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Originally posted on LaxSpot on 10/31/2008

Whats up ladies and Gentleman!

OK so it has been what seems like AGES since I posted a blog…mostly because my MLL season took a FAST downward spiral…Apparently I was right all alone . . .I tore my laberum (some crap in my shoulder) in my second game of the season against Denver…played the rest of the season with it like that and needless to say I was less than allstar material!…I did have a few great moments and had a blast playing in the league, but to add insult to injury I tore my groin in the first Philly game…I actually tried to play through that sucker and ended up completely tearing it…not the way I wanted to end my career in the MLL, especially since the last three games were going to be the ones where I boosted my F/O percentage (Philly and washington would have been much easier games)….

Anyway I really enjoyed this season, I was the starter until I got hurt at the end and I learned that I still had it in me…I think that it is a good lesson for any young player…that if a man puching 30yrs old can get back in to shape and play in the MLL than certainly ANY young person with the right drive and work ethic can achieve any goal!

I am officially signing off as a MLL player, and retiring for good this time…but please look forward to my blogs in the future…I plan on reporting on alot of the Towson and Washington College seasons as well as many of the other teams acrosse the nation!

I leave you all with a picture of the next Towson All American in my family, my nephew andrew…please do not tell him that he is holding a womens stick…

Good luck to all

JB

aka  “AT30MYHANDSARESTILLFASTERTHANMOST”

Originally posted on LaxSpot on 07/14/2008

Whats up ladies and gentleman?!…OK so some of you were probably thinking I killed myself, after getting dominated by Peter Vlahakis TWICE!…but I didnt.  I spent most of the week trying to forget that those games ever even happened.  In fact, WHO IS PETER VLAHAKIS?

anyway We played Philly this past week and I am happy to say I was MUCH better at the X.  I was 11 of 21 and I have to say it should have been more like 13 or 14 of 21, I pulled like three of them off the X and he was able to stand up and hold me until one of his wings would come in and take my GB…I was begging for some hold calls but apparently the refs did not think it was the case.  Anyway I was still real happy with my performance at the X.  I did make two mental mistakes after picking up the GB, but what else is new?!

As far as the game was concerned we lost, and I am not usually one who likes to blame refs, and I will not start now but I think it was awefull interesting that Philly had 6 EMO oportunities and we had NONE, and according to the refs I held/tripped andy corno twice and when he literally would put his hands on my chest and grab me if I pulled the ball out it is not a hold…(by the way I dont falt corno, he did what he had to do to win face-offs, and it is only cheating if they call it)…either way at the end of the day just as Peter Jacobs said, “you have to make your own luck”  and we did not on this day.

This week is Alex Smith again, and I presume I will be in the lineup, although it is inevitable that one of these weeks they will give this brennan kid another shot, I just dont think they will throw him to the wolf, named alex smith, I just dont see how that would benefit him.  Assuming I am in the lineup I plan on getting off the X quickly as I did with Corno.  If I let Smith tie it up at the X we are in trouble, his wings are too good and he is too crafty in a scrum, I must not let that happen.

So in the meantime I am going to do exactly what I did last week…I will watch no film of my upcoming opponent, I will not create some detailed scouting report and I will not overthink anything.  It is all about me this week and how Alex Smith is going to need to change for ME.

Until next time

JB
A.K.A.  ”THE WILEY VETERAN” (as our GM says!)

Originally posted on LaxSpot on 06/27/2008

Whats happening ladies and gentleman?  Last time I wrote you I was telling you abouthow I did against alex smith and that I was gearing up for San Fran.  As most of you know we won that game and I probably played the best I have yet.  I must say howeer that Guerenlian from San Fran also gave me a few free ones, since he was almost incapable of NOT getting called for some sort of proceedure…either way I will take it!

now on to Long Island…just like every week  I have been getting butchered in the media…lax United says that vlahakis will destroy me, major league lacrosse (website) says the same and I am actually getting used to it…even when I play well they seem to find something to talk about, but hey, i guess not everyone is always going to like you!  Its cool though, its humbling, and I am feeding off of it.  My goal is to win games, not have the best face-off percentage, and right now we are winning games…and if I might say so myself I am right there in the hunt with the rest of the face-off men, I have only had ONE bad game statistically and my coach was actually pretty happy with my performance even though the numbers were bad.  If you look at the rest of the league I am far from the worste in the league (but for some reason I am the only one who seems to get called out every week) and there are really only two guys who’s numbers stand out…SMITH and, well, VLAHAKIS.

