Get Me a Beard Trimmer Now! Is Chin Hair a Requirement for Lacrosse Players?

Native Americans are considered to be the first lacrosse players on the planet. While they used rocks and hand made sticks, todays players use hard rubber balls and crosses. Yet one thing has remained the same, the primitive nature of the game, which apparently makes players want to go all natural with their facial hair.

The point of lacrosse is the keep the ball inside of the net of the stick, while you run with it. When time to pass or score, you fling that stick to send the ball flying. This is a rough contact sport that is not meant for the weak of heart, and apparently not for those who don’t own a beard trimmer.

O’Dougherty

Just take a look the professional team the Denver Outlaws. Lacrosse is very popular in Denver, and Chris O’Dougherty one of their most valuable players. While he is known for his lacrosse playing skills, Chris O’Dougherty is also a hit with the ladies. It is not uncommon to find his face, sporting a beautifully trimmed beard on the cover of the Denver News sports section every weekend. He definitely has been given some great beard trimming tips over the years, along with learning how to play lacrosse.

Chris is not the only lacrosse player keeping his beard neatly trimmed. The Charlotte Hounds and Chesapeake Bay Hawks are also sporting an A list of players who are sporting neatly trimmed beards.

If we are keeping score here, then the United States National Team wins hands down in the number of beard trimmers they need to keep in the locker room. We’re not talking stubble here, these are full blown beards in serious need of some beard balm.

The Growing Popularity of Lacrosse

As the beards are growing profusely in lacrosse, its popularity is as well. While it has not yet gained the following that you see with Soccer and American Football, it is a widely popular sport played in High Schools and Colleges all across Northern America. As more professional teams begin to form, it is predicted that the recruitments from these schools will begin to increase.

One of the reasons for its lagging behind in the sports arena is the skill involved in playing the sport. While all sports require a certain level of eye to hand coordination, those who play lacrosse will tell you that it is heightened with theirs. It is one thing to have to throw and catch a ball with your bare hands, it is something else entirely when you need to use a small net attached to a long stick.

If you have never seen a game of lacrosse played, it is very exciting and not just for the beards. Support this sports continuing growth by attending games, both at the college and professional level. As it gains fans and spectators, it will begin to receive the sponsorships needed to form new teams and leagues and bring it forward as a contender for most popular professional sport.

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End of Season Party

lacrosse

The Fairfield Warde Boys Varsity Lacrosse League brought their season to a celebratory close with a bang-up end of season party. The party took place in City Park. It was hosted by athletes’ parents, many who took the opportunity to show off their own skills. Matt Wilson’s father, Brett Wilson, owns a BBQ business called Smokey Goodness BBQ, and he generously provided scrumptious BBQ brisket, smoky bacon beans and grilled corn on the cob for 20 hungry teenage boys and their parents. (Brisket loving readers can check out Brett Wilson’s catering options for their own event at www.smokygoodnessBBQ.com.) The dessert course featured of an artistic creation by Samuel Kennington’s mother, Theresa Kennington, who crafted a white and gold cake featuring a fondant lacrosse stick cradling a candy ball. Not to be outdone, Mandy Frederick, mother of Billy Frederick, placed party favors at each place setting. Each guest sat down to a miniature lacrosse stick made with bright yellow pipe cleaners holding an over-size lacrosse ball. (The balls were actually Tootsie Pops.)

The slide show was set

After some brief welcoming comments by the head coach, Troy Manzel, the afternoon event kicked off with a surprise slide show of the Mustangs’ best moments. Collaboratively created by coaches and parents, the slide show was set to a soundtrack that had the kids pumping their fists and wondering which parents were cool enough to come up with all the great music.

The players were ready for some public recognition and acknowledgements

With the excitement of their season successes in the air, the players were ready for some public recognition and acknowledgements. The young men passed a lacrosse ball from player to player, and the person with the ball had an opportunity to say what was special to them about the season or to acknowledge someone who had made a difference for them. One player reminisced about the team’s antics at a hotel when they traveled to state competitions. One of the younger players acknowledged one of the seniors, telling him the time he took for post-game conversations with the rookie made a huge difference in the way I thought about the game and my plays.

The awards portion

The awards portion of the day revealed Steven Jackson as Rookie of the Year. Jake Martin was named Offensive MVP, while Jason Katz received the same MVP honor for defense. Brandon Brown walked away as Most Improved Player, and for his extra physical and mental efforts, Brian Gallant was awarded the Hustle Award. All the young men were given certificates with a list of season wins as well as a framed team photo.

