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Archive for the ‘Lacrosse (current)’ Category

Last night I watched Carleton’s women’s football(soccer) team play UW-La Crosse; Ellie Wilson scored in the second overtime for a Knights 1-0 win, Beth Ashinsky got the shutout. 

I picked up Kaelyn and we went to watch it (missed the first half) and Amy showed up after she was done with work (although they both left early, Kaelyn had an accident – she’s still learning to use the toilet).  Not a lot of great chances, but the play was pretty even and both teams came close to scoring a couple of times in regulation (Carleton hit the bar once).

Going to watch either of the Carleton football teams play in the fall is really wonderful.  You sit on a grass-covered hill, with the game going on below you, with the fall-colored trees in the background, and occasional Canadian Honkers flying by.  Really, there’s not much that can compare. 

Sitting there I just couldn’t help thinking that it sure seems that Division II and Division III NCAA athletics is what sports are supposed to be.  It could be just me though, judging from “professional” sports and NCAA Division I attendance.  Division II and Division III athletics is wonderful because:

  • There’s no problem getting to the event – traffic is either non-existent or not really a problem
  • It’s cheap to watch; sometimes it’s free, but even when you do pay you’re not having to worry about cost like when you go to Division I or “professional” sports game (paying for tickets, paying for parking, ticket processing fees, etc).
  • Very little fanatical stuff going on;  people are just simply watching the game, cheering for their team, and it’s very rare you see the “woofing” that happens in the Division I or “profession” sporting events.  Going to a D-II or D-III game you’re a ton less likely to encounter violence than at a D-II or “professional” sporting event.
  • Little to no advertising: Watching the game you are subjected to almost no ads, certainly none of the “that blocked punt was brought to you by Ed’s furniture and firearms.  Just remember if you want a new sofa and are worried about protecting it, come to Ed’s”. 
  • Rivalries/conferences:  Especially with the recent conference changes in Division I (gridiron-)football and hockey, it just seems that the conferences don’t make a lot of sense (Seriously, Colorado is in the Pac-10? What’s “Pac” about Colorado?).  Case in point, the MIAC has 13 schools and every single one is in Minnesota.  Thus traveling to see a road game is much more convenient and the rivalries make more sense.  Heck, in case you are a St. Olaf or Carleton College fan, if you want to see them play an away game you have a 5 minute drive since both teams are in Northfield.

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Minnesota-State hockey player Kurt Davis goes right to
the top of my list of most hated players, which is a
short list to begin with (I don’t even remember who
was tops of the list before this). He harassed fellow
WCHA hockey blogger LetsGoMavs. One thing he told her
is she doesn’t deserve to wear a Mavs jersey.
Congrats Kurt you’re tops in the NCAA in being worst
and fully deserve Who’s Whining Now’s award for whiner
of the week.

Last night I finished watching the second leg of the
Arsenal/Milan UCL match. Hey Milan, the match is more
than 15 minutes long. You disappeared after fifteen.
Arsenal really should have won this easily. The San
Siro just might be my top choice for places to watch a
match. One of these years I should pick up Setanta
Sports. I’m sure the worst thing they put on would be
head and shoulders above the best ESPN puts on.
Unless you don’t count the few UCL matches they put
on. If you do count them then my prior statement is
bullocks.

In the CollegeLAx Division 1 poll UMD is sitting
solidly #7. The Dogs have started the year only 2-2,
but those four games were against stiff competition as
three of them were against teams in the top fifteen in
this week’s poll (Michgan – #1, Colorado State #2, and
Boston College #14).

Michigan is the top team in the Division 1 poll. In
the Division 2 poll, St. John’s and St. Thomas are
right behind the #1 Westminister at #2 and #3
respectively. Other NCAA hockey schools making the
polls: Boston College (#14 – D1) and Northeastern
(#23 – D1).

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UMD pushed St. Cloud State almost out of the WCHA playoffs, but it was not to be. Last season UMD upset Denver on the roads during the first round of the playoffs and made a trip to the Final Five. After Friday night’s 3-1 win at the National Hockey Center that was a possibilty. The Huskies came back to win Saturday and Sunday, but the Dogs sure put up a fight as St. Cloud State needed overtime both nights to book their trip to St. Paul. Sunday the Dogs and Huskies went a total of three overtimes before Andreas Nodl ended the Dogs season. No NCAA tournament for them this year. Oh well.

