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Friday, June 01, 2007

A Good Sport

Many things changed when I first moved from Illinois to the eastern United States.

For one, I discovered this strange body of water called an “ocean,” challenging my view that water only gathered in creeks or lakes. Also, life sped up—with people taking less time to do more things than in the relaxing Midwest.

And there were many, many fewer cows.

But here’s what shocked me most: the prevalence of three-letter window stickers advertising car owners’ favorite vacation spots. For example, I began to recognize fans of North Carolina’s Outer Banks from the OBX oval in the back window.

One of the labels, however, befuddled me.

No matter how hard I tried, no matter how much creativity I forced to flow, I could not figure out why so many easterners enjoyed visiting Los Angeles International Airport. Everywhere I went in the mid-Atlantic, I saw the ubiquitous decal.

LAX.

It took several years of silent humiliation before an unrelated conversation revealed to me that these labels had nothing to do with air traffic in southern California … but instead show their love for a very East Coast sport: lacrosse.

And finally, last weekend, I gained a full appreciation for the sport. Yes, for the first time, I watched lacrosse matches.

In case you missed it, between the shenanigans of Lindsay Lohan and the concerns over drug-resistant TB, we just had one hell of a comeback story. Duke’s men’s lacrosse team—after more than a year of a bungled investigation, overzealous prosecution, and a cancelled season in 2006—overcame a huge deficit against Cornell to make it to the NCAA final match against Johns Hopkins.

The fact that the Blue Devils ultimately failed in the championship against JHU, falling just short of tying the game again as time expired, does not diminish the extraordinary effort. These were two of the most exciting sports events I’ve watched in recent memory.

And to think it was a sport I’d never even heard of back in the 1990s. I feel like celebrating.

Maybe I’ll fly to LAX.

24 Comments:

At June 01, 2007 11:56 AM, Blogger zen wizard replied to my musings ...

This of course begs the question of why flying into LAX, fighting your way to baggage claim, and renting a car in LA on your own $H!tty hometown car insurance without paying extra for their insurance, then getting a hotel room without leaving a blank check credit card imprint is not a "sport."

Anyone who doesn't think that is not an Olympian event has not done it for a while.

 
At June 01, 2007 12:34 PM, Blogger Layla (aka Barbara) replied to my musings ...

Hey David, I think you SHOULD fly into LAX, I'll lend you one of my cars and you can stay at my time-share on the beach for as long as you like. We have a GREAT ocean on this side of the US :)


ps I wish I wasn't kidding about the car and timeshare, but I'm not kidding about the ocean, the parts that are not shut down due to contaminated water are great.

And I DID hear the LAX news! Very fun sport to watch.

 
At June 01, 2007 12:37 PM, Blogger goldennib replied to my musings ...

I had a girlfriend in college who played Lacrosse through HS and into college. Those women were out for blood; splintered shins, bloody noses, multiple bruising. It was great.

 
At June 01, 2007 8:08 PM, Blogger Ray Van Horn, Jr. replied to my musings ...

Johns Hopkins is probably the 3rd biggest sports boast in MD outside of the Ravens and Maryland...cause it sure ain't them O's...

 
At June 01, 2007 8:10 PM, Blogger Ray Van Horn, Jr. replied to my musings ...

And hey, man, I just saw you pull me into your consistently-read blogs with a hell of a nice compliment, thank you!

 
At June 01, 2007 11:33 PM, Blogger THE BLUEST BUTTERFLY replied to my musings ...

I have only seen bits of lacrosse played & only from passing cars.

I have never been to LAX but have heard horror stories from credible sources....both on the customer side & the employee side. The only think I have ever heard anyone marvel about is the architecture....like an alien landing pad. :-)

 
At June 02, 2007 11:37 AM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

ZW: Flying into/out of LAX is the cruelest of sports.

Layla: Too bad on the timeshare. And the polluted beaches. Nice temperate climate, however ...

GN: LAX girls are rough. Almost as bad as water polo types.

Ray: It's about the only thing JHU is known for in the sports world. And you're welcome--your writing is always informative and entertaining.

BB: Nice to see you here. I've heard LAX referred to as "the big UFO." And that's not just a reference to the majority of locals flying in and out of it.

-- david

 
At June 02, 2007 7:42 PM, Anonymous Bruce replied to my musings ...

Dude, I love lacrosse. My first game(and ultimately the last road trip my Dad and I would take) was the '78 championship, played at UVA, between Johns Hopkins and Cornell. On that day, I fell in love with the sport. Back in the late 70s and early 80s, Roanoke College was a Division 3 powerhouse, and Washington and Lee was a very good D-1 team, so I had three excellent teams to watch(along with UVA) within a little more than an hour's drive. It was great fun.
And I agree with you about the Duke-JH game; whoda thunk we'd see 2 goals in the last 10 seconds? Wish I'd been there in person.

