Chillaxin’

April is a crazy month.

As fast as the Orioles can continue a losing streak, the daytime high temperature in Maryland can dip 20 degrees from one day to the next.

The long, arduous process to crown a NBA and NHL champion has 16 team still will dreams only one club can attain.

Oh yeah, they’re also playing lacrosse at a football stadium.

Army, Navy, Maryland and Johns Hopkins all put on their Under Armour gear for the second annual Day of Rivals at M&T Bank Stadium this Saturday. Having covered pretty much every sport under the sun, I’ve never been to a lacrosse game as a “working journalist.” Truth be told, I’ve probably only seen three lacrosse games in person during the first 31 years of the my life.

I’m not a fan. I don’t get the sport. The action seems sparse and the strategy appears absent.

Then again, I thought K.J. Choi would win the Masters.

With about half of the usual writers and reporters that cover a football game, the marquee game of the Day of Rivals got underway just before 7:00. Eyeballing the crowd at face off, you get the feeling many of these kids couldn’t wait until the final buzzer to celebrate anything at a local bar.

It took three minutes of game time before any sort of enthusiasm was shown. John Ranagan made the Maryland goalie look as frozen as the ambient temperature at M&T with a sharp shot that hit the back of the net for the first goal of the game.

Unless you wore a shade of red or white, most fans at the game couldn’t believe that a Hopkins team down on their luck this season led one of the best teams in the country by three goals with five minutes to play in the opening quarter. Myself, I still can’t figure out what the lines mean on the field.

About 200 powder blue paper sheets promoting Hopkins proudly flew for the early part of the game as the Blue Jays continued their commanding lead against a listless Maryland team.

The golden rule in the press box is very simple and obvious: No cheering. Ever. Under any circumstance.

Sometimes rules are meant to be broken. Like at a college lacrosse game.

A gentleman directly in front of me had a Maryland hat near his side and his frustrations on his face as the Terps couldn’t tally a point for the longest time in the opening half. Reserved “argh’s” and other forms of disgust rang out after each shot went wide of its directed mark. When Maryland scored to cut the deficit to one goal late in the first half, a young lady in a red sweater raised her hands in a cheer, took a breath and then remembered when she was on this Saturday evening. To me, this was more exciting the game.

And then it happened. Goals by Travis Reed and Drew Snider scored back-to-back within one minute to squeeze all of the energy out of those with hopes for Hopkins. In a season where things can’t go right, everything went wrong at the start of the second half for the tradition-rich Blue Jays.

Travis Reed continued the Terrapin party with a quick goal in the first minute of the 4th period. At this point it became very obvious that Maryland had been toying with Hopkins – even the most amateur lacrosse fan could figure this one out.

All in all, the decision to view my first lacrosse game in person in a number of years was a positive one. Heck, when free food is involved, everything seems better.

Hopkins did make the game close and had a last second heave that didn’t make it on goal to fall 10-9 in a very exciting game.

I’m still shaky on a number of rules and game play tactics in this game, but I did enjoy the passion a good number of fans brought to a stadium on a chilly Saturday night.

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