Tag Archives: Lacrosse

Professional Lacrosse: MLL All-Star Paul Rabil Hires Global-Leader Marketing Agency Octagon To Represent His Personal Brand, Sport Of Lacrosse

Octagon Athletes And PersonalitiesThe 27-year-old Rabil in a telephone interview said he sought a long-term, global-minded partner capable of increasing not only his personal brand, but the sport of lacrosse at both the professional and development levels. Rabil is the first lacrosse player represented by Octagon, a unit of Interpublic Group of Cos., the second-largest U.S. advertising company.

Paul RabilKane said there are similarities between Rabil and Phelps, who won a record eight gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Games. Phelps has endorsements with, among others, Louis Vuitton, Subway, Head & Shoulders, Speedo, Omega and Hilton. Octagon also manages the swimmer’s foundation.

Paul Rabil, the first professional lacrosse player to amass a million-dollar endorsement portfolio, has hired Octagon as his marketing representative.

By Scott Soshnick

By Scott Soshnick

Rabil said he’s joining the firm’s Personalities & Properties division and will be represented by agent Erin Kane, whose clients include Olympic softball pitcher Jennie Finch. The division includes Nascar driver Jimmie Johnson and former National Football League coaches Bill Cowher, Brian Billick and Herm Edwards. Olympic swimming champion Michael Phelps is also an Octagon client.

“Octagon has a track record with other professional athletes whose sport has a growing participation at the youth level but low visibility at the pro level,” said Rabil, who had been represented by Baltimore-based attorney Ira Rainess.

“We envision having Paul alongside top athletes in other sports. It comes down to personality that captures imagination,” said Kane, adding that her first order of business is to perform a brand analysis of the two-time Major League Lacrosse Most Valuable Player. “Paul brings lacrosse out of the niche area.”

For more:  http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-09-23/lacrosse-millionaire-rabil-joins-olympic-champ-phelps-at-octagon.html

Lacrosse In The 1960’s: Long Island, NY Surpassed Baltimore, MD As The Top Lacrosse Area In The Country (Sports Illustrated, May 5, 1970)

After decades of dominion over the sport through turning out the best schoolboy players, the state has lost its grip on the old Indian game, as a massive Long Island program produces a wealth of college stars

Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y. grew up with the Long Island building boom after World War II. Part of its high-rise, poured-concrete campus sits on an airbase abandoned because of the swarming population under the flight patterns. Its other buildings, clustered as snugly as the houses in a subdivision, rest tight against the shoulder of a busy turnpike. Like their fathers who ride the Long Island Railroad and Expressway to work in Manhattan, most of Hofstra‘s 7,000 students commute, and finding an open parking space at the school can be tougher than passing organic chemistry. Hofstra also reflects Long Island‘s most unlikely sporting boom, a zooming, postwar growth in lacrosse that has thousands of commuters’ sons in Manhasset, Mineola, Massapequa and 60 other suburban communities learning to stickhandle, dodge and pass accurately enough not to break the picture window of the neighbor’s three-bedroom split-level.

The Flying Dutchmen regularly play home games at night on a $400,000 AstroTurf field, much plusher surroundings than the game is accustomed to back home in Baltimore. And while Hofstra is providing lacrosse with its shiniest showplace, the nearby high schools are now supplying the sport with more and better players than any other part of the country.

As recently as five years ago, the superiority of the Baltimore schoolboy lacrosse player was axiomatic. Maryland youngsters understood stickwork and finesse. Players from other areas, so the line went, missed the essence of the game, using their sticks as weapons and their bodies the way football players did. Hofstra Coach Howdy Myers, who won four consecutive national championships when he coached Johns Hopkins in the late ’40s, remembers purists criticizing the aggressive style he taught his players because they felt he was destroying the game. ” Maryland lacrosse is like a basketball game,” says Myers, who is also the football coach and athletic director at Hofstra. “They want to show you what they can do with their right hand and then show you what they can do with their left. But they don’t want any contact.”

Ferris Thomsen, who played and coached in Maryland for 30 years before beginning a 20-year tenure at Princeton, agrees with Myers. “They’ll probably hang me when I go back to Baltimore,” he says, “but I’ve got a brother who’s a federal judge down there and he’ll protect me. All you have to do is look at the major college rosters and All-America teams the past couple of years and you’ll see that the Long Island boys outnumber the ones from Maryland. First, they’ve got so many more kids playing on the Island now. Also, I think high school boys are tougher than your prep school kids. In Maryland most of the players are from prep schools, and it’s all high schools on Long Island. Maryland won’t like hearing it, but the Island passed them five years ago.”

