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Wilson’s Wheelhouse: Pulse of the MLL Game

8 - Published July 1, 2010 by in International, Pro Lacrosse

We’re checking in with a couple of  fresh style choices of both the on and off field variety.  A little later I get into a rant about the MLL and I try my hardest to not lose my cool.  Read on, enjoy and feel free to argue with me in the comments. 

Disclaimer:  I will argue back.

Ikerson Hopper of Onondaga Community College was part of a team that won the JUCO National Championship.  He also has some sweet, sweet body art on his left shin and rocks the 22.  Respek.  Plus those Baby Blue Lazer helmets are just beautiful.

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The US Indoor Development Team has been scrimmaging left and right this past winter in preparation for the Indoor World Games in 2011.  Below they can be seen taking on a US club team based in Rochester, NY, called the GreyWolves Vermont (Thanks to Ghr8034 for the heads up on that!).  The US has some talent and this version of the game is taking off acrosse the world, especially in places where there are more hockey rinks than soccer fields.  The next stop for boxla should be Russia.  For some reason I think those guys would appreciate the sport.

Sweet, sweet indoor/boxla. 3/4 sleeves? don't mind if I do.

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The Aussies are keeping it classy with matching ties and blazers for the ILF World Games in Manchester, England this summer.  Looking good, fellas and best of luck against the US and Canada… you’re going to need it!  These squads are just loaded with talent.

Adam Sear of recent Maryland fame (left), even shaved for the photo op.

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STX recenlty released new pictures of their Assault gloves for 2011 and along with the stock options or red, black, navy and royal, they are also showing off some potential custom gloves for UNC.  I like the look of the gloves but without a real marketing push, I doubt they will ever compete with the K18s.  Here’s some advice:  Give Joe Walters his own line and make these his gloves!  If you’ve got a guy like JW1, use his starpower!  Just my $.02!

STX responded via Twitter by saying that all their college teams will wear it.  STX claims to have it under control so I’ll believe them!  Still think the most abrasive lax character out there (Joe Walters!) should still have his own gear.  Not my call though!

Lookin' good, Mr. Cotter!

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Did you guys know that the MLL regular season is more than halfway over?  I mean, I noticed, but I was just, like, testing you.  Of course, the MLL has billed itself as a summer league (and only has 12 regular season games) so it makes sense that the season would go quickly but I am surprised to see it all going by THIS quickly.  MY summer league is only 4 weeks deep and many others are only starting up now.

I didn’t know that the MLL was even kicking off when it did and I try to keep abreast of all things lacrosse… but that is  probably because they did so right around the time of the College Championships and I was knee deep in D1, 2 and 3 coverage.  But now we’re deep into the season and I still have very little idea of what is going on and I think most lacrosse fans can relate to that.  So what’s the problem with the MLL and what can they do to alleviate some of the concerns?

We draw as many fans at the Gotham League sometimes. Zing!

There are some easy fixes for the MLL and it amazes me that they have yet to grasp on to any of them at any substantial level.  The first one that jumps out is the BookFace and Twittlez.  The MLL’s presence on social networking sites right now is straight up laughable.  And that’s just the truth.  It might hurt, but lying won’t help so I’ll keep it real.  Twitter is free. Facebook is free and yet the MLL has basically decided to shun both avenues.  The individual teams are doing no better.  I follow them all on Twitterz and NONE of them let me know what’s really going on.  The content is sporadic and usually pretty crappy.  Pretty pathetic effort for a league trying to bootstrap itself.

The second fix, which is also easy and cheap, has to do with sites like LAS.  We get no video, no pictures and no game stories from the league that are readily usable and delivered expediently.  We get decent press releases once a week but they don’t cover too much and do little to really pump up the league.  This is another case of putting in time to market yourself and get the name out there and the MLL completely drops the ball in this regard as well.  You can go to Laxunited.com and watch some highlights but you can’t embed the videos and the 30 second ads FOR the MLL right before a highlight of the MLL seems redundant to the point of ridiculousness.  Get someone else to advertise there and create revenue… or just remove the ads of MLL guys playing and show me the videos of MLL guys playing.  Seems pretty simple.

Even red chrome heads aren't enough to pack the stands? you don't say!

The final fix is more games on TV and while I know this is expensive, it must be done.  I look for lax 24-7 on TV and I’ve only seen two games so far this season.  One I caught by chance on ESPN56 at some God-awful time when I was home sick and the other happened to be showing randomly on some channel called UniSport (Channel 162 in NYC’s TWC provider).  And even then, the feed was of awful quality.

Even with the awful feed, I still watched the game.  Why?  Because the players are just that good.  These guys are dedicated athletes and they stay after games for hours signing autographs but the league is barely helping them promote in any real way.  I know that times are tough and the MLL needs to reserve capital and keep debt down but if that is the case, why aren’t they at least following proposed fixes 1 and 2, which are basically free (or at least considerably cheaper than buying TV time)?

Maybe the MLL needs a change at the top.  Maybe they need to attract better team management.  Maybe they need people who won’t move a team out of Rochester only to send their travelling road show team (the Machine) RIGHT BACK TO ROCHESTER!  WTF kind of thinking was that?  Who came up with that idea and then who approved it?  However it came to be, this kind of inside-the-box thinking is not helping the league.

The MLL has a great on the field product and I legitimately WANT to watch and support the league but unfortunately, the MLL just doesn’t seem that interested in my eyeballs or my dollars.  The effort still just isn’t there.  As our sport grows, this league should see a huge boost in popularity and if it doesn’t the MLL will have only itself to blame.

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About the Author: Connor is a life-long lacrosse player who doesn’t know when to give up on the game. He played and coached at Wesleyan University and now plays for the Southampton LC in NYC. Connor lives with his fiancee in Brooklyn and thanks her for allowing him to keep the dream alive.

Contact him at connor@lacrosseallstars.com.

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