The Dogs hockey season is over, but the lacrosse season has barely started. UMD has won both of their first two games, beating Lindenwood 9-3 and Cal Poly SLO 11-3. The Dogs lax team looks for another great season. They currently are ranked #5 (up from #8) in the Division A poll. Also in the Division B poll, St. Thomas and St. Johns are #1 and #2 in the polls. Also listed is Augustana at #12.

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When talking to someone who loves a particular sport, they may say the phrase “I’m a fan of the game”. So what they are saying is that they love the sport its-self, even though they may have a favorite team. How do you define that? What would you say defines someone who has “the love of the game”? A few criteria I can think of:

1) The person is willing to watch any game, any time, for any league.
— I’m thinking this probably is the biggest criteria. I’m not talking about you not watching a game because you need sleep because you have to work the next day, I’m talking about watching a late game when you have no other worries to attend to. You’re a NHL fan, only follow NHL games when your team is involved and have no interest in college, junior, or prep hockey? You’re probably not a fan of the game. A college student who goes to only games that your school plays in and is only interested in those games? You’re dismissed off the list. You’re a high school student who goes to the games because “it’s the cool thing to do” and other things like that, yep you’re gone too.

2) Sports memorabilia
— This has changed quite a bit in the last 10 years or so thanks to the internet. It used to be if you saw someone in a jersey that they (probably) were more likely a fan of the game. Now that’s not really a way of judging. It’s very likely, however, that they do have the love of the game if they own multiple jerseys from multiple teams. It’s extremely likely if their jerseys span different leagues and also include ones from teams other than that person is a fan of.

3) Tickets
— Having season tickets isn’t a gage on whether you have the love of the game. At some colleges the students camp out for long times, so they can get what they want for their student tickets. They might just have the love of the game. It also might not be the love of the game, but the love of a particular team.

4) Road Trips
— This one is probably a good indicator as well. Willing to catch a game away from your favorite teams’ stadium? You’re probably likely. Did you plan a road trip just to see the game or are you seeing a game at a stadium other than you’re own that doesn’t include your own or are you watching a game from a different league? You’re very likely.

5) State of Mind
— There’s a book about Minnesota high school hockey (“Blades of Glory” by John Rosengren) which has a quote

“The average teenage boy thinks about sex once every seven seconds; in Minnesota, he thinks about hockey the other six.”

Got it that much on your mind, you’re likely (or you have nothing better to do). Spend ridiculous amounts of time browsing through sites , planning for events, and/or dreaming about a sport. Yep, I think you’ve got it.

6) Participation
— Are you actively involved in the sport? You’re likely. Doing it as a (unpaid) volunteer? Even more likely. Running a website using your own money, spending tons of time keeping it up, without thinking of things such as profit. Yep, you’re very likely.

None of these criteria can tell if someone has “the love of the game” or it they don’t, but they could be good indicators. Any other ideas? In my case I would say I have the love of the game for hockey and possibly football (soccer to NA people), but my interests in other sports, like NCAA basketball, I do not have it.

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Now that hockey season is over for the Bulldogs and is just about over for the rest of the NCAA teams, it is time to turn my attention to something else. Sorry baseball, not a chance you’re getting my interest. You lost when I left Colorado and came back to a domed stadium. Maybe later you’ll come back into my life.

My attention is being tuned in on the lacrosse season. It’s officially a budding interest. Last summer my fiance Amy and I watched a game at Carlton College. It was St. Thomas and North Dakota State. It was my first ever lacrosse game that I had seen in person. Sure I had watched it on TV, but seeing it in person, yep now it’s an interest.

Come July the teams closest to me will be USLIA teams (which are club teams) and specifically the Upper Midwest Lacrosse League. Division I hockey schools UMD , St. Cloud State, Minnesota State- Mankato, and Minnesota Gophers are in the league. We’ll see how many games I get to this year, but if they have many Saturday early afternoon games I could see a few. My beloved UMD Bulldogs appear to have some bite this season, they’re rated 11th in the nation on the March 22nd poll.

Just because they will be my number two team, after UMD, I’ll also be keeping tabs on the Air Force Lacrosse team. The Falcons have started the season 4 wins and 5 losses and appear to be a yo-yo team. First 4 games were all losses, next four games were all wins.

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