Over the past few days, I have been blown away by the positive attitude on display at the 2014 World Lacrosse Championships in Denver. Lacrosse enthusiasts from all over the world have joined in unison to compete in what currently slants toward being “friendly” competition, aside from Canada vs. Team USA.
From my vantage point, every single individual in attendance seems proud to be in Denver and ready to openly enjoy this once in a lifetime international lacrosse experience. From John Grant Jr., who’s faced as much personal adversity as anyone in our sport, down to the team ball boys and up to the elder statesmen of our game, everyone seems genuinely happy to be here as one worldwide lacrosse community.
Opening Ceremony of the World Games kicked off at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City just outside of Denver. It was an unreal, nearly unexplainable-at-this-time type of occurrence and I wouldn’t trade it for any other experience in my life.
Without much “practice” for the World Games other than one exhibition game between Canada and Team USA in Denver two years ago, US Lacrosse put on a World-Class show. It’s not every day that you can get so many people from so many countries all celebrating a deep passion for the same game, and for that the organization truly should be commended.
Smiles must have shined on the faces of every lacrosse enthusiast in attendance when Uganda entered the stadium in heartfelt song. I’ve never seen anything quite like those young men so elated as they stepped onto the World Championship lacrosse field.
Our team at Lacrosse All Stars is on site in Denver, and we’re seeking out the rawest and most authentic stories we can possibly tell. We’re not here to compete for a slice of the same pie as any other media outlet or production company in attendance. We’re here to grow the game and exemplify the beauty of lacrosse – my medicine game, without which I’d be lost.
Following the Opening Ceremony festivities, Team USA faced off against Canada and came up big with the win. It was a great first game for this historic event, and our team left wired and ready to edit multimedia. At this point in our journey, the need for sleep is limited thanks to adrenaline as we all get in the zone.
Friday marked a huge first day of the World Games for LAS in collaboration with ComLax, our lacrosse equipment retail partner. Plus, we had some very distinct objectives for the games being played outside of the stadium. One of which was catching Uganda’s first ever lacrosse goal.
Soon after, as the morning became the afternoon and the excitement was still prevalent amongst all in attendance, an intense cloud cover blanketed the sky above Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. A nasty storm let loose over what must have been just a couple of square miles and left many running through hail the size of marbles to their cars.
Surprisingly, given the heavy hail and wet circumstances, the stadium crew impressively drained the lacrosse field and moved forward with prep for the Iroquois vs. England game which aired on ESPN3. Meanwhile, vendors shut down and the games outside were postponed, which provided an unexpected chance to take in a magnificent double rainbow.
After all the thrill of the long, long day and so many wonderful, meaningful conversations with ambassadors of our sport, we got together and recapped the day around 12:30am with Connor on speaker phone from the dorms at University of Denver. Inspired and motivated from our call and group discussion, it was clear to all of us that we’d have another night with minimal sleep.
I snagged a little shuteye somewhere between the hours of 2:00 and 5:00am, then headed out to the balcony with my MacBook in write and take in a breathtaking Colorado sunrise. Looking out at something like that while reflecting about our beautiful game had me smiling from ear-to-ear.
The sky has been clear ever since that wicked storm, and I have a feeling that it will stay that way if all of us here in Denver continue to honor the Creator’s Game with integrity and purpose.
During the Opening Ceremony, I was lucky enough to land a prime photography spot at the entrance of the tunnel in the northwest corner of the stadium, where half the international lacrosse teams lined up and proceeded onto the grass. I don’t know if it was the Grow The Game Tee I had on or what, but I was very pleased with the number of smiles captured. I hope the smiles are just as contagious as they were at the time that I shot them when you check out the gallery below!