Last night Throne of String released a new pocket on their website, and almost immediately people began to say that it was a rip off of the AK Savo pocket, created by Bob Savage out in Oregon. Still others were upset that Throne didn’t give credit to Savage for his pocket serving as inspiration for their new pocket.
Did Throne rip off the AK Savo pocket?
Watch some videos to get caught up if you have no idea as to what I’m talking about right now:
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Personally, I’d level an emphatic “NO” at the above question, and I say this knowing both Throne and Savo.
1) Pockets without shooters are simply not something new. I have seen players in the US and in Europe play with sticks that lacked shooting strings. The first year I went to Prague for box lacrosse, there was an entire team from Plzen that had virtually no shooting strings in their sticks. It was all done with channeling and sidewall patterns. We posted about it. Did these new guys rip those old guys off? No, and this is truly old news.
While the AK Savo is probably the most recognizable pocket that lacks shooting string, it is definitely not the only pocket out there like that. In fact, a number of stringing videos on YouTube all mention that shooting strings are just a final touch, and it’s the sidewall pattern that matters most. This is, quite simply, not new information.
That being said, Throne definitely knows what an AK Savo pocket is, and they know who Rob Savage is.
2) I actually saw this pocket before it went out. There was discussion about how one could get around the 4″ shooting string rule, and this was one of the ideas that was floated. Now, this is just what I was told, but it’s a 100% plausible explanation for how a sidewall like this could be conceived. Does it use some of the same techniques as the AK Savo? I guess it does, sort of, but not really. The stringing is different, and so is the placement and purpose. To me, it’s a very different take on the same idea. An idea that has been tried before, as I said in point #1.
And that’s it. The above is why it’s not a rip off. 1) It’s been done before all this popped up. 2) There is a plausible genesis other than simply copying someone else’s work. So even if you think it’s a rip off, there is no real basis for that conclusion other than a gut feeling. For me, that’s not good enough.
Now, for those saying that Throne should have mentioned the AK Savo pocket in their video, or given Bob Savage some credit, I can’t really disagree there. The man’s pocket is all over the place, recognizable to anyone immersed in the stringing game, and it has a life all of its own. We all know about the AK Savo, don’t play ignorant!
At the end of the day, these two pockets are different enough, and neither is truly game changing or new, that I can’t find much to get riled up about here. People come out with ideas, other people adopt and then try to improve upon those ideas… that’s called progress. Sometimes you get credit, sometimes you don’t.
Throne has since “cleared the air”:
Here are Savo’s thoughts on the matter:
I think that most people would say that when Casey Vock and IL Gear introduced the AK Savo in late 2013 it was something that 99.9% of the lacrosse world had never seen or imagined doing before, and that being the case it opened up a new dynamic way to think about stringing sticks. Regardless of whether or not people like the pocket, or whether or not it was even good, it was the first of its kind and in a class entirely by itself, regardless of whether or not it was better or worse than anything else out there. It stood on its own completely separate from the pack.
I think that anyone who knows me will tell you that I have been nothing but supportive of others exploring the concept and building on it and expanding on it, the possibilities were and still are endless.
I was interested in sparking a new way of looking at things, and I took it public because I wanted to see it grow and I felt that the best place for it to happen was through that spirit of collaboration shared by people in the stringing world.
Maybe you disagree? If so, put forth a stirring argument in the comment. But be prepared, we’ll respond!
Side note: Is it just me or does Joe’s new video space make him the Doctor Evil of lacrosse?