I have watched more film on this kid that I did for most of my opponents in college, and I must say his wing play is realy good, but I actually think it is his wing play that comes through for him every week, it is really not him winning a tone of draws clean to himself.  If we can contain Cocchi(my old college wing man) and this Orsen Character I think we can win alot of face-offs.  Over the last couple of games I have noticed our team starting to “gell” , they are starting to understand how I play and what my tendencies are…it is a real shame that we  had to play half a season to get used to eachother, but I guess you just cant hlep some things.

Anyway I feel good about this weekends game, I am not sure why or what exactly I feel good about (whether it be winning the game or the face-off battle) but I feel good.  I will be taking SOFletes musical suggestions into consideration tonight when i make my playlist for pre game, although I already have some of those songs on my IPOD.  Wish me luck this weekend, Im looking to shock the lacrosse world…and show them the ol’guy still has some fire in him!

JB

aka “olderbutwiser”

Originally posted on LaxSpot on 06/19/2008

Whats up folks?!?!?!?

OK so some of you have already started asking about last weeks game, and whether or not I am ready to hang myself, and the answer is NO, I am actually OK with my performance from last week.

Early in the game things looked good.  On the first draw I hit the whistle just right and pulled it out the front, except that the ball did not go very far and I over ran it.  the next two were violations on Alex Smith.  Then I left  the ball on the X twice and started to worry that I was not getting enough of the ball.  And for anyone who faces off they know that when you start to worry, you start to lose.  Because Alex was immediately diving down on my stick, I could not tell how much if any of the ball I had in my stick.  He was apparently doing this intentionally (we spoke after the game).  Accourding to Alex I was winning the draw but since he was able to dive down and cover my stick fast enough, I was unable to trust that I had enough of the ball to get it off the X.  he was then using his forearm to push my stick back and remove the ball from my stick (crafty, I know).  At this point I was actually abandoning my clamp and reverting to a swim move that would tie him up making it a 50/50 with the wings.  This was my ultimate goal anyway as the last thing we wanted to do was allow Alex to create offense with his fast breaks.

By the fourth quarter I was spent, I mean almost every face off was like a wrestling match, with his wings showing no signs of letting up (note his wings play is rediculous, they picked up at least 12 of  Smiths 17 wins).  This is when we brought in the fresh meat, and I mean MEAT.  As many of you already know NJ selected Stephen Peyser the Middie from Hopkins, and he is no slouch at the X.  In college he was able to win like 56% percent of his draws WHILE he was playing two way middie…that is rediculous.  SOOOOO when we asked him to spell me in the Fourth quarter, he was way more fresh than he usually is, and definately more fresh than Alex Smith (I seriously beat him in to the ground physically).  When Stephen went in we were starting a run and leading the game, 5 out of 6 face-off wins later we were up by 4 and looking prime to win this game.  I went back in completely refreshed and won the last couple of draws, and we won the game….SWEEEET.

Anyway although this was a tough one for my ego, I learned that you dont always have to have a great day statistically to help your team win…I had a job to do, and I did it for the most part, and as Peter Jacobs said, my numbers do not reflect how I played AT ALL.

This week I take on Greg Geurenlian and the San Francisco Dragons (oh and Lax Spots own Hunter Lochte)…Geurenlian is quite an interesting character…he is a complete steak and paints his face (HUMMMMM, I WONDER WHO HE LEARNED THAT FROM) yeah a face-off man who paints his face with eye black . . .WIERD!  and original

I’ve added a few pics, one is of Alex and I after the game last weekend and the others speak for themselves…I wonder if Mr. Geirenlian is a lax spot member???

Justin Berry & Alex Smith

Justin Berry & Alex Smith

Justin Berry on Inside Lacrosse

Justin Berry on Inside Lacrosse

Justin Berry on Inside Lacrosse

Justin Berry on Inside Lacrosse

Originally posted on LaxSpot on 06/13/2008

Whats up folks?!

OK I am a day away from the rochester game and I feel like I did in college going into the final four…WHY?  Well like I said this is a big match up for me this week, not just because I want to play well and I want the team to win.  Alex Smith is more than just another oponnent to me, he is a friend and many people call him my protege.  As complimentary as that is, it is also a bit on the nerve wracking side.  There are high expectations for both of us in this game.  My coach and team knows that I have a detailed scouting report on Alex and should be able to couter everything he does.  His Coaches expect him to beat up on his OLD coach, having youth on his side.  Well which one of us has the advantage??? I sure dont know, I would like to believe it is me though!

Alex and I have been talking and texting eachother all week…we have said anything from “who do you think will win the NBA championship?”  to “Justin, are you going to take your wheelchair out to take the first draw?”…yeah its been like that.  Anyway last night after a series of texts back and forth about how he is now and always will be my &!%@#, I finally told him I had to stop talking trash and start focusing on this weeks match up.  I do not like to get too caught up in the talk, it makes me forget my goal, and this week my goal is to kick the crap out of “The Alex Smith”.

