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usc_laxProps to “The” Adam Shuman from U South Carolina for sending me a SC Lax shirt.

How cool is that!?

I am at my gym yesterday Parisi Speed School in Morris Plains, NJ where the training is very Delbarton Lax intensive and I get stopped by no less than 3 varsity players commenting on where I got it.

I am a bit on the horse of the MCLA, not just because they did a feature article on me in this months issue, but because I believe it to be the “real” concentrated growth in the game today.

Think about it.  Huge student bodies, legit alumni, on the map for TV and continuous recognition for the caliber of athlete deciding to play MCLA versus D2 or D3.

Ask yourself the question, would you rather play D2 or D3 at a small virtually unknown school or rock out playing high level club at eerrr!!!

Texas?? Or USC where the Girlz are pretty???

What do you think?

90210How has the recent mainstream lacrosse exposure helped our game?

Has it really? Or do we just think it has?

Is there a tangible way to even know?

There has been mainstream 90210, the back drop to ads for hit show House, the subject for numerous Law and Order episodes and even a Duke Lacrosse movie currently being written by a legit Hollywood writer for Home Box Office or HBO.

The old adage is all pub is good pub except when it come to the MLL…here is the exception the the rule your mother always told you about.

There is some back room talk about what happens next, nothing to bring out just yet…but there are good changes coming.

For all you laxers, keep laxing, for all you baseball players, keep laxing.

Btw- Congrats to Coach Pressler for his first RE-D1 win vs Sacred Heart!

This legendary line to a popular song in the 70’s has been likened to the lackluster success of Dave Gross’s MLL going from 10 teams to 6.

To Industry insiders this should come as no surprise as Tickets Sold + Merchandise + Televsion and Media Coverage = Success.  As opposed to minimal fans + minimal merchandise + average television and media support = A Failing Entity.

If you ask Dave, he will assure you this is not the case ‘blah, blah, blah’.

I am not the first person to suggest that the MLL will continue to fail until he gets reassigned, replaced  or flat out cut from the roster, even though he will tell you that I am the only one.  The MLL has a ton of talent (on the field that is), a decent base of teams (cities), some real characters (in a good way) and a small but loyal fan base (in 2 cities).

Believe it or not, I would like to see the MLL succeed.  I have been talking this talk for 3 years now and feel like a broken record.  I even had a quality customizable product that would be a no brainer for the MLL to sell with their logos and a hefty profit margin.  Dave Gross wouldn’t consider the deal.  Dave Gross wouldn’t consider the deal.  I believe that giving someone who is not involved with his inner circle credit for a deal is something he is not interested in doing.  The bottom line is that most of the comments and criticisms come directly from player and or management in the league.

I am happy I don’t play.

Moving onto another topic.  Let’s try an experiment.

Ask any teenage laxer between the ages of 10 and 15 years old.  Ask them to name any 10 colleges that first come to mind.  Not lacrosse colleges, but just college’s.   I bet that at least 4 out of 10 are MCLA “club” universities.

How about U of Michigan, Michigan State, South Carolina, Oregon, Southern California, Texas and Texas A&M to name a few.

How cool would it be to see a Michigan Lacrosse hoodie???

This gear is available, but not from our standard buying options like the few Lax dominant catalogs and retail stores.  At this point we have to dig a little deeper.  Use your search engine of choice and search one of these programs.

You should see an online store with various pieces of gear.

Wait until you see the looks of disbelief as to where you scored that piece of swag lax gold!!

The Agent

This past month our good friends at US Lacrosse included a present for their members inside the monthly newsletter.  Personally, I wasn’t expecting anything since I already receive the highly coveted ‘Lacrosse Magazine’ just for being a member.  But inside, there was as a link to “Download the USL Widget”.

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Being a curious techie type of person, I had to check it out.  So I followed the instructions and downloaded the app and installed it.  I gotta say without sucking up, that this is a neat application and I think it will be something that I will use during the Spring and Summer.  

Here are some of the strong points. 

