I’m watching the D3 championship before heading out to film more of the tailgate show we do each year. Gettysburg leads Cortland 4-2. I was surprised to see Gettysburg make the final after watching them get hammered by Stevenson earlier in the year, but I really like Hank Janczyk, the Gettysburg Coach, so I am glad he’s in. I can’t root for anyone up here in the press box, but I would root for the Bullets if I did. On the other hand there’s a chance for a total run of the table by upstate New York as Syracuse plays Cornell tomorrow and LeMoyne and Cortland have opportunities to win titles today. Remember that Onondaga already won the JUCO title last week. I’m not from upstate but I wouldn’t mind seeing them take all the titles again, rewarding the blue collar style of lacrosse they play up there.
I predicted Virginia to crush Cornell, but am so glad the opposite occurred. I really think certain sacrifices were made at Virginia over the last two years in the quest for a title that were errors in my judgment. A well rounded team with lots of experience would perhaps been able to recover against Cornell, but the guys with the skills to make that comeback were on the bench as they have been all year. I have nothing against the Brattons, either of them. But, neither has the abilities to carry a team to a title. That was obvious to me years ago when they played U-19 and should not have made that team. There are much better players, in my opinion, riding pine for UVa so that the twins can learn, on the field, things these other kids have known since 8th and 9th grade. This year, I thought UVa had enough talent all around to win anyway, but obviously not. If the Tewaaraton folks were watching I also think Glading is out of the running, as is Duke’s Ned Crotty as far as I am concerned. Enter Cornell’s John Glynn, who dominated Virginia even with an elbow injury. He’s not a finalist for the Tewaaraton award, but his excellent play may end up helping teammate Max Seibald win the award.
Cornell has a history of playing Syracuse tough so that may just be a great game and may even be a Cornell championship, which would be huge for the game and it’s escape from the grasp of the elite teams we see win year in and year out. So while I love the ‘Cuse and have since I was a kid, I want Cornell to win.
A few notes from the event in general. Yesterday, we tried to interview a guy leaving the Cornell Virginia game carrying a huge stuffed bear on his back. But when we caught up with him and asked for an interview after the Cornell win, he refused. No wonder. He was wearing Virginia shorts and shirt and had obviously stolen the bear mascot and was making an elusive exit from the stadium. I am sure that some Charlottesville frat house will be the new home of the Cornell bear. Some small consolation for a loyal fan who drove 10-15 hours to see his team choke.
There’s a guy for CBS College Sports on the field carrying a 50 pound TV camera on his back as he roams the sideline and runs on the field for close ups after goals and such. He will shoot both the D2 and D3 games with that monstrosity on his back. He is my MVP of the event. He just narrowly beats the excellent and friendly staff at Gillette Stadium. For the second year in a row they have performed exceptionally. One friendly employee really helped us out in navigation the complex parking lot to get from one spot to another amidst hectic traffic. She literally drove out of her way to let us follow her to the spot we needed to find. Thanks!
The press food at the D3 championship game is, for the first time ever, better than the D2 semis. I swear the chicken is garnished with leeks. There’s a Tomato and Mozzarella salad. I thought we might wait until San Francisco hosted the games in 2034 to get such fare at a lacrosse game. The pressure is on for Baltimore next year. I am thinking Crab dip and Berger Cookies.
The Patriot Place shopping area was completed in the off-season which makes the whole area a lot more convenient to be stranded for three days. An entire shopping mall and hotel complex now surrounds the stadium and the parking area seems to have doubled.
The only real mess up, from an organizational standpoint happened today, as the Sunday ticket received by all who bought the three day ticket package had the times of today’s games as 1:30 and 4:30 while the games really started at 12:00 and 2:30. The crowd has picked up considerably for the D3 game’s second half, many missing the first as they took their time getting to the venue because of the late start time they assumed was correct. Imagine sitting in a Denny’s eating your egg and bacon skillet while your team is playing without you after 8 hour drive to see the game.
I spoke to John Grant, Jr. and legendary Cornell coach Richie Moran today and they both love the D3 and D2 games. Jr. never goes into the D1 games, preferring the tailgate scene for Saturday and Monday. But he faithfully watches the Sunday games, saying they are just more exciting to watch. Coach Moran and I agreed that it’s the flaws that teams have and the exploitation of them that makes for great lacrosse and often at the D1 level, those are far and few between. It’s like the difference between college and pro basketball. I am addicted to college hoops and hate the pro game for exactly that reason and a couple others.
Yesterday, we passed an area where what looked like a carry on sized piece of luggage had been abandoned on the main concourse of the stadium. An announcement had been made to find the owner but the security around the bag was thick and dead serious, as it should be in a 50,000 person crowd with today’s post-911 sensibilities. So today, there are bomb dogs present at the venue. It feels weird but whatever they have to do for the safety of our community here in Foxboro, is ok with me.
Looks like Cortland is going to beat Gettysburg. It’s now 9-6 with 1:08 left and I am off to start today’s tailgate show. Talk to you tomorrow!