We usually trade scouting reports on who we are playing from week to week but this week he did not respond to me when I asked him for a detailed report on Alex Smith…WIERD.  As I said before I actually have more information on Alex than anyone in the league, I coached him for two years and taught him everything I could (yet not everything that I know).  He sure has evolved into a great X man, but I am not sure I am buying all of it.  I just cant stop thinking about him as the 17 year old that I used to beat up on in 2001-3.  I mean he was pretty good then, and was better than most College guys in high school, so can he really have gotten THAT much better?  I like to believe I have evolved a good bit as well over the years, my Face off I.Q. is off the charts and im in pretty good shape.

Anyway like Rage says “Know your enemy” and I believe I do, problem is so does he!

For those of you who have CN8 check out the game this weekend at 7:30p or if you are near a computer it will be live on ESPN 360, Check it out!

Thanks again for reading(and as always sorry about the spelling and grammer!)

JB           a.k.a. MIAGISON

Originally posted on LaxSpot on 06/08/2008

What’s up ladies and gentlemen?!  Well it has been a while since I have posted so I have a lot to tell you about.  The last time I wrote I believe I was coming off my first game back and I had a subpar afternoon at the X.  I also told you that I expected to rebound pretty strong.  We had a bye week and then headed out to Denver to take on the high powered Outlaws, and high powered they were.  Jeff Snider (their face off man, and the most recent MVP of the world games) definitely makes the short list of face off men who I truly respect, I rank him in the top three or four, I have ever played against.  To tell you the truth I went into halftime 4 and 8 (NOT GOOD) but I went in at half time and refocused.  We went back and forth a few times and then I finally found what I had been looking for since the first game…RYTHYM.  I was able to rattle off 13 wins in a row, it felt great.  Unfortunately it made no difference in the game, we lost 19 to 11 and even though I came out on top of the face off battle, my first half performance inevitably led to my being sat down for this past weekend’s game against Boston.

As many of you may know New Jersey Drafted this kid Brennan from Syracuse, and I am sure you were all thinking, I must be Pi$$ed.  Weeellllll  I was, and this past weekend they played him to “see how he did against a common opponent”…here is the kicker, Jenkins who is the starting X man for Boston and the “common opponent” would not be playing in our second game.  Instead good friend of mine, Ben Defelice would be taking the draws.  Even though I know that Ben is a fantastic face off man, I also know that he does not regularly take face offs.  In short I was real nervous, but I should have had more faith in my friend, because he dominated at the X, It was unreal.

Although I was pleased to see that my spot should be secure, it is bitter sweet.  What is disappointing is that I know I could have helped us with that game since face offs played a major part in our loss this past weekend.  Our offense was forced to push the issue, so to speak because we almost never had the ball in the second half, so when we got it on offense we were really forcing stuff.  I also have to say that although it seems like my spot is secure I actually feel bad for this Brennan kid, to be honest he is a real nice dude, and I think he could be pretty good in this league, he just needs to be eased into the game.  I think face offs in this league are one of the hardest transitions to make.  EVERY face off man in this league is great, not good, GREAT, and realizing that is the first step in becoming one of them.  Since it is likely that I will hang up the cleats if I get through this season in one piece, I think this kid could really learn from my experience.  One of the things that I do really well is teach facing off, and it would be really smart if this kid would open his eyes and ears and let me pass along my knowledge of the game.  Don’t get me wrong I have not decided if I will play next year or not but I am seriously considering hanging them up.  My goal was to get back on a team and have a successful year, and if I succeed in doing so I would be fine with handing over the reins to this youngster.

Anyway I expect to be back in the lineup this week, and it should be a real good match up too.  We play Rochester and some of you already know this but I actually coached Alex Smith in high school.  His father found me and contracted me out to work with Alex.  Alex is a carbon copy of me and my style, only he has a few more tricks up his sleeve and youth on his side.  This will be like Mr. Miagi and the Karate Kid squaring off for the first time…I like to believe my wisdom will overcome his youth!  As always I will let you all know how it goes…wish me luck!

Wax on Wax off!

JB

Originally posted on LaxSpot on 05/24/2008

WEEEEEELLLLLL HELLOOOOOO,

What’s up ladies and gentlemen?!?!?!?!?  Well Week one is over and some of you already know that we lost our first outing 13-9.  It was a real bummer because we came back in the third to tie the game at 9 going into the fourth.  Then things seemed to unravel.  I am not sure if we just ran out of steam or if we just made some mistakes, but either way we did not answer Boston’s 4 goal run and let this one slip away.

