Today’s interview with LXM PRO co-founder Max Ritz is a pretty significant one. After all, Max did just make an appearance on MTV’s The Hills last night [watch it here]. We have no doubt all the lady Hills fans across America are googling him right now.
Max Ritz, a former University of Maryland standout, is a staple in the ever-growing West Coast lacrosse community — teaming up with the likes of Scott Hochstadt, Kyle Harrison and Xander Ritz (his brother) on a number of different initiatives to help grow the game. Their newest venture, LXM PRO, is the most innovative thing to happen to pro lacrosse since Body by Jake.
We sat down with Max to get his take on the growth of lacrosse, LXM’s vision, the Terp beard trend, and his big MTV debut. Check it out.
Having been out of college just a couple of years now, what’s your take on the future of lacrosse? Is LXM leading the way?
Max Ritz: Seeing some disparity in the NCAA Tournament now is very cool. Rankings are what they are because of the emphasis on strength of schedule, but this year the tournament may have shown how many teams really can ball. Cuse, Hop, UNC and my Terps were all teams picked to have a solid shot at the title, and now we have a 75% chance of a non-traditional champion. It’s a tough pill to swallow as a Terp, but overall I think it’s great!
LXM PRO will continue lead the way in terms of innovation and creativity in the professional lacrosse space. The tour is founded by players for players, and we keep that in mind in every decision we make.
Which LXM PRO event has been your favorite so far?
Max Ritz: So much went into both events that it’s tough for me to choose. Orange County was HUGE and a massive production; but I had been in Texas promoting, marketing and coaching for a full month leading up to the Austin event — Austin is a super-fun town. We worked our way into the Univ of Texas scene pretty nicely, and I also played better in Austin…
All-in-all, LXM949 was a bigger-is-better event in my eyes, but Austin is one of my favorite cities in the world.
Who’s the toughest LXM d-pole you’ve gone up against?
Max Ritz: I think Tom Garvey is the toughest. He’s such a smart defenseman and plays great team D, good opportunities are tough to come by against guys like that. I’ve thought that about Tom for a while: When we played Hopkins in 2005 he was a Senior and 1st Team All-American and I was a Freshman still just happy to be starting at Maryland. He ended up guarding me that night…. Kyle (who was a Senior) and Xander (who was a Junior) still get on me about how that matchup went down.
Your UMd bio says you’re ambidextrous… is there truth to this statement? Do you write with your left hand, but shoot better righty?
Max Ritz: Ha that’s a flattering description. It’s kind of a weird setup: I’m actually right-handed, but I switch hit in baseball, shoot harder with my left both on the run and time-and-room, took free-kicks in soccer lefty, shoot pool and skeet lefty (which I didn’t know there was handedness for), surf and skate goofy, and I also play the guitar lefty….. Well I can’t actually play the guitar, but when I fake it it feels better lefty, no Hendrix.
We’ve noticed a number of the current UMd guys rocking some mountain man beards lately. Is beard flow the next big thing in college lax?
Max Ritz: I don’t know what’s going on with that, but I do know that my Terp classmate Jason Carter started it back in 2004 and nothing’s been the same since. It looked great on JC and still does, but not so great on some of these softshell Terps.
Has living in Cali changed your outlook on life? Could you be doing what you’re doing anywhere else?
Max Ritz: I’m 24 and have only lived in LA for a year and a half, so my outlook on life hasn’t changed, but the societal and economic norms there are completely different from the East Coast. Not for better or worse, just different. People can get a little crazy in LA, but our group of friends work very hard and keep each other grounded – which is why we’ve had some success in our different ventures there, I believe.
Do you think California will surpass New York and Maryland in terms of producing college recruits? If so, how and when?
Max Ritz: In terms of growth rates and potential statistics, absolutely. Southern California has reached critical mass in that the momentum is fueling its own growth, thanks to Adrenaline Lacrosse and Starz Lacrosse which both popularized the sport there. Places like Baltimore and Long Island will always crank out players, but places like Texas, Florida, California and even the Gulf States will push some very serious athletes into the sport in the next ten years. When traditional football and basketball athletes see the potential to earn an education and eventually sustain a luxurious lifestyle solely by playing lacrosse, then things will start to get crazy. Playing year-round outdoor lacrosse helps a lot as well.
I actually helped Starz Lacrosse bring New Zealand Starz into the system last year… They have some ballers down there!
Now on to The Hills related questions….
What was it like to guest star on such a well known reality show?
Max Ritz: It was fun, pretty relaxed actually. They film it all in live restaurants on normal nights, so that took a little getting used to.
Were you nervous?
Max Ritz: I’ve never had aspirations of being in the industry nor do I watch/follow non-sports TV, so being around people who garner a lot of media attention in that way has never made me nervous. We had a big New Year’s Eve party in 08/09 at a restaurant in Hollywood where there were a lot of celebrities and media outlets, and the most jammed up I got all night was when Sean Morris and I literally bumped into Tony Parker. We opened the bathroom door right into him and he held his wrist like it was hurt. He was just messing with us but that would have been very serious…
Will there be a second date with Stephanie?
Max Ritz: We’ve filmed a bunch of content, but I really don’t know what MTV will cut out or choose to include. We’re throwing a few LXM PRO beach parties this summer in LA which have been discussed for filming. But I wouldn’t exactly call those dates…
Max Ritz: Haha. Lo’s younger cousin plays lacrosse for a girls youth team in SoCal so she has known the sport for some time now; plus after being around all the LXM, Adrenaline and Starz fun I really don’t think you could dislike lacrosse.
Which dude from The Hills would make a good lax player? Who could embrace the culture the best?
Max Ritz: Ha I’m not sure. Frankie used to talk a lot of trash about his lacrosse potential to Xander, Scott and me, so maybe he’d be OK. Culture is one thing, but I don’t think many guys in Hollywood can hang on the lacrosse field.
Quality point. Thanks for taking the time out, Max. We enjoyed watching the show last night. Best of luck with LXM!InsideLacrosse.com]