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Make Lake Placid a Part of Your Lacrosse Bucket List

By Chris Jastrzembski, 08/15/17, 4:30PM EDT

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After the Syracuse season ended, I knew I wouldn’t see most of my teammates and coaches until late August. For the past two years, I counted down the days until I would be back in Upstate New York.

When we had our end of season meetings, I asked our coaches and some players about the Lake Placid Tournament in August. All of them highly recommended going up to and being a part of the special weekend, even if I wasn’t playing.

I went with Dan Khalil, the manager for the ‘Cuse women, and we did a preview pod Thursday night. Following that began the first of many nights going out and running into friends from our hometowns and high schools, to ‘Cuse alumni. Many of them were shocked that I was up there, but they were also excited that I would be a part of their memorable weekend.

The weather wasn’t picture perfect, but it didn’t really matter. The 18+ games were filled with star-studded talent from incoming college freshmen, current college players, and recent grads. And Gary Gait. I’m not kidding. Gait played for the G22 team, which was mostly made up of his son Braedon’s friends. They finished last in the division. But it was cool to see Gait play.

In Lake Placid, Syracuse’s “teams” are Burning Orange, Burnt Orange, and Burnt Too. For the most part, these teams are made up of just Cuse players and alums. Casey PowellRic BeardsleyTim Byrnes, and Regy Thorpe made up the elder Orange alums, while Brian MegillDominic LamolinaraDerek DeJoe, and Scott Firman were recent alums on Burning Orange, coached by Tim HarderNate SolomonStephen RehfussJamie Trimboli, and incoming freshmen Lucas Quinn and Owen Seebold were current players that suited up.

Another current Orange was Ryan Simmons, who was with brother Roy Simmons IV, father Roy Simmons III, and grandfather Roy Simmons Jr. It’s been a family tradition for the Simmons family to come up and celebrate a weekend of lacrosse.

It was very fitting that Burning Orange took home the Men’s 18+ Gold championship as well.

After the Friday games, there was a big gathering of Cuse alums in town. A nice event with plenty of new and familiar faces.

There were plenty of other things to mention, such as the various stands of apparel, wooden stick makers, and food at the fields. I’ll have something on a group of young vendors at the end of this post.

But putting everything together, the nights out, the games, and the get-togethers with current and former teammates, I realized the entire weekend showcased an aspect of lacrosse that people don’t see in high school, college, or even the pro ranks.

Family.

I began the weekend with the aspect of watching lacrosse and trying to write a story about it. I interviewed a group of young vendors as I mentioned before, but then my thoughts began to change. Is my focus impacting my enjoyment of the weekend? It may have, