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The Legend Of #22 – Syracuse Lacrosse

Editor’s note: I got to spend the weekend with Chazz Woodson and some of the Thai National Team. Chazz and I talked a lot of lax, and if there is one thing that I am certain of, it’s that Chazz Woodson is a passionate believer in lax.  Today, he has some advice for the Syracuse Lacrosse Nation. It’s 100% unsolicited, but we have to say, he does make a pretty good point!  The “legend” of #22 can only be a legend for so long, especially if it starts to dip back into reality. Did MP break the mold for the number? And what is Cuse to do? More importantly, is Chazz going to be the next superstar lax player/blogger?

Dear Syracuse Orange,

The #22.  Let it go.  It’s time to move on.

This has nothing to do with the quarterfinal game.  In fact, I’m rather disappointed as well.  Despite the fact that I became anti-Cuse (and pretty much anti any other team I competed against!) when I got to college, I grew up a Syracuse fan, and felt that there was nobody else around that played the Game like they did… the way it’s supposed to be played.

Additionally, for some reason, I love to see Maryland float in that “we’re good, but not really” realm… where they knock off a few teams each year and look great doing it, but then get knocked out of the tourney early.  I really don’t have any reason to
not like Maryland… But I don’t.

I think it’s just because I don’t like the color red very much. In fact, outside of Da Bulls (rally caps, let’s go!!!), I’m not really a fan of anything, or anyone, that is, or predominantly wears, red. But I digress…  Now back to the point!

‘Cuse, let’s move on from this need to bestow the #22 on anyone else. Besides putting unnecessary pressure on a kid (whether he feels it or not) to live up to that hype of that number, the reality is that he probably won’t. Plain and simple.  Do you realize what MP did in that number? Do you realize the havoc he wreaked on defenses? Do you remember the damage he did to ankles and egos wearing #22? Have you forgotten the looks on defenders faces, after missed slides resulted in goals?

Mikey Powell Nicky Polanco Syracuse Hofstra lacrosse
Powell v. Polanco in college.

Maybe that was just so commonplace at the time that it was just expected.  I don’t know.  I wasn’t there.  I only got to witness it
once a year, for 3 years.

Now keep in mind, I’m focusing on Mikey for a reason. And there were obviously GREAT 22s at ‘Cuse prior to Mikey.  That’s why he’s part of the legend. So I mean no disrespect to those that came before him.  Quite frankly, I mean no disrespect to the 22s that have come after him either.  They were all VERY good players.

But, for 4 years, MP was college lacrosse. He furthered the legend of #22 at the end of his career, just as he did it from day 1. There hasn’t been a player since Mike Powell that has put together the body of work that he has, nor is there a player that has commanded the attention of the lacrosse world the same way.

More Powell magic.

I’m not a part of the SU lacrosse family.  Maybe there’s a checklist that I don’t know about which qualifies a player to wear #22.

Maybe they notice a certain flare about a kid, and ask him if he wants it… I really don’t know.

But if the number is truly legendary, as I often hear people refer to it, then it should be worn only those that will be legends. Think about #23.  I don’t need to say names, or even name the sport.  It’s simply THAT iconic.  And NOBODY would wear it, regardless of what team they were on. I had coaches that wouldn’t even order the number, and friends that would clown you if you dared to put it on.  You were a “wannabe.”

It was a long time before it was considered OK to wear that number if it wasn’t on a Bulls jersey, and even now it’s still a little touchy. So if #22 is truly legendary, let’s wait until another legend steps foot on that campus.

And IF we are lucky enough find a high school player that is LeBronesue…  the LaxBron, if you will excuse the awful joke, AND YOU, Syracuse, are lucky enough to have him wear the Orange and White, then you will never have to question whether or not he’s deserving of the opportunity to further the legend.

You’ll just know. And then the only question to be asked will be whether or not he wants to wear his own number and start a new legend.