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Random Thoughts: WILC Recaps — Days 6 & 7

Tuesday was a fairly relaxing day at the World Indoor Lacrosse Championships.  Almost half of the field had the day off, which might have been a good thing to mend almost everything going wrong with the body after such a long season of lacrosse.  It heated up on Wednesday with a few quarterfinals and 16 teams seeing action. So let’s get down to the good, bad and ugly.

World Indoor Lacrosse Championship: Days 6 & 7 Recaps

The Good

First off, let’s talk about the Israel versus England game on Wednesday.  We should have expected a nail-biter after these two went to overtime during the round robin.  England took this one 9-7 that included an empty netter with under a second to go. A good rivalry has started between these two teams and we shall see who comes out on top at the next European championships.  It’s too bad though this wasn’t the 8:00 p.m. game on Wednesday so more fans could have made it out to watch it.

There was some really good action over at the field house on Tuesday.  Sweden and Switzerland played a tight battle to stay alive in the top half of the placement bracket.  So did Hong Kong and Scotland. They might be in placement games, but don’t tell these guys that. Every game still matters to them and they’re playing as hard as they can to win as many as they can.  Considering the lopsided results that were happening at the Arena Bowl, these placement games were a treat to watch.

Then there’s the merchandise.  Teams are slowly running out of merch.  They probably underestimated demand. But I still managed to score a Swedish t-shirt and a bunch of gear for the family from Serbia and Austria.

And the really good, I finally made it down to Stampede Tack.  All of our sponsors for Lacrosse Classified are in British Columbia so I haven’t had the chance to meet any of them yet.  Kevin and his staff are fabulous, and they gave me one of the cowboy hats we’ve been giving away and I bought a pair of Blundstone boots.

Also, we taped the podcast on Tuesday, and it was much better in my opinion with the two of us in the same location, although that won’t be possible in the future.  I really appreciated Jim Scherr’s interview and the candidness of his talk about the state of the game and of lacrosse worldwide. Often these interviews can be a big sales pitch, but instead, we got a raw, honest assessment of the game around the world.  Then, we had Blaze Riorden. I had never met Blaze before, and he is a well-spoken young man that also brought humor to the podcast and it was a great interview.

The Bad

This is to be expected, but the crowd size the last two days has dropped off.  It’s the middle of the week and local people are at work. Now, the schedule becomes unpredictable so people can’t plan more than a day or two in advance.  The semifinals are tomorrow and I’m expecting the crowds to pick up for that. There is a very light schedule on Friday, just three games, all at the Fieldhouse, and those will determine 15th through 20th places.  I’ll be taking the opportunity that day to explore Vancouver a bit and meet up with some lacrosse colleagues.

The Ugly

This is a part of every world championships, including field championships — play-in games.  The purpose of these games is that there are two recognitions. First, every team must have a chance to win the title, but secondly, that there is a huge disparity between the top teams in the world and those developing nations so it only makes sense for the top teams to be separated from the rest of the pack in the preliminary round.  As such, each group winner from the lower divisions has a chance to play their way into the semifinals, and possibly a medal. This does make perfect sense.

Unfortunately, the reality is that it also means that you are going to have some giants beating up on developing nations while these play-in games play themselves out.  Finland had to play England in one such game and lost 15-6. The Czechs easily beat the Netherlands in a play-in game between division winners, but then had the unfortunate duty to play the US in a quarterfinal and it was lopsided fast.  3-0 within the first 89 seconds. 6-1 at the end of the first and a 17-3 final.  

I’m not saying that these games shouldn’t be played, however, they do dampen the momentum of the tournament for a few days, especially after the excitement of the Canada – Iroquois game.

Now, for the final bit of the ugly. By picking the Netherlands to beat the Czech Republic, Jake Elliott lost #WhoYaGott for the summer and Stampede Tack has selected his punishment.  Yes, it’s gonna be ugly. Remember what happened last time?

Don’t think we’ve forgotten, Jake…

jake elliott stampede tack #whoyagott

Looking Ahead

Sixteen teams see action on Thursday at the World Indoor Lacrosse Championship, including the two big games. That’s right, the semifinals begin with Canada taking on England and Iroquois taking on the USA.  While one I would expect both to be lopsided, the Iroquois – USA game was unexpectedly close in the round robin and maybe the US has an upset in them. As I stated before on Friday, it is a light day with just three games for 15th to 20th spots, before Saturday where everything will be decided.