There are lacrosse leagues for boys 8 years of age on Long Island now, and most high schools have farm teams in the junior highs in their districts. There are summer leagues for all ages, including one for college players in which most of the teams are sponsored by bars, and the play is particularly aggressive. Baltimore Community College and the Mount Washington Club of Baltimore were once unbeatable in junior college and club lacrosse. The past two seasons BCC has been soundly defeated by Nassau Community College, and the Long Island A.C. has taken Mount Washington‘s place as the club champion.

Army, which shared the collegiate title with Johns Hopkins in 1969, was the preseason favorite to win the championship again this year, with a team that has 15 players on its roster from Long Island and only two from Maryland. “The players from the Island are now every bit as good as the Maryland boys in their stickwork,” says Army Coach Al Pisano, a graduate of Mineola High. “And they have that added tradition that the Long Island player is a little tougher.”

Among Army’s strongest challengers, only Virginia and Navy are predominantly Baltimore teams. Creeping Long Islandism is particularly strong in the state of Maryland, itself. Forty percent of Johns Hopkins’ squad is from New York, and 15 of the University of Maryland‘s 33 players are Long Islanders.

Lacrosse was introduced to Long Island‘s public high schools when Jay Stranahan, then a math and social-studies teacher in Manhasset, formed a team there in 1932. By 1959 the number had increased to 10 schools. In the years between, Stranahan had had a player named Jimmy Brown, who many believe was better at lacrosse than football, and Sewanhaka High School in Floral Park gave an indication of things to come. Sewanhaka ran off a 91-game winning streak, twice defeating Baltimore‘s best prep team during that period.

Since 1960 high school teams have been sprouting in New York‘s suburbia as fast as Levitt houses. It is an attitude peculiar to lacrosse that nearly everyone involved in the sport is a fiery propagandist for it. “We did everything we could to promote the game,” says Sewanhaka Coach Bill Ritch. “We gave equipment to other schools, and we kept putting pressure on athletic directors. Baseball and track coaches didn’t like us much, but a lot of the football coaches thought at first it might be a good way to sneak in some spring training.”

At the same time, former Long Island schoolboy players were being graduated in large numbers from local universities like Hofstra and from the state teachers’ college at Cortland, N.Y., both of which had begun lacrosse programs shortly after World War II. They joined the faculties of suburban high schools, forming cells of lacrosse enthusiasts across the Island. “They persuaded their schools to start teams,” says Ritch. “And they gave us what we needed the most to improve the quality of the game here—good coaching.”

In a 50-mile radius around Hofstra‘s location in the population center of Long Island there are 5,000 boys playing high school lacrosse. Last year Hofstra earned approximately $25,000 in admissions and rentals for lacrosse games on its AstroTurf field even though Long Island‘s spectator enthusiasm is still much lower than Baltimore‘s. With as many as four games a day on the field, 111 matches at all age levels were played at Hofstra last spring and summer.

The only lacrosse addict on Long Island who is not fully enjoying the sport’s growth is Howdy Myers. His area’s players are heavily recruited by schools as far away as last week’s rival, Air Force, the second of three consecutive Saturday-night opponents from the service academies. Hofstra suffers from its image as a commuter college and from the high tuition it must charge as a private institution. That should change soon. Hofstra now has six 14-story dorms, all easily as up to date as AstroTurf, and two years ago it tendered its first lacrosse scholarships. The synthetic field should help, too. Perhaps more than in any sport, the artificial surface improves the action, eliminating the muddy condition when ground balls become impossible to field and the players seem to be sifting slop with their sticks. Balls bounce truer and slightly higher than on grass, and the better footing permits trickier dodging. “The players are all quicker on the AstroTurf, an average of two-tenths of a second faster over 40 yards,” says Myers. The bounce pass, used only as a desperation tactic on irregular grass fields, may become as standard on AstroTurf as it is in basketball.

Even without the best Long Island players, Hofstra‘s record against a tough schedule was 8-3 after a 9-3 victory over Air Force last weekend. The Dutchmen’s fine all-round player. Midfielder Billy Hanlon, comes from lacrosse-crazy East Meadow, N.Y. but attended a Catholic high school that had no team. He took it up as a Hofstra freshman, rather than buck the rigorous spring calisthenics program Myers requires of football players. Hanlon has developed good stickwork and a hard shot to go along with his football-trained toughness.

