explanations. That’s GTG!
In other sports you get some commentators who are just broadcast guys, who never played the game, and who don’t really understand what they’re covering. They probably graduated with a major in Communications. They do play by play for the most part and surround themselves with ex-pros and over the top color guys. The ex-pros and ridiculous color guys (like Vitale or Jay Bilas) usually do one of two things: turn the broadcast into a circus, or speak boringly about their experiences as they moralize. They aren’t passionate about their sport, they are passionate about money and sensationalism. Vitale has said “Diaper Dandy” 1000 more times than he’s mentioned any recruit’s grades, or their major. He doesn’t care about the total package, it’s just big time college BBall, baby. Quint, however, sets a higher standard, and always brings academics into the broadcast. By doing this alone Quint has earned my undying respect. We are talking about college sports in a lot of these examples after all.
Lastly, Quint has a sense of humor. He knows he’s the biggest name outside of players and coaches in lacrosse. And he seems to view that as an opportunity, and not a burden. I respect that. When Summer teams plaster his face all over their uniforms, it gives him an incredulous laugh. When 412 or I give him a hard time, he doesn’t respond, either because he thinks it would be bad for the game, or because we’re not worth his time. Either way, it shows a maturity level not known to many of my younger generation. And I respect that too.
Quint is old school. He played the game when it was making big strides, and changes were coming. He’s stuck with the game throughout it all, and has grown as the sport has grown. While it took him a while to come around to zone defenses being useful at the D1 level, once he saw it work, he started to open his mind. And within a year or two, he was even calling a good zone a great change of pace. Some commentators would STILL bemoan the zone in lax, but not Quint. He was willing to look anew at his opinion, and then modify it, and this shows an old school humility that will only be good for the game, and the future generations that play it.
Overall, I like Quint, and I love what he does for the sport of lacrosse. I have my issues with some of his opinions, but it’s all from a place of respect. If you ever happen to read this Quint, keep up the good work, and keep spreading the gospel of lax, as only you know how. I might not agree with you all the time, but gosh darn it, I appreciate what you’re doing!