Some of you know that in my youth, I was a bit of an athlete. You know how much I enjoy the Giants and baseball. Some of you have even heard the story of why I learned French in the first place – because I was convinced I’d need that language to negotiate my big professional soccer playing contract with any number of European clubs who’d be surely wanting to sign me out of high school.
While in high school, I was not getting any calls from Olympique Marseilles or FC Barcelona. Surprised as I was they were missing out on my skills, I was under no illusions I’d be a pro baseball player. High school was about the age when curveballs started showing up. And when you can’t hit a curveball, you can’t be a pro ballplayer!
At the same time, my younger brother was playing this crazy sport called lacrosse. It looked really awesome to me. More action than baseball and a lot more ability to release your teenage angst than soccer.
It was hard to stop playing baseball. And seeing the disappointment in my dad’s eyes when I informed him I was giving up baseball to play lacrosse confirmed it wasn’t only me who was torn about leaving a sport I loved.
But after one lacrosse practice, I was hooked. The fast pace, the physicality, the skills and determination needed to be good all sucked me in rapidly. What I really noticed was, unlike soccer and baseball, I was enjoying sports again.
My love of lacrosse only grew and when the Sonoma State soccer coach informed me my freshman year I’d be lucky to red shirt. I don’t think he knew the lacrosse team wanted me to play, too. I told the soccer coach to take a hike. I decided to play lacrosse.
Most folks think of lacrosse as a East Coast sport. The best university teams are predominantly in the east. But what many do not know is we have a very good collegiate lacrosse program right here in our backyard.
Sonoma State won the 2002 National Championship and has won the West Coast Lacrosse League title three times. If you’d ever like to see a free, fast-paced, intense outdoor sporting event, go check out a game this spring in Rohnert Park.
Why I am writing all this? Well, I’m proud of my involvement with SSU Lax! For the third year running now, I’ll be the teams play-by-play announcer for home games. We broadcast those games live on the internet.
Here you have a group of kids working the real meanings of sports. No one is on scholarship. No one is excused from scholastics, they must maintain a 2.5 gpa. No player is allowed to drink alcohol on road trips. Players must fundraise to support the team. There is no TV money or other issues with money that corrupt major athletics these days. Therefore, there really is no reason to take performance enhancing drugs, either. This is about as pure a sporting scenario as there is today.
This spring, if you’re looking for free, fun in the sun, come check out a SSU lacrosse game. You won’t regret it!