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Movie Dreams

So, I had a dream that I’m appearing in a movie. Except it wasn’t a lacrosse movie.

The project was a bit out of my comfort zone. And that’s great. I flew west to Los Angeles for a day of shooting. I was scripted in two or three scenes towards the end of the movie. I’m cast as me. So I just have to be myself while following the writers guidance.

I received the script, and then multiple re-edited versions. Script edits are common.

The project is an opportunity of a lifetime, plus my daughter insisted that I accept the role. She basically green-lighted it, kicked me out of the house, leaving me with a motivational note. Luckily, I did not have any college football conflicts.

Friday 4:25am – sedan service to BWI, plenty of Ravens talk from the driver Ricky who’s a Parkville native, home of Drexel coach Brian Voelker. The airport was brimming with activity at 5am, typical pre-holiday shuffle and angst amongst neophyte travelers.

Long flight was an opportunity to read and re-read the script, watch tape and read up on Ole Miss football and Penn State prior to a Peach Bowl assignment.

Land in rainy LA and get driven to the production base camp. The costume and hair department Ok’s my three outfits and hair. I get dropped off at the Hoxton Hotel downtown around noon. Nice place with an old school art deco vibe. I swing by John Reed Fitness in downtown LA, perhaps the coolest gym ever with dance club music and lightning.

This movie project has me thinking that lacrosse would benefit greatly from a successful mainstream movie. I envision a comedy like Slap Shot, The Longest Yard, Dodgeball, Caddyshack, Bad News Bears or Talladega Nights. Maybe a more serious plot in the genre of Hoosiers, Friday Night Lights, Rudy, Vision Quest or Rocky could catapult growth and popularity. Or how about a Lacrosse horror film written by Richard Chizmar and produced by Stephen King?

What lacrosse story is most compelling? What story can be effectively converted into a screen play and be executed on the big screen?

I see a teacher / coach at a private New England school, perhaps Harry Potteresque. I see urban lacrosse. I envision a modern indigenous team winning a world or Olympic gold or a club team traveling to Florida spring break or to Vegas for LaxCon with a comedic tone. How about the Peter Laake story? Or maybe a futuristic spin as AI takes over mainstream sports now played by bots, except for lacrosse which AI can’t duplicate because of its complexity and spontaneity. And because of that lacrosse becomes the most popular team game on the planet. Or how about a trio of triplets from Cuba who find the game via YouTube and immigrate to Miami and fuel a revolution from the midfield. I can envision a medicine game in the Catskills from the 1600’s. I see a world sixes championship in 2100 bigger than the Hunger Games.

I dreamt that late on Friday night the production coordinator sent an email that I’ll be picked up at the hotel Saturday at 8:15am and we will be shooting my five scenes.

The people who run these production companies are the definition of a well-oiled machine. I arrive at base camp at 8:30am. I get my own trailer. They take my order for breakfast, still on east coast time, more ready for lunch.

The hair and makeup department sits me down and goes to work, transforming and seemingly taking a dozen years off my life. Dennis the hair stylist is particularly kind and deft. The makeup woman is from Lawrence, KS, a college town I enjoy so we chat about the sunflower state.

Banner, the on-set prop coordinator, worked with my sister Kyle in Hollywood on the Power Ranger shows some 25 years ago. They car pooled to work. Small world. He unknowingly becomes my guardian angel on set.

The main camera operator is from Pullman, WS and we discuss the Palouse. What might appear to be meaningless chatter is calming my nerves. Finding commonality amongst teammates or workers is conducive to performance. Nobody plays well with strangers.

Once on set the scope and scale of this movie project hits home like a crease crank to the nuts.

Wow. They have nearly 200 people working on set. Sound, lighting, props, makeup, background, camera operators, craft service, grips, transportation, extras, etc. Movie production makes live sports television production look like a fast food operation. Talk about teamwork, and everybody treated me superbly.

I worked closely with the director. He is the head coach, the authority figure on set.

Quiet please…action!

I wasn’t perfect. I tried my best to be myself, relax and tweak a few of the lines to my vocabulary. Play to your strengths always. We did each read five to ten times. They need multiple looks. Each shot required about fifteen minutes of setup. It’s a slow process. That’s a major contrast to working in live sports.

I think the stress I felt on set as an inexperienced actor or athlete is the overwhelming responsibility to the group. You don’t want to mess this up for the others. That’s the same nervous energy that players experience as a college lacrosse goalie, that’s one inner battle we always face, turning that pressure into diamonds – Learning how to use that adrenaline the right way.

At 2pm, it’s a wrap. Time enough to catch the 4:45pm flight from LAX to BWI.

As the plane skids onto the runway I wake up. A unforgettable dream for sure. Run to the fire. Find joy on the other side. Step into the crease. My daughter was right. And when the movie premieres, I will be front and center with a big box of popcorn.