And where does a Long Island coach find a shifty, high-scoring attackman after the other schools have finished raiding his home territory? Hofstra‘s offense leader, Steve Dauses, who had five goals against Air Force to run his season’s total to 25, has been playing lacrosse since he was in junior high school back in Baltimore, Md.

For more:  http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1083576/index.htm

Lacrosse In The 1950’s: “Sports Illustrated” Article (April 29,1957) Wrote Of An Epic Game Between Army Men’s Lacrosse And Princeton, Won By Princeton 5-4

“…Instead, the crowds flocked to see Army play Princeton in one of the least-played, least-understood, yet most American game in college sports—lacrosse…”

Bill Yates, a big Army defenseman, tried to fire the team. “We’re not mad enough, guys. Get mad. We can take ’em. We got to watch our passing, we got to press them. We’re just letting them bring the ball up without pressing them.”

“I don’t know what’s the matter,” he said. He gazed down at his bruised and purpling legs, red-welted from stick checks. Moon Mullins was gasping, too tired to wipe the river of sweat that trickled down his forehead into his eyes. A small stream of blood ran along his jawbone from a gash on his right cheek.

The green, sun-splashed campus at West Point crawled with tourists over Easter weekend. Saturday was one of those balmy, shirtsleeves-and-convertible days that attracted twice the normal complement of pretty girls and beaming cadets, not to mention automobile loads of citizen tourists on pilgrimage to historic ground. The enlisted men on a cleanup detail eyed the activity with a stoicism born of years of Mondays spent spearing crackerjack boxes and empty cigaret packets, and began sharpening their pointed sticks.

Despite the overflow traffic, the baseball bleachers which seat close to 3,000 were near-deserted as the Army jayvees lost to Danbury State 7-0. There was similar apathy down on the track where the Army thinclads were running a losing cause to the University of Maryland. Instead, the crowds flocked to see Army play Princeton in one of the least-played, least-understood, yet most American game in college sports—lacrosse.

West Point lost this one, too, 5-4, but the disappointment of losing somehow vanished in the thrill of the play.

“This is a sport that creeps up on you,” said Morris Touchstone, Army coach. He sat cross-legged on the players’ bench by the side of the 120-yard playing field. His hands fingered a piece of chalk, and he drew plays on the bench as he talked.

“We don’t get lacrosse players at the academy. They come to me raw, green. Most of them never saw a stick before. It is a handicap. I have to teach them to play against men who have had lacrosse sticks in their hands since they were old enough to walk. I can’t develop a ‘stick game’ in four years, so we have to play a hard-running, hard-checking game. We have to rely on conditioning to wear the other fellow down.”

At the end of the first quarter, Princeton was leading Army 1-0. A solemn Coach Touchstone joined the huddle of panting, exhausted Army players sprawled on the field. “They’re going to whip you. They’re playing to win and they’re going to whip you,” he said.

Moon Mullins, an Army mid-fielder who would score two goals before the afternoon was over, pleaded:

“Coach, you’re leaving us in too long. You got to send in a new mid-field line more often, Coach. They’re killing us when we get tired.”

Touchstone eyed Mullins coldly. “No alibis, Mullins. Princeton is outplaying you.”

Bill Yates, a big Army defenseman, tried to fire the team. “We’re not mad enough, guys. Get mad. We can take ’em. We got to watch our passing, we got to press them. We’re just letting them bring the ball up without pressing them.”

Army caught fire for a while and tied the score. Art Johnson, a defenseman who played first-string end on the West Point football team, hit Princeton‘s Cheston Morris so hard that Morris was brought up in mid-stride in midair, a dazed, surprised look on his face. Army got the ball and scored again. It was an agonizingly even game. The score went 1-1, 2-2, 3-3, 4-4. And then in the last period Princeton went ahead. Just before the Tigers got their winning score, Army called a time-out. The West Pointers lay gasping despite the fact that each man was in the peak of physical condition. Princeton‘s superior stick game had kept them running, running, running until there was very little left in any one of them. Art Johnson turned to a man next to him. “I don’t know what’s the matter,” he said. He gazed down at his bruised and purpling legs, red-welted from stick checks. Moon Mullins was gasping, too tired to wipe the river of sweat that trickled down his forehead into his eyes. A small stream of blood ran along his jawbone from a gash on his right cheek. The Army men wanted to win badly. They had won three straight and Princeton had lost four straight. But they just did not have it any more.

