My youngest brother Reid and I made our way over to Villanova University Thursday night to catch the game between the Philadelphia Barrage and the Long Island Lizards. The Barrage were victorious, eking out a 10-8 victory. We had quite a bit of fun cheering the home team on, enough so that I think I may make it a point to get out to a few more games next season (well, now that I know that the team even exists, that is).
The major league incarnation of game itself is largely the same one that I played in high school and college, with a few small variations.
- The restraining box has been replaced by a basketball-like “key” inside of which all players are restrained prior to a face-off; this area also delineates a 2 point line similar to the 3 point variant in basketball, where all shots taken from outside the line are worth two goals instead of the regular one.
- Teams are restricted to three longstick defenders per roster.
- A 60 second shot clock was put in place. The clock is reset on change of posession, a score or when a shot bounces off the goalie or the goal itself.
- All players are released on a face-off (in high school and collegiate lacrosse, defensemen and attackmen must wait inside the restraining box until one of the midfielders takes posession of the ball).
And that’s pretty much it. The pace of the game is definitely quick and the skill level of the players was impressive – there were very few missed passes and their handling of ground balls would make most young players green with envy. Their professionalism, however, didn’t seem to carry through into on-field behavior, as there were a lot of penalties handed out. I could have understood a lot of technical fouls or perhaps even a few slashings, etc., but I swear the refs handed out 5 or 6 unsportsmanlike fouls, including one 2 minute offense. Both teams seemed to suffer from an overabundance of unchecked emotion and several of the “revenge”-type fouls ended up giving the opposing team man-up advantages that led directly to goals.
The crowd of around 3,000 seemed to be comprised of primarily families which warmed this old lacrosse hand’s heart – it seemed pretty obvious that lacrosse is catching on in a big way in the Philly metro area.
All in all, the experience was a fun one – Reid and I enjoyed ourselves thoroughly. I think I’ll be making a habit of attending Barrage home games next year – at $10 a ticket, it’s a steal.