One of a Kind Goodbye to Flip Naumburg at Vail
The lacrosse world was rocked when Flip Naumburg passed away this past Spring. Flip was an innovator, fierce competitor, top level coach, and game grower of the highest caliber, but beyond all of that, Flip was about people, connections, friendship, and family. He created Rock-it Pocket, he coached CSU to a bunch of MCLA titles, and he also founded the Vail Lacrosse Shootout all those decades ago.
I saw Flip at Vail last year, and he was back in his element. He was surrounded by people who loved the game, and loved the tournament he had helped create. It was great to see him then, right there, enjoying his own little slice of lacrosse heaven on Earth.
While Flip has passed, and will no longer be in Vail in person, his spirit will live on there forever, and this year, Flip actually was back at Vail, just in a different form. He was the story. He was remembered fondly by generations of players and friends. He was honored by every game played. This happened (and is still happening now) throughout the tournament, but one moment really stood out as a final goodbye, and a lacrosse send off the likes of which I’ve never seen before.
A lacrosse ball was split in half, and the middle was hollowed out. Flip Naumburg’s ashes were then placed inside the ball, and it was resealed. The ball was put into play during the 4th quarter of the SuperMasters Final this year, and as Flip’s little last bit of luck would have it, a goal was scored quickly.
The ball was put back into play, and when a second goal was scored the ball broke apart, Flip’s ashes were released, and the Vail Lacrosse Shootout honored its founder in the best way possible – through the game of lacrosse.
Casey had this to say about Flip, and his final send off at Vail:
“I met Flip for the first time back when I was in college. I had always respected his ideas, ambassadorship, and commitment to the game, but meeting him in person was special. I was able to attend his memorial this year at Ford Field – it was filled with family, friends, and former players from Flip’s teams. I couldn’t help but reflect on the positive impact one individual can have on so many people and so many areas of life. To play a championship game in which we played with a ball that included his ashes was surreal. To then feel the asshes blowing in the wind after the goal made me feel even close to both the Vail tourney and Flip. It was an incredible moment to be a small part of.”
If you want to learn more about why Flip Naumburg was such a legend, check out the video we produced with Epoch Lacrosse, below:
Flip Naumburg’s Story