Johnson knew it. During one of the last time-outs he gazed off the field toward the stands and toward a young lady in a pink sweater and dark glasses. “Thirty-five days,” he said. “Thirty-five days, we’re going to be married. Three-thirty in the afternoon.” Then they went back to lacrosse.

For more:   http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1132339/2/index.htm

Trends In Lacrosse: Sporting Goods Association Lists Lacrosse As #3 Team Sport For “First-Time Participants” (24.8%) And #1 Most Affluent (48% Have Family Income Over $100K)

Emerging Team Sports.  The three team sports which had the highest percentage of first-time participants in 2009 were rugby (31.6%), field hockey (28.2%), and lacrosse (24.8%).

 Lacrosse is the team sport played by the rich. Nearly half of all people that play lacrosse (48 percent) make $100,000 or more. The richest individual sport is scuba diving, with 50 percent of its participants making $100,000 or more.

For more:    http://www.cnbc.com/id/38345716

“Today” Show Highlights Lacrosse: Major League Lacrosse Long Island Lizards Defenseman Nicky Polanco Is Interviewed By Matt Lauer, Al Roker, Ann Curry & Meredith Vieira (Video)

#41 Nicky Polanco, D

Position: D
Date of Birth: 08/18/1980
Height: 6′ 4″   Weight: 235 lbs
College Experience: Hofstra, 2002
Resides: Massapequa, New York
Home Town: Oceanside, NY
Occupation: Medical Sales / Dancer

2008 Season: Polanco played in all 12 games for the Lizards and recorded 38 groundballs.  He once again was the ultimate intimidator in professional lacrosse bringing intensity and passion to every game.
2007 Season: Polanco and his intimidating playing style help to lead the Lizards Defense to be one of the bests in the League. Polanco Registered 35 ground balls, one which he took coast to coast for a goal. 
2006 Season: Nicky anchored the team’s defense in 2006 and collected 40 ground balls in 10 games for the Lizards.

2005 Season:  Lizards pulled off one of hte biggest trades in MLL history in 2005 to bring Polanco home to Long Island. Polanco was named Warrior Defensive Player of the Year for the second consecutive year. Registered 1 goal and 47 ground balls. 
2004  Season: Nicky played in all 12 games and had 44 ground balls for Philadelphia and earned his first Warrior Defensive Player of the Year Award. .
2003 Season:  Polanco appeared in all 12 games and had one goal and one assist. He also scooped up 53 ground balls for Bridgeport.
2002 Season: In his rookie season saw action in four games and added 2 goals and 7 ground balls.  Nick also represented Team USA at the World Games in 2006.

At Hofstra: Polanco was a two-sport star at Hofstra, playing wide receiver for the Pride’s football team as well. In his Senior year, Nicky was named NCAA Player of the Year, as well as his Conference’s Defensemen of the Year. Polanco took home first-team All-American honors and was also a candidate for the Inaugural Tewaarton Trophy award. Nicky also played one season of indoor lacrosse for the New York Saints (2003), starting all 16 games and scooping 91 loose balls.

Lacrosse In America: Al Jazeera Media Reports On The “Struggle For Acceptance By The Sport Of Lacrosse” (Video)

While the NFL has little problem in attracting headlines,theres a sport in United States that is older than any other, yet has little following.

Al Jazeera’s Brendan Connor reports on the struggle for acceptance by the sport of lacrosse.

“College Lacrosse 2010”: New Lacrosse Video Game Has Been In Development For 3 Months And Will Available Through XBox Community Games Channel

Duke attackman Ned Crotty dodges behind the cage. He splits to his left hand, then to his right. There’s no outlet.

North Carolina defenseman Ryan Flanagan waits for his opening. Crotty rolls back to his left hand — or tries to, anyway. Flanagan slaps up on Crotty’s stick and sends it propelling into the air.

Quint Kessenich barks through the console speakers, “Yard sale!”

* Blast Lacrosse was licensed by the National Lacrosse League and Professional Lacrosse Players Association, produced by Aklaim Sports and released in May 2001 for Sony’s PlayStation. It features the NLL’s nine teams at the time and fast-paced play mirroring the comic book-like movements of NBA Jam and NFL Blitz.

Lacrosse fans have craved this kind of virtual reality in their living rooms for decades: a big-budget video game dedicated to their sport. Thanks to the social networking phenomenon, the clamor has reached fever pitch.

