True Life: We Like Sixes Now

When the sixes format was announced, we were among the masses who panned the modified version of traditional field lacrosse.

We maybe watched a few clips on social media from the fall event.

Didn’t really care who won those scrimmages. Didn’t really care about the rosters.

They told us the sixes format was the path to getting lacrosse back in the Olympics.

But, why do we need lacrosse in the Olympics to validate our sport?

Have you seen some of the sports in the Olympics?

They award gold medals to cross country skiers who periodically stop to shoot at targets.

Who cares about the biathlon?

People must because this video has over 61,000 views. We are not among those people who consider this to be an Olympic sport. This seems more like a hobby with a cardio element.

Fast forward to July 2022 and everything changed after watching a full game for the first time.

The format makes the sport more accessible to developing lacrosse nations.

Consider the NBA and the NFL. A star studded NBA roster can get by with a weak bench because only five players are on the court at once. An NFL team dresses 46 athletes and at least 35 players play at least one snap per game.

More athletes participating means more things have to go right for success and more opportunities for failure. There’s a reason Georgia beat Michigan 34-11 in the playoff. All of Georgia’s players were better. Michigan never had a chance. Few teams can compete against the high end SEC rosters. Only the Haudenosaunee have been competitive with the US and Canada in field lacrosse.

Sixes changed everything.

The Haudenosaunee finished fifth thanks to losses to Canada and Japan. They only beat Israel 16-12.

In yesterday’s semifinal game, Japan was trailing the US 14-12 in the fourth quarter for ultimately falling 17-12.

Folks on Twitter seemed very confused why the Japan game was so close.

The format is a great equalizer.

There are only face offs at the beginning of each quarter.

If there was a faceoff after every goal, when would Japan touch the ball if they had to go up against Joe Nardella?

Decades may pass before an international faceoff man is better than an American or Canadian.

There are no poles.

While the game is certainly growing internationally, what are the chances someone from Great Britain, Australia, or Japan is receiving the same kind of defensive training that NCAA D1 athletes are receiving?

The most impactful rule might be the turnover on a shot out of bounds. Regardless of whether shooters are second guessing themselves, ultimately defenses have to dig in physically and mentally for less time. There’s a sense of relief among the defenders and perhaps, as mentioned above, tension starts to build in the shooter’s mind for the next possession.

There was a moment during that fourth quarter were we were hoping Japan could tie the game just to see what would happen next. At no time did they look like they didn’t belong. You can’t say that during a full field game.

We’re all in sixes. We’re excited for the PLL winter classic version of sixes because we won’t have such a clear idea who will be the last two teams standing. If sixes makes an appearance in the Olympics some day great. If not, we’ll still be a lot more encouraged by the growth of the game internationally and more excited to watch than we were last fall.

In the meantime, we’ll be focused on the Canada US gold medal game tonight.

The Canadians have the more potent offense on paper. While in Birmingham, they’ve scored 95 goals in four games. The Americans topped out at 80, thanks to a 27-10 win over Germany.

Will their natural attackmen be able to play capable defense when they can’t sub off?

Will their NLL players still be fatigued from the indoor season?

Is Brett Dobson ready for professional shooting without the comfort of poles defending Tom Schreiber, Justin Guterding, and Colin Heacock?

Maybe Ryan Conrad and Zach Currier cancel each other out, but who is the Zach Goodrich or Liam Byrnes equivalent for Canada?

The X factor may have been the minutes Adam Ghitelman stole as a defensive minded player. The Canadians did blow out their competition, but never had an extra body to throw out to soak up time. This could prove to be difference especially since the Canadians played the late game on Monday.

We’ll take the US by a few.

Watch this game. No matter how anti-sixes you were when it was announced.

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In 2009, Adam O’Neill, Harry Alford and Thomas Alford launched Lacrosse Playground as the preeminent site for lacrosse gearheads. For years Lacrosse Playground provided lacrosse fans with tutorials and tips on how to string a lacrosse head, up-close looks at the gear the top players used and sneak peeks at equipment and uniforms before they were released. More than 10 years and millions of visits later, Lacrosse Playground has relaunched with a focus on storytelling. Our mission is to provide comprehensive coverage of the latest lacrosse news, share insights into the sports betting and fantasy lacrosse world and showcase the lifestyles and personalities of the sport of lacrosse through articles, videos and podcasts.

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