Jeff Shattler has never been a high-maintenance laxer.
In fact, he cared so little about what tools he took to tackle his trade, Shattler used to play with totally fresh sticks.
“A lot of people laugh at me when I say this, and a lot of people don’t know this: I used to use lacrosse sticks right out of the bag from the store,” he said. “I’d literally take it out of the bag, I’d step in the pocket, and I’d use it that game.”
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He didn’t even always give himself that much of an advanced notice.
“Sometimes it would be my buddy’s,” Shattler explained. “He’d just give me a stick in warm up. I’d take one shot, it’d go off the bar and in, and I’d be like, ‘I’m using this stick today.’”
Shattler’s laissez faire approach to his lacrosse gear started at an early age, and it had to. His family didn’t have much growing up, and there was only so much money available for sports. Fortunately, tape was affordable.
“When I was a kid, we didn’t have a lot of money, so I would have to tape my strings and sidewalls,” Shattler said. “I’d tape the head of my stick, because it was broken in two different places. I had like six different places where the tape was holding my strings together, my head together, and if I slashed somebody too hard, it would fall apart.
“So, I had to really be able to adapt.”
Shattler has earned the reputation of a physical player who isn’t afraid to distribute a bruise or two. His aura in the box might make you think that’s who he is, but when he isn’t at the arena, Jeff Shattler is a different story.
It took social media’s explosion and a pandemic for Shattler’s lighter side to meet the public eye, but with nothing to do but be at home and armed with an internet connection, he and his wife, Lindsay, adapted.
“My wife brings out that side of me. We like to joke around,” Jeff Shattler explained. “We were in our house all the time, going a little crazy. Those Tik Toks were all my wife’s idea. I jumped on board.”
While those who don’t know Shattler might have been surprised to see him dancing around in a full-body sweatshirt like a confused crab, anyone who knows him well could have seen it coming, Shattler said.
“I’m a pretty quiet guy if you don’t know me. I usually don’t talk much. But people who know me, they know me quite well,” he said. “I usually don’t say much when I’m first introduced to somebody. I’m quiet, I’m set back, but as soon as I start feeling comfortable, I open up a little bit. That’s the way I’ve always been.”
Though he said he’s always been a character, that doesn’t mean Shattler would have been putting himself out there in ridiculous ways when he was much younger. He credited Lindsay with giving him that sense of freedom, something that has been greatly needed in this pandemic.
“I don’t know if I would have been posting videos like that back in 2005, but my wife brings that out of me, and that’s what I love her for,” he said. “We’re having some fun and trying to keep our minds occupied, because honestly, we thought it was two weeks they were going to stop the NLL. It’s crazy. It’s just crazy times we’re living in.”
As much as Shattler misses lacrosse, though, he made a point to explain that the sport does not consume him, and it never did.
“I don’t think about lacrosse until I get to the arena,” he said. “Some guys, they think about it all week. Obviously, I think about lacrosse, but I don’t think of it where it takes over my life. When I’m at home, my family is my family. I’m not the type of guy who will live lacrosse.”
This was something he figured out as a young person watching others in the sport; Shattler adapted to keep his lacrosse life healthy.
“I love the game, don’t get me wrong, but I only really think about the game when I get to the arena, and that’s the honest-to-God truth,” he explained. “And that went for any sport I did, because it’ll just consume you. I think that’s what separated myself at a young age, because I love the game, but I never looked at it as a negative or where it took control of my life or where I wanted it so, so bad. I would just give everything I had when I was there, and if I did that, I could feel good about myself. Then, I could move on to the next game.”
Shattler now has a favorite stick – the Jeff Shattler Signature Shaft from MSNLazer – but for years, he didn’t have the luxury of choice. And that was okay. He made do.
“I grew up in a really big family, so you have to adapt to what you’ve got, and I learned that at a very young age,” he said. “It didn’t matter. It really didn’t matter. I didn’t discriminate against anything. I’d use anything as long as it worked.
“You adapt to what you use.”