Karl Brummer, a rising high school senior at Trinity School in Minnesota, started a Facebook group three months ago lobbying EA Sports, a brand most recognized for perennial hits like NHL and Madden NFL, to produce a lacrosse video game.

“I felt like making a Facebook group and seeing how big it would become,” Brummer said. “I didn’t expect it to have any influence.”

The Official EA Sports Lacrosse Video Game Petition Group now boasts nearly 157,000 members, 3,500 wall posts and 160 discussion topics.

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“The group is having a big influence on the lacrosse community. Most of the petitioners are lacrosse players, so this group unifies them. The group also raises awareness to Facebookers who have never heard of the sport,” Brummer said. “It is actually getting noticed by video game designers.”

One member of the group, Carlo Sunseri, has decided to do something about it. A Pittsburgh native and former three-time captain of the Robert Morris men’s lacrosse team, Sunseri left a 2007 Major League Lacrosse tryout for the Washington Bayhawks disillusioned with how he played compared to others there. He would not get signed.

“My parents asked me what I’d do if I had a million dollars,” Sunseri said, “and I said build a lacrosse video game.”

Sunseri tracked down a Scottish video game developer through Microsoft’s Xbox Live Community Games — a virtual console for user-generated content. It’s the perfect third-party community for someone like Sunseri with limited funding and contacts. He had never built a video game before, but found a developer who could fashion a lacrosse game from a soccer game recently released on the same platform.

Sunseri, a self-proclaimed entrepreneur and assistant coach at Robert Morris, provides project management and lacrosse know-how.

College Lacrosse 2010 has been in development for nearly three months and will be available for download through the Xbox Community Games channel in September, Sunseri said.

“Once on Xbox, it will be available to 20 million people in 26 different countries. The potential to spread the game of lacrosse is unparalleled to anything that’s been released on the market,” he said. “I’ve played lacrosse my whole life. I’ve always played video games, as well. I’ve always dreamed of playing lacrosse the video game just like we play Madden, NHL and FIFA.”

Sunseri recently provided a virtual demo of the game for Lacrosse Magazine. Although the graphics remain under development, he said, the game’s strengths are its customization and lacrosse-specific movements. For instance, Sunseri circumvented the NCAA’s steep licensing fee by allowing users to customize team names, jerseys, colors and rankings. They can unlock the game in NCAA tournament mode or pro mode — with versions planned for both indoor and outdoor.

Game-play features include:

  • College lacrosse rules, such as 10 seconds to advance.
  • Offensive formations, such as 2-3-1 and circle.
  • Six different camera angles.
  • Networking, with the ability to play friends online.
  • Various dodges, including swim, split and spin moves.
  • Training mode for passing, shooting and one-on-ones.
  • Defensive control for stick checks (with same planned for offense and cradling).

With its low-budget workarounds and limited availability, College Lacrosse 2010 might not satisfy the lacrosse community’s growing hunger for a mainstream video game. Others have ventured into this territory before (see below), but with limited scope.

“But if the first game is successful,” Brummer said, “then bigger companies such as EA will have to make a game eventually, as well.”

Public relations contacts for EA Sports did not immediately return e-mails seeking comment for this story.

It’s in the Game

Though mainstream brands such as EA Sports have yet to venture a lacrosse video game into the market, previous efforts by smaller companies have found varying degrees of success.

* On Feb. 15, 2005, the NLL announced that its partner, Activision, would produce a new video game to be released for the 2007 season. Former commissioner Jim Jennings, who resigned before the 2009 season, told NLL.com that the game would be released in 2009.

* Brine Lacrosse, a video game for mobile phones published by the equipment manufacturer of the same name, was released in March 2006. Produced by wireless entertainment provider SkyZone Entertainment, it features Mikey Powell on its title screen and regionally-based teams from Baltimore, Long Island, Upstate New York, New England, the Midwest and the West Coast.

* Activision included lacrosse among its offerings in Big League Sports for Nintendo Wii, released in December 2008. It features 22 events in six sports, including a one-on-one situational game for lacrosse. Big League Sports has “a singular focus on putting players in the most thrilling situations while competing in their favorite sports,” the press release stated.

* Virtual Wall-Ball was released in February 2009 as part of the US Lacrosse Widget, powered by Lacrosse Magazine. The computer game allows users to rack up points while playing wall ball on their desktops, with a highest scores platform and varying degrees of difficulty.