Editor’s Note: Charles Kruzits is a seasoned writer for PhillyLacrosse.com and BaltimoreLacrosseNews.com. We value his expertise. His op-ed is an opinion piece, so if you’d like to leave a comment for him, then please do so. Statistically, lacrosse is the fastest growing sport in America, nevertheless, read what Charles has to say.
Is lacrosse really the fastest growing sport in America? In my opinion no, but, it will benefit the sport to gradually climb than soar and fall flat shortly after. The sport of lacrosse has a serious following; the fans of the game are die-hards and stand behind the sport while the outside world stands and watches awkwardly.
It’s a technical sport and one of, if not the toughest to play. You could be the fastest and strongest player on the field, but without stick skills, you’ll find a cozy spot on the bench. That’s the issue I encountered some time ago as a high school freshman minus being the strongest and fastest.
I grew up playing every sport but when it came to lacrosse, I became angered and bewildered at the fact that I couldn’t do the bare minimum with the stick. I attempted to catch a pass and the ball hit the grass. I attempted to pass it back and the ball landed a few inches from my feet. And shooting, well let’s just say a similar result.
Take a look at the division one college top 50 rankings in the country and that’s where you can see the growth of the sport. Though there is a surplus of Pennsylvania, Maryland, and New York programs at the top, it’s the birth of programs such as the University of Michigan and Boston University (2013-14) that really proves it.
Then factor in women’s lacrosse and you’ll find even more proof. With the birth of programs such as Florida Gators, Jacksonville Dolphins, the Trojans of Southern California, and Furman which has announced the introduction of both the men’s and women’s teams. The proof is right in front of your eyes.
With the amount of growth in new states, what has also sparked the ascension is how easily accessible the players are. The professionals that play the sport don’t act high and mighty; they are extremely dedicated and play for the fans.
A handful of years back I attended my first indoor game to see the New York Titans square off with the Philadelphia Wings. It was a great experience and I was extremely impressed with how talented the players are. And, I walked away really admiring the play of then-Titan Brendan Mundorf.
But, what really had me fall in love with the game was what occurred after the game. I was sitting at the main entrance in the Prudential Center when I noticed players from the Titans meet with the fans in the lobby.
All of the players greeted their fans and signed autographs while also taking pictures with those that requested it. It was a great surprise to me (though not the usual fans) and one that I intend to never forget. Seeing young kids face to face with their favorite players was a sight to see, their expression rivaled their faces on Christmas morning.
The lacrosse world idolizes the sport for a couple reasons but the biggest reason of them all is that it is not commercialized. You won’t have to pay a ludicrous amount for a regular season game and you will not get shunned away if you approach one of your favorite players.
The sport is growing, there is no doubt about that and the best of the sport is yet to come. But for now, don’t forget to be thankful for the opportunity to watch such stars as the aforementioned Brendan Mundorf and Paul Rabil among many other super talents.
About Charles Kruzits
I’ll be candid and admit that I wasn’t very fond of the sport. Most of the kids that I knew growing up that played the sport came across very preppy and pompous. Unfortunately I allowed the select few to cloud my judgement so for most of my teenage life, lacrosse was not a hobby of mine. But, thanks to certain individuals, I became a fan of the game and was able to meet a lot of players that were great people and not anything like preppy image I had before. The talent that I’ve covered over the last couple years has only increased my fondness towards the game and it’s continuing to grow with the surplus of talent that inhabits the sport.