As a whole however I think we showed some real good things.  We played really well for two quarters but really crapped the bed for the other two.  Also should note, the Boston fans are crazy.  They have this guy who sits right behind the opposing team’s bench with a crew and he just rips into whomever he can for the whole 60 mins.  AND YES HE FOUND MR. BERRY!  I have to say it was the first time I actually have been heckled on this level…what made it worse was that the face-off battle was a pretty fierce one.  Jenkins and I went back and forth for four quarters with him finally getting the edge in the fourth…I should also note that this was the first time since day one of training camp that me and my wingmen had a chance to play full field together(also note that Boston had full field scrimmages EVERY WEEK of training camp)…NO EXCUSES THOUGH, Jenkins and his wing men did a great job, as Jenkins always does, he did a great job of tying me up, knowing that I like to get off the X quick….OK back to the heckler, this guy actually had me believing I had barely won any face-offs all night…it was not until much later that I realized that until the fourth quarter I was actually winning the battle . . .and the power of the heckler is pretty interesting!

Anyway I watched Boston vs. Rochester last night and all I can say is WOW, it was like a highlight reel, Rochester and Boston rattled off like 12 diving/trick goals including a one handed underhand behind the back shot by John Grant Jr….seriously check out the highlight, I would not be surprised to see it on ESPN.  Anyway I was interested in the Face-off battle for obvious reasons, mostly because I hold Alex Smith in high regard and I wanted to see how he faired against the man who gave me fits the previous week.

Alex and I have the exact same style, in fact I used to train him in high school, so it only makes sense that we would play like each other….WOW, Jenkins laid the smokes to his A$$.  I believe Smith was 13/31 at the X which was real surprising…it also made me feel better about being just under 50% against Jenkins. . .I cannot wait to play Jenkins again in June…I’m gonna be a whole new man, since I will have several games under my belt by then, and I will be real hungry, for a piece of him.

I will end with this story…In 2001, my senior year of college and without question my best year of college lacrosse we played UVA in the first game of the season.  We lost 11-7 and I was just under 50% in the game against, none other than Dave Jenkins.  This was the only sub 50% day I had all year and we ended up in the final four.  Later that year, in the MLL Combine I had the chance to play Jenkins again, and went 100% (in only like 6 attempts) but still, it was a WAY different story than in earlier in the season.

I do not believe in coincidences, I do believe that history repeats itself, and I expect to have a great season according to the way this one has started!

Keep tuning in, we play Denver next week and we will have some new faces (I am betting that the two most important ones will be Rabil and Peyser, soo sick) who will likely play a big part in the rest of our season.  Wish me luck against Snider! (And as always sorry about the poor spelling!)

JB

Originally posted on LaxSpot on 05/15/2008

Whats up guys, I thought I should jump online and fill you all in on what is going on with me and the pride.  As I said in the last blog I made the team, what I did not tell you all is that I am in fact starting this weekend against Boston.  Now ordinarily I would be relieved except that I have to have a pretty good showing on Saturday night, I mean all indications are that they are very happy with how I came to camp. . .in shape, with a much improved defensive game and all fired up.  Thing is the draft is the following week and we have 9 picks. . actually  pretty much the whole team is probably a little on edge since we are clearly going to have a big draft.

I did not mention it a before but in week two of training camp I pulled my groin, I did not mention it because I did not want to seem like I had an excuse if I was released.  since I was not and I am starting, I can tell you all that I was able to rehab it every day for the last two weeks and I think I will be close to 100% on Saturday night.  I am a little nervous however about the lack of face-off time I have had since training camp started.  Since they changed the face-off AGAIN, going back to saying “set” before the whistle, I am a bit nervous that my timing will be off, it has been 7 years since I have taken a face-off that was done this way.  I have been practicing at home but as I said I have taken very few live draws in training camp. . . .I did experience some success while doing it so I think I will be fine.

I think this weekend is going to be pretty sweet.  I am hoping to catch up with Jay Horowitz
( a former Towson Teammate) and two of my best friends in the world (Josh Scout and Chuck Fry) are coming to the game and staying the night to hang out in Boston.  I just hope I put on a good show and the team comes out with a win!

I am flying into Boston saturday morning on the same flight as Ben Defelice, a good friend and one of Saturday nights opponents.  When I arrive I have 4 hours to waste until our walk through so i plan on either going to the hotel or simply grabbing a bite in the city.

Wish me luck guys, so far so good but it is a long season and as you may remember it was not just my goal to make the team but to “make it stick”!