A highlight of the evening was guest speaker Wilson Moore, a professor of sports psychology from Fairfield University. Professor Moore was formerly a lacrosse coach. Players and parents alike keenly listened as Moore spoke of mental toughness, reminding the players that their game was 90% mental.

The biggest surprise of the evening

The biggest surprise of the evening, however, was yet to come. Head coach Manzel was a hero to many of the young men on the team, and he was greatly admired by parents. In the previous months, players and parents had come together to brainstorm a special gift for him. Manzel was known for bringing together family and friends for hours of fun at his backyard BBQ parties, so a few parents volunteered to do some research and find top rated electric smokers. The parents generously pooled their resources and purchased a smoker for Manzel. As the finale of the event, the athletes took turns telling Manzel what he meant to them. Phrases such as role model, best coach ever, and the dad I never had moved Manzel to tears. He was speechless when the young men presented him with his gift. When he could talk again, he said they would be the first to sample the new smoky tastes, and he invited them all to his next family BBQ. After all, he said, this team is a family. It was a fine end to a fine event full of celebration, friendship, comradery and team spirit.

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Off-Season Lacrosse Training

In the off-season it’s critical to stay in peak shape, regardless of what sport you’re playing. Coming into camp overweight (Dustin Byfuglien anyone? – here!) is a sure fire way to be ridiculed and potentially even cut from a lacrosse roster.

There are two problems with off-season training first off nothing can really mimic game intensity, secondly it can be a grind to hit the gym twice a day during your off-season’s peak training. It’s also possible to come to camp burnt out, after all the season is a long grind and your body needs adequate time to rest and recover from the physical exertion you place on it every year.

lacrose

So how do you avoid burning out, while making sure you’re not coming into camp overweight?

Multi-Sport Training for Lacrosse

Some of the worlds best athletes were multi-sport athletes. Think Michael Jordan who was a marginal baseball player and the greatest basketball player, or better yet Bo Jackson who was a sensational baseball player AND football player. As an aside if you’ve never seen you don’t know Bo it’s a must see. Find Bo at http://espn.go.com/30for30/film?page=you-dont-know-bo

The absolute best way to stay active, avoid burnout and actually enjoy your off-season training is to play a variety of sports. Here is a list of some sports you can take up and the benefits they have.

  • Basketball – Basketball is a terrific sport to improve your hand eye, increase your stamina while working on your leg strength. All that jumping does wonders for hamstring and quadriceps power.
  • Hockey – Most lacrosse players started out playing hockey. It’s a pretty natural transition from the rules of the game to overall skill set required. Skating instead of running will target muscles that otherwise mostly ignored while running. And of course your hand eye will improve as well.
  • Stand Up Paddle Boarding – Potentially my favorite offseason sport. I usually enter into some amateur paddle board races. However, even if you’re a complete beginner paddle boarder it’s still a great workout. You’ll engage your core and stability muscles which is great when someone is trying to knock you off stride in a game.
  • Billards – Join a league in the off-season. Shooting pool is arguably the best way to improve your precision and accuracy. It’s all about concentration, pool does a remarkable job of teaching this skill.
  • Ultimate Frisbee – Another great sport. Ultimate will help improve your cardio (or at least maintain it). Chances are if you play lacrosse your hand is pretty good so catching a frisbee probably won’t help you too much. That said there is something to be said for a sport that leaves you gassed AND is enjoyable.
  • Yoga – This shouldn’t surprise anyone anymore. Yoga is being practiced by major league baseball players, NFL players and hockey players a like. It’s a great way to keep your core strong and your limbs flexible. Most people don’t know, if you’re muscles are tight you’re losing power and strength. This is a particularly good way to loosen those tight muscles up!

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Major League Lacrosse on the Tube

We were flicking around channels today and spent some time watching Major League Lacrosse (MLL). It was the Chesapeake Bay Hawks team versus a Canadian team — not sure which one. We flicked between that and X Men, I think the second movie. My little guy wanted to stay with X-Men, but my bigger boy had the remote and kept switching back to the game. (I think if Wolverine played lacrosse he would be unstoppable — no stick necessary.)

Even as a lacrosse rookie I could see that MLL is a high level of competition. But should I automatically assume that it is the “highest” level of lacrosse competition? Are these guys heads and shoulders above the top college teams and players? To my untrained eye the difference was not perfectly clear. I mentioned this to my son and he could clearly see that the MLL guys were better.