 
At June 03, 2007 6:12 AM, Blogger Linda replied to my musings ...

I had to laugh, because I had similar problems when I moved to Maryland. I actually grew up in Pennsylvania, but I had never heard of Lacrosse. My high school did not play the sport and they still don't. Where I live now it is everywhere, kids can play it with the rec council and with the schools. It is a huge sport in Maryland. I have lived here for about 18 years now and still have never watched the game. Maybe I will have to give it a look.

 
At June 03, 2007 9:10 AM, Blogger Rocky replied to my musings ...

Glad you enjoyed the sporting events...

LaCrosse is getting more popular in Minnesota now. After all, we can't have hockey and ice fishing year-round. Just 10 months or so.

 
At June 03, 2007 12:29 PM, Blogger Godwhacker replied to my musings ...

:)

 
At June 03, 2007 6:40 PM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

Bruce: I guess it comes with the territory. I wish I'd been exposed to it much earlier.

Linda: What a difference the Mason-Dixon line makes!

Rocky: I had no clue LAX had spread to MN. Hopefully, it's ahead of NASCAR there.

GW: I assume that's a nod of approval. Thanks.

-- david

 
At June 03, 2007 9:18 PM, Blogger Janet replied to my musings ...

Remember those Baby On Board signs that became all the rage years ago? From there, it grew to mom on board, college student on board...etc. Then bumper stickers proudly boasting the honor roll student took center stage. Personally I like the ones they gave birth to better, my student beat up your honor student. Nothing like a little laughter while sitting in gridlock!:)

 
At June 03, 2007 11:30 PM, Blogger Metal Mark replied to my musings ...

I was born and raised in Maryland so Lacrosse is big here. I went to college in Kentucky and many people there knew nothing about it and cared even less.

 
At June 04, 2007 8:29 AM, Anonymous LisaBinDaCity replied to my musings ...

I dunno, I see a lot of cows wandering around NYC ;-)

 
At June 04, 2007 11:00 AM, Blogger :P fuzzbox replied to my musings ...

I bet they didn't have any strippers at the victory celebration.

 
At June 04, 2007 4:48 PM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

Janet: I thought those signs were ironic. By making drivers around you read small print on a sign in your window, you only increase the chance (however marginally) of distracting those other drivers and causing an accident that harms your precious child. Few parents seem to have considered that!

Mark: You've been aroudn LAX for a long time, then. I'm curious why you went to college in Kentucky. You don't hear THAT very often from out-of-staters.

Lisa: New York has always had a wide arry of life forms. A lot of dogs, that's for sure.

Fuzz: Good point. I'm guessing that under the media's watchful eye, the Johns Hopkins players celebrated with a cup of tea and a viewing of a Disney film.

-- david

 
At June 05, 2007 12:55 AM, Blogger Phats replied to my musings ...

Hey I watch that every year, over Memorial Day. hard sport to play, and I was happy to see the NCAA granted those kids at Duke the extra year that was defintely the right thing to do. It was an exciting championship game.

I also have been watching the softball world series, and have totally fallen for the Arizona pitcher really cute

 
At June 05, 2007 9:06 AM, Blogger The Phoenix replied to my musings ...

There's been many pushes for lacrosse to elevate itself onto the national scene, but for some reason it just doesn't happen.

I find the sport really exciting. And playing it is an intense workout. I have to work on my cradling.

 
At June 05, 2007 1:37 PM, Blogger Jeff replied to my musings ...

I actually watched that game, well at least the last five minutes of it. It was pretty exciting but I don't know if the sport is good enough to hold my attention for a full game.

 
At June 05, 2007 5:32 PM, Blogger Etchen replied to my musings ...

I would have totally thoguth that was the airport too!

 
At June 05, 2007 6:10 PM, Blogger missy replied to my musings ...

Oh.

:-)

(not sure what to say here really but I just want you to know that I came here and read this!)

 
At June 05, 2007 8:44 PM, Blogger Grafs replied to my musings ...

Yeah these decals are kind of funny. Pretty soon they're going to get confused with the nationality decals. "Okay, so do you VACATION in Ireland or COME from Ireland?" Nice.

 
At June 06, 2007 6:02 AM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

Phats: I haven't seen that pitcher. SportsCenter highlighted a Tennessee pitcher who wasn't all that.

Phoenix: I'll assume cradling has something to do with holding on to the ball ... although I suppose you could be shifting gears for no apparent reason and addressing child care in the same comment.

Jeff: Glad you saw some of it, too. So I'm not totally crazy--for this.

Etchen: At least when I see an NFL sticker I don't think it's for the Northern Florida Airport.

Missy: You are so sweet. Thanks for letting me know you still care--I appreciate it!

Grafs: I forgot about the Euro sticckers like that, good point.

-- david

 

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