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End Caps: Like Father, Like Son

Markbuster Videos!

Markbuster Videos, mixin’ it up again. Here’s my top picks, actually from a few months ago, but these videos deserve credit.

On the Encore Brand website they state the following message: We do everything involving the sport we love. We give back to the sport we love and we design and create apparel for the sport we love.

These videos are special, Johnny Christmas has traveled a long way, from growing up in Pennsylvania, playing lax at Virginia, to now calling the San Francisco area his home. It’s incredible to see where he grew up and to take a look through Johnny’s eyes to see how a kid from Ardmore, PA made his way to be one of the bigger names in lacrosse.

Respect John’s journey, because he clearly put in the work to make a name for himself. It was humbling to meet him in Orem, UT even after a long weekend of LXM events he was still willing to have a few words with us in the hotel lobby and he didn’t bat an eyelash when I asked him to sign an autograph for my personal collection. He is a truly humble individual and great ambassador for the sport, and I’m glad such high quality videos exist to show his roots.

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[dropcap]I[/dropcap] asked my dad to write a few words about his opinions of me as a lacrosse official. I was raised in officiating and became a referee when I got hit with an unexpected appendicitis in high school, but I knew I always wanted to wear the stripes just like my father. I never exepected to read anything like the following note from my dad, I honestly expected to pull a few quotes from it and write a completely different article.

Instead, the following is a memoir written by Steve Donahue, my father, about yours truly:

Nine years ago, after officiating football and basketball for over 20 years, I decided to officiate lacrosse. My son, Mark, was in his freshman year and playing for the high school team. There was a shortage of officials in the Columbus, Ohio, area because the sport was growing faster than they could recruit referees. I took Mark along with me to the classes knowing that he loved the sport and someday he could earn extra money officiating instead of flipping burgers when he went to college.

He started working youth games and a few junior high games as a freshman in high school. Coaches, players, and parents were amazed that he such a great command of the game at his young age. As a junior in high school, he got an opportunity to work a varsity game with me when the two other officials were unable to make it. What a thrill it was to look over at your partners and know that one of them is your son. We were able to work other lower level games for the next couple of years before he left to go off to college. When he moved to a different area, it did not take him long to establish himself as a well respected high school and college official. He stayed in Cincinnati for four years and now has decided to move across the country to Boise, Idaho. He quickly established himself again, this time in Boise, and has already had the opportunity to work various levels of lacrosse games.

I have had the pleasure to work alongside him for his first game ever, a youth game in his hometown, as well as his first high school game. Years later, I sat in the stands at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, on a very cold and windy day when he officiated his very first college assignment. The tears I had in my eyes that day were quickly frozen before they could run down my cheek. What a thrill it is to know that your son is living his dream in not only officiating lacrosse but his day job, which is also reporting on lacrosse. He has had many mentors along the way and has always been willing to listen and take advice. He has made me a proud dad knowing that he wanted to follow in my footsteps in becoming an official, but he has quickly surpassed me and became a lot better official than his old man.

The best part of lacrosse for me is when we call each other after our games to talk about all the details of the game. I have continued officiating high schools games because I don’t want that ever to stop.

Swag Me Out

I’m here to help you get, or stay, “swagged out.” I may not be a fashion icon per se, but I do have an opinion about what looks good and what should be thrown away immediately.

ENCORE! Do you want more?!

Here are three shots from Johnny Christmas’ own Encore Brand True Heritage apparel line. To Encore, Action is Character, and I couldn’t agree more! I love the message but the vintage photos they use of early lacrosse pioneers and Native Americans show a true appreciation for the roots of the Creator’s Game.

From the hats, to jackets and especially to the t-shirts, Encore is killing it! They don’t have a single piece of clothing out that I wouldn’t love to get my hands on.

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This stuff is beautiful! The design work and tribute to past was handled with class, I would be honored to rock Encore wherever I go.

Looking for more sweet gear to tie you over until next weekend? DO NOT MISS INSTALAX Session 2 from last week!

Until next weekend, folks!