  • It takes almost no time at all to download.
  • Quick to run, just create a link on your desktop.
  • The Info Center provides you with all the updated scores, news and USL Headlines from all divisions and the pros.  Great for Sunday and Monday mornings!
  • And last but not least, it includes a lacrosse video game!

Finally!!  The lacrosse game that we have been waiting for is here and is free from US Lacrosse.  Well not quite, but it’s a start.  Kill some time at work or at half time while watching your favorite game on CBS or ESPNU.  I was introduced to the game at the US Lacrosse National Convention a few weeks ago in Baltimore and liked it from the start.  It’s a simple yet fun game of wall ball but you’ll be addicted in no time….LASER! 

If you don’t have it, download it here:  http://www.uslacrosse.org/info/US_Lacrosse.exe.zip

02192009_uslax_wallball

A buzz word over the past few years on the Internet has been “Web 2.0″ including the facet of “Social Networking”.  As a whole, the lacrosse community has not had much to discuss in this arena.  A few companies, sites and players had put themselves on exsisting sites such as Facebook or Myspace in order to take part in the scene of social networking and that was the extent of the use of these tools in our sport.

                       

What is Web 2.0?
The term Web 2.0 may have many of you out there in the lacrosse world confused.  What it means is the 2nd generation of the web.  It’s a move away from static information based pages of the past to more dynamic technologically driven sites containing functionality to allow user interaction, collaboration and the sharing of content, information and ideas. 

What is Social Networking?
Social networking is a place or community where individuals can gather who share a common interest, belief or hobby.  These social places often offer the ability for users to stay in touch and to keep tabs on the activities of each individual.  They also create a medium for users to express themselves in a creative and meaningful manner in which other interested parties can utilize this information. 

So now that you know what the Web 2.0 and social networking are…

When did these technologies make it to lacrosse? 
The origins of lacrosse in the Web 2.0 come from the forum based sites that started as far back as the mid to late 1990’s.  The sport of lacrosse has its share of online forums that allow users to register and express their feelings or write about topics in the game. 

The Web 2.0 lacrosse revolution made it mainstream in 2007 when a website called LaxSpot.com was launched by 3 former lacrosse players from Salisbury University.  The new age of the web was introduced to the lacrosse community through this application and would spread like a wildfire across the spectrum.

LaxSpot.com was the first fully based social network dedicated to lacrosse.  It incorporated the functionality of the popular social networks with the ability to add friends, join groups, post blogs, pictures and videos.  The separating factor, it was for the lacrosse niche only.   This was something that the sport had not seen before but could only be envisioned.

For the 2008 season, the National Lacrosse League (NLL) introduced a social networking tool on their site for their fans.  Not only could fans keep track of their teams on the regular website, but they could now befriend other fans and share their point of view about NLL topics. 

Also in 2008, the Warrior Lacrosse company launched a social network of its own on their site.  Many have brought up the question, why would a manufacturer launch a site such as this?  The answer is to keep users coming back with brand in their mind.  Warrior was the first manufacturer to use social networking as a marketing tool to get product information to the consumer, keep their sponsored athletes in the limelight while promoting their product and to keep the user base coming back to get the scoop on new ideas and products. 

Has social networking become too much? 
If you’re a proficient web user, chances are you are already a member of Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, Freindster and E-Lacrosse’s LaxSpot.  You may be asking yourself, “When will this end?”  Unfortunately, there is not an end in site, but things will get better.  Look for the collaboration of sites to include applications that offer sharing of roles.  This isn’t ideal for a Hamburger Eating and PETA social networks to do but it will work for networks where users tend to be redundant. 

What can we expect out of Social Networking?
You can expect social networks to be a continuance of existing sites well into the future.  For instance, with the acquistion of LaxSpot.com by E-Lacrosse, the process has already begun to integrate the social networking aspects into the everyday experience that you have on E-Lacrosse.  This means that you won’t have to be a member of the sites’ social network to see featured blogs, videos and galleries.  They will be available to all browsers of the site, but only members will have the opportunity to interact with one another. 