He pointed out to me the difference in the way that they move the ball around the field — they actually “slow it down” even though there’s a shot clock. Another thing he pointed out was that they rarely sprint the ball down the field on fast breaks. I asked him “why not?” And he replied, ”because they don’t have to.” They know how to make their passes to move the ball up the field. No heroic solo fast breaks necessary. I will have to watch more MLL to see if this holds as a general rule and what other characteristics there are that set MLL at the top of the lax pyramid.

Maybe as my eye becomes more “trained” I will pick up on other characteristics and nuances that show how the MLL game is more advanced than D-1 college and how the individual players are truly the cream of the crop. I don’t have a problem seeing the differences versus the college level when I watch the NFL, MLB or the NBA. In the case of the NBA an exception might be the level of intensity though. Everyone has watched NBA games where the players seem to be sleep walking. But there isn’t much doubt that the physical gifts of the average NBA, NFL or MLB player are vastly superior to the average college D-1 player. That must be true for MLL too. My guess is that as the pool of talent grows, with more D-1 schools fielding lacrosse teams, the talent superiority of MLL will become more distinct. Red from homepage lacrosseoshawa.ca

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Is Lacrosse a Year-Round Game?

These days I can’t figure out whether sports have seasons anymore. When I was a kid way back in the 60′s and 70′s there were definitely seasons for sports: Spring – baseball, Summer – finish baseball, then summer league basketball (outdoors on the blacktop), Fall – football, Winter – basketball. Some kids did swimming in the winter, but not in my neighborhood. I guess people have a greater need to “specialize” these days versus being an “all around” athlete. You don’t hear the phrase “four letter man” very much any more.

Where I grew up, Stratford, CT, there was no lacrosse. I am not exaggerating when I say it wasn’t available. It didn’t exist. I was in tune with all sports activities in town. I mentioned the major sports (above), but I even played pick-up hockey on a frozen pond at Long Brook Park, entered track meets, and played some organized tennis, so I was a versatile athlete — I would have noticed lacrosse, if it existed. Unfortunately it didn’t — our loss, but oh well, such is life.

Lacrosse

Lacrosse

So now, many years later, I am in Baltimore and my son will start indoor lacrosse next month. I don’t know if he will be playing with a club team, with guys from his school team (City College High School) or some combination. Last year we were down in Catonsville at the community college once a week and that seemed like a good workout for him at a nice facility. He got schooled in a few of those games by some kids with some serious skills. I think there may have been some college players mixed in with the high school guys. Its funny, a year ago he was content to play defense — strictly a long stick guy. Now he is all about playing middie or attack — and from what I can tell he has done the work to deserve a shot at it. We’ll see. Read more…

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The Best Protective Lacrosse Equipment For The Price

Protective equipment in the sport of lacrosse is the most important factor when it comes to reducing injury during a game. Although all injuries are not completely preventable, using the best lacrosse equipment can greatly improve performance and lessen the chance that a severe injury will happen. Taking a look at the variety of helmets and gloves will allow the consumer to find the best choice for the price.

As far as helmets go, the best options on the market today are from Warrior. With a variety of different designs and styles to choose from, there is something that will suit just about any lacrosse player at a fairly reasonable price. The Warrior TII Lacrosse Helmet is highly reviewed because it is comfortable to wear and protects the head from impact of any sort throughout the game. Not only does this particular helmet offer the best protection, but it is very lightweight and is designed in a way that looks great on the field. Many of those who have used this helmet previously have found that the line of sight is not affected by the mask portion of the helmet although there are some that have found their sight line to be reduced due to the placement of the bars. The price on the helmet is higher than some of the other models, which can be a slight problem if you are working on a budget, but it does offer the best level of protection.

Lacrosse Play

Lacrosse Play

Another item of protective lacrosse equipment that needs to be purchased to play the sport is a pair of gloves. Gloves are especially important for the goalie as this can greatly improve the comfort and ability to perform during a game without facing injury. The Warrior Shocker Lacrosse Gloves are a good choice for those who are playing lacrosse, especially those who are playing for their high school team. These sharp looking gloves are highly ranked in appearance, but they provide extreme levels of comfort and flexibility without the bulkiness that some other gloves may have. The triple density foam on the fingers is excellent for allowing this glove to fully protect the hand from any injury during game play. The only drawback with this lacrosse equipment glove is those who have hands that sweat more during high levels of activity will find that they may need something that will wick away the sweat a little quicker than what these gloves provide.

All in all, the Warrior TII Lacrosse Helmet and the Warrior Shocker Lacrosse Gloves are good buys for those who are looking for the best protective lacrosse equipment on the market. Click Here

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