I am in the process of figuring out how the game of lacrosse works. I grabbed a couple of lacrosse books from the library. I browsed through them, but I haven’t read them thoroughly yet. One of them is Lacrosse for Dummies by Jim Hinkson and Joe Lombardi. It’s kind of weird reading about the rules and details of a sport when every other sport that I know and enjoy I have learned by playing. Football, baseball, basketball, tennis, golf are all sports I essentially learned by playing. Of course if you ever saw my golf game you would have to ask me “Really? You learned something?”
I watched my son’s club team, BlaxLax, play out in Edgewater, MD. It’s about 45 minutes outside of Baltimore. They were playing a team from North Carolina, Fellowship of Christian Athletes. The tournament was called Boy’s OW2P (One Way to Play) National one Way 2 Play Drug Free High School Lacrosse Tournament. The flyer said there were 36 teams involved. By the time I got there it was their 2nd game of the day at 3 p.m.. The first game at 11:00 (which I missed because I took my younger son to his golf lesson at Mt. Pleasant Golf Course in Baltimore) was against the “A” team of this NC group which they lost. The second game was against the “B” team and they won that one 7-6. The NC group had plenty of guys for both squads.
As a lacrosse neophyte and a general observer of sports culture, I look at the White vs. Black ratio and match-up in lacrosse in the same way that I do when I am watching other sports. It is always interesting to me how Whites and Blacks, when left to themselves, approach sports differently in their preparation and execution. Its a cultural thing. The difference here is that I don’t know the game of lacrosse well enough YET to make note of how the cultural differences between Whites and Blacks (suburban / urban) effect how they play lacrosse. One thing did pop out yesterday which is analogous to basketball (which I have played and followed closely for a long time). BlaxLax had a couple of attack guys that put on moves like you might see a quick little point guard put on in a pick up playground game in Baltimore City. If you have ever gone to a high profile summer league basketball game with some real “players” you have seen guys show off some crazy cross-overs, fakes, spins, hesitation, etc. Well BlaxLax did a little bit of that yesterday. It was like “oohs and aahs” time. As a watched I thought, this is where I expect African American lacrosse to go eventually. Basketball-like playground moves and acrobatic finishes. BlaxLax was not too strong on their finishes yesterday, and that is clearly the next frontier for this team. I remember playing in basketball games when we were able to penetrate off a dribble move and get to the rim over and over again but were short on the finishes for some reason. It’s a concentration issue that can be hard to shake off within a quarter, a half, or even a whole game. Sometimes its contagious.
I have seen these guys progress from not being being able to catch and throw consistently to figuring out how to work it around, control the ball under pressure, and put it into the hands of the “ball-handler / penetrator” and then for the other guys to be aware enough to get open for the dish or the “tip-in.” There are probably lacrosse terms for “dish” and “tip-in” but I don’t know what they are. Yet.