Sunday, March 14, 2010

LAX? I wouldn't say it's lax...

This past Saturday I went to a professional lacrosse game. There are a number of items in the phrase "professional lacrosse game" that need to be discussed. First, can I get a show of hands of people who knew there was such a thing as professional lacrosse? (It doesn't count if you wandered over here by clicking "I feel lucky", but welcome!) Honestly, I didn't even know lacrosse was played much outside of Canada until I went to Oberlin. I also didn't know it was kind of a big deal until I got to Syracuse -- the current reigning champions for men's lacrosse. The concept of a professional league didn't enter my mind until I received an invitation to go Saturday morning.

For those unfamiliar with the game it's basically hockey but played on a field, but it is NOT field hockey. Unlike hockey, there is a thirty second shot clock. Also, it seems all physical contact is allowed as long as it ranks above "sucker punch". I'm sure there are nuances that I am completely missing, but that's what I picked up from my crash course. Really, I want to figure out what some of the ref signals mean, such as the patting on the head or the "Single Ladies" hand waggle (I am not making these up).

Another important item to note: Lacrosse fans are deadly serious about the game. There was a superfan sitting a few rows in front of me who was at full throttle once the clock started. I immediately got the "often ejected from kickball games" vibe from him, but it didn't seem like he was a drunken sports fan. In fact, I kept checking the level on his beer glass and it looked like he didn't touch his drink the entire first half, so his passion was either mostly pure or he has a strong pregaming regimen. Although the other people around me weren't as exuberant as this guy, they all had a number of seemingly informed comments about the quality of play.

What also struck me about the game was the constant soundtrack. I've been to a few hockey games and basketball games and music will play during timeouts, station breaks, intermissions, and to introduce penalties. Music played during the entire game with tracks changing whenever teams switched possession.

All in all, it was a pretty entertaining evening. The home team, the Rochester Knighthawks, didn't win but it was really cool to watch. I would recommend going to a game if you get a chance, but there are only 11 teams and half of them are in Canada so chances are there is not a team near you.

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