Both recruits and coaches have already begun to use social networking applications in their respective efforts.  A recruit can now join a recruiting network to post a bio, videos and other information to be viewed by coaches.  Not only can coaches use these tools to find recruits, but there have been major advancements in media based technologies that allow coaches to securely watch and distribute game video to staff and players alike.   This has been a growing trend in sports like football and has now spread to the sport of lacrosse.

How will E-Lacrosse lead the way in Social Networking and Web 2.0?
As stated above, E-Lacrosse has already made strides in providing social networking functionality through the acquisition of LaxSpot.com.  “E-Lacrosse’s LaxSpot” is now available for all our readers to join and take part in the online experience.  After a user registers, they have the opportunity to create and customize your profile, join or create private and public groups, view and add videos and pictures, chat, discuss topics on the E-Lacrosse forum, make friends, comment on media and much more. 

E-Lacrosse has also launched its new blog platform.  The bloggers on this site are actual lacrosse players, fans, coaches and players both past and current.  Our blogging site brings the reader real life takes on the sport and what’s going on with teams and organizations from around the globe. 

When all is said and done, E-Lacrosse has plans in 2009 to integrate its LaxSpot into the entire site to further promote friendship, collaboration and the sharing of the only complete lacrosse experience on the web.

With the game of lacrosse growing at such a rapid pace, it’s tough to keep up with all the teams, gear, moving of professional teams and new faces of stardom.  But hidden beneath all the hype of the top NCAA teams and MLL / NLL all-star games is the growth of the game at the college club level.

The club game has emerged and is flourishing at both huge universities and smaller schools all over the country.  Its growth has gone unnoticed by many following the game.  If you are a lacrosse traditionalist, you would not believe the amount of established teams and leagues that are available to college athletes these days.  And yes, they have sweet jerseys, helmets, gloves, droves of fans coming out to their games and National Championship weekends!

As the women’s game is moving to the NCAA at many schools in Middle America and out West, the men’s teams at most schools do not have the opportunity to move to NCAA status for participation reasons. (Yes, Title IX)   But that is no reason for these teams to lose a competitive edge or even recruit some insane athletes.  It just means that these student athletes have an alternative to play college lacrosse at the ‘club’ level. 

Having personally played with and against many college club players, I found myself amazed at the organization, competitiveness and skill level of some of these teams.  It didn’t even cross my mind to go the college club route when I was choosing where to play ball.  Imagine going to schools such as USC, Arizona or Oklahoma to play lacrosse!?  I didn’t.

While playing in a Hero’s game one summer in Annapolis, MD, I found myself guarding an in shape and talented youngster who had a local area high school helmet on.  I asked him where he was going to school next year and he said, “University of Florida”.  I thought to myself, “Florida…REALLY!?”  It turns out that there was more to lacrosse than what I knew. 

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The largest of the college club leagues is the MCLA (Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association).  According to their website, “The MCLA currently operates in the US and Canada with 213 teams in two divisions, across ten conferences.”   That’s right, 213 teams!!!  With huge schools such as Michigan State, Texas A&M, Tennessee, BYU, UConn, and 200+ others paving the way, the MCLA is filled with great lacrosse and the complete college experience.  

But it doesn’t just stop there.  The NCLL (National College Lacrosse League) has over 100 teams participating as well.  The NCLL contains some schools with varsity programs at all levels but that’s a lot of teams playing the sport of lacrosse.

In 2008, the defending NCAA National Champions, Johns Hopkins University made a trip out to Ann Arbor to scrimmage the highly ranked MCLA University of Michigan team.  This wasn’t only a huge deal for the folks at Michigan, but this was also a big deal to folks who did not know about what the club game had to offer.  Personally, I think it opened the eyes of many high school players who were making their own choices of where to continue their careers.

In due time, some of these teams will be making their way to the NCAA level and it will forever change our sport.  In a positive way!

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