Since I like to listen to music before games I was hoping that some of you would give me some ideas for good pump up music. . .What is YOUR favorite song to listen to right before you step on the field???  maybe it will make its way into my ipod for saturday night!

talk to you after this weekends game!

JB

aka  “sirclampsalot”

Originally posted on LaxSpot on 05/08/2008

What’s up ladies and gentleman?

I know it has been a while since I have written so I figured you were all getting worried about the ol’ dog…well good news, I am NOT cut!  In fact I cannot see how this could be going any better.  It is truly amazing what being in great shape has done for my game, and not just facing off.  Doing the power hour class and the training regiment that SOFletes sent me, I have actually turned into quite a decent defensive middie. . .I know, I know, you are all thinking I have taken some peodi (spelling???) or something, but it is true.  Since am in better shape, and my footwork is highly improved, I am actually playing good defense, which inevitably will be the part of my game that gets me on the field.  As I see it no matter how great at face-offs you are, in this league you will lose face-offs. . .it is a fact of life, every face-off man is good. . .the best ones however can win 50-55% of the draws and play defense for just long enough to keep the other team from scoring when they are on the field.  Therefore I knew that I had to get my butt into good shape and learn how to play defense!  And I did.

OK let’s talk about the team, and training camp.  I truly like the guys on the team, many of them I played with or against at some point in my lacrosse career, so the transition has been easy.  We are trying to change the way we play as a team this year, by getting up and down the field more and pushing transition.  Although many of you have probably heard that Hughes, Harrison and Hubbard all went to L.A. and Doneger Mollet and Haugen all retired, we are still optimistic.  we have a solid core and a ridiculous draft coming our way. . .5 of the first 12 picks and 9 overall, in a very deep draft (including the number 2 and 3 draft picks, I am hoping for Rabil and Peyser. . .note, Peyser is the best two way middie in the nation, and should be on the tawaaraton finalist list)…anyway defensively we have a real solid core in McClay, Peyser, Davis and Glatzel, our attack will likely be Urick, Unterstein, and Ford and Middie is wide open, but as I see it Rewkowski, Bolin, Yevoli, and  Peyser will be holding down the middie front, with guys like Chemotte filling in the gaps.

The team has taken on a new train of thought and winning mentality.  I cannot wait for our first game in Boston, I will be squaring off against an old rival in Dave Jenkins and an old teammate and friend in Ben DeFelice. . .should be fun.

Anyway, I’m keeping this one short (mostly because I am at work!), this is the last week of training camp and then we head to Boston. . .wish me luck!

JB

aka “DONTSLEEPONMYDEFENSE”

Originally posted on LaxSpot on 04/18/2008

Just taking a moment to thank Mr. “Hard”.  I am not sure I have ever worked as hard as I did last evening and this morning.  I just kept hearing the same quote over and over. “You’ll get cut”.  Now regardless of who you are, I am certain of this; you are either a complete moron, or a brilliant strategist.  either way I win, because of “Hard”, and other babling idiots (mostly friends) I am more focused than I have been throughout this whole process.  And the best part of it all is that no matter what happens I can honestly say I gave it my best.  If this does not work out at least I will have gotten back into shape, and lost over 20lbs.  Im pushin 30 so taking off weight, and training is not as easy as it used to be (especially since I have not trained seriously since college, not even when I played for L.A.).

Now for the last couple of months I have not paid any attention to weight increases(on max outs), in fact I have been so busy trying to make my weight training another form of aerobic workout I have completely forgotten to test those things.  A couple of days ago I was able to jump on the bench and the squat and test those two movements, and boy was I suprised.  When I started I could only get 275lbs up once if I was really feeling good.  On this day I was able to get 315lbs up four times, and it was after a power hour session (who knows how many times I can actually get that up if I am not so drained!)…squats were also much improved, from 350lbs 6 times to 450lbs 6 times, and I feel pretty good about both of these increases (since they came in a 2 and 1/2 month period).

In the meantime I will continue to work my ass off and I will be thinking of you Mr. “Hard”, in fact I will be putting the face of every person I want to beat down in my head as I hear the words “You’ll get cut”!  Make sure to introduce yourself someday, I cant wait to meet you.

I am probably not going to post a blog for the next week, so I can clear my thoughts and focus on lacrosse.  But I want to thank everyone who contributed to my blog and to this website.  The men who started it have a great idea here and I hope it continues to grow.  I will return with more posts as training camp continues. Wish me luck, unless of course you are “hard”, in his case just keep running your mouth, it is the only thing you do well (yeah,  I know who you are, and you should be focusing on your job right now, not this website).

Thanks again

JB

TRAMPLE THE WEAK
and

HURDLE THE DEAD

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