Friday, May 7, 2010

A Re-Laxing Weekend

The scouting report says that their top attackman is a great finisher who also sees the field, their big middie has a hard shot, their defense is very aggressive and their goalie makes saves, outlets the ball and generally takes charge of that entire side of the field.

TigerBlog is talking about the Lower Bucks-Central Bucks game Saturday morning for first place in the Southeast Pennsylvania Youth Lacrosse Association 7/8 grade Northern Division. Lower Bucks-Central Bucks. Now there's a rivalry.

What, you were thinking Ivy League tournament?

For the second time in five years, the sport of men's lacrosse is making national news for reasons it would prefer not to. TigerBlog has read a great deal about the current case, including an extraordinary piece on a website called

On what would be considered the more mainstream sites, such as, every update to the story brings with it hundreds or thousands of reader comments. And, of course, many of the comments are from people who don't follow lacrosse closely, and almost all of those rip the lacrosse stereotype of spoiled rich kids from elite prep schools.

Lower Bucks has 18 players on its roster. Central Bucks probably has about the same. Of that group of nearly 40 kids, odds are good that none will become a Division I college player. But who knows? Maybe one will.

And then multiply that out by all of the leagues like Lower Bucks and Central Bucks that didn't exist anymore, and clearly the landscape of the sport is changing, at least at the youth and high school level.

The Lower Bucks and Central Bucks kids aren't poor, but they're hardly rich. For the most part they'll end up as public high school kids, just like the tens of thousands of other youth players around the country just like them.

Eventually, lacrosse on the college level will get away from the stereotype. And, who knows, maybe there will start to be a movement to grow the sport nationally with an expansion of the number of Division I teams, perhaps something that will one day trace its origin to Bill Tierney's move to Denver.

In the meantime, in the face of the horrible tragedy for which there are no words that can accurately sum up how sad it all is, college lacrosse hits its best time, with the end of the conference tournaments, the NCAA selections and then the tournament itself.

For the first time, there is an Ivy League tournament, won by the Penn women a week ago and kicking off today at 5 with the Princeton-Yale game at Cornell. The host school will face Brown at 8; the winners play Sunday at noon.

The tournament determines only the league's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. The four teams competing have already shared the league title, and nothing this weekend will change that designation.

All in all, fans of Ivy lacrosse couldn't ask for more.

You have Princeton and Cornell, whose NCAA positions seem safe, and Yale and Brown, who probably need a win or even two to get in.

You have a very young Princeton team and a very, very young Yale team in a rematch of a game from March 27 that was tied 1-1, 2-2, 3-3, 4-4, 5-5 and 6-6 before Princeton freshman Jeff Froccaro scored with 37 seconds left to win it.

You have Brown vs. Cornell in a game that Brown won two weeks ago, on the same field to boot. And down the road, in Sunday's final?

Any of the matchups are fascinating, but the one Princeton fans are hoping to see is one between their team and Cornell, after last weekend's dramatic and, for the Orange and Black fans, completely frustrating 10-9 win by the Big Red.

Of course, much of the lacrosse selections depend on RPI and quality wins. Could it be better for a team, mathematically at least, to lose? It's possible (but not something TB is going to get into here).

Stuck in the middle of the Ivy tournament is the 7/8 grade game. TB will watch both events with great interest and fascination.

In Ithaca, he'll see the best of what the sport has to offer, high quality Division I lacrosse played by nationally ranked teams in rivalries that date back a long time, in the case of Princeton-Yale to 1882, played by athletes who are also students at some of the nation's finest colleges. They play for teams that have great history and great presents, having battled each other in tremendous games this year and in recent years.

And in the youth game, he'll see a reminder that the game can be played with innocence, by kids who probably will never get to play in events like the college conference tournaments, by kids who are a walking monument to the game's evolution.

Go Princeton.

And Lower Bucks.


Anonymous said...

Please. There are other sports than lacrosse.

Anonymous said...

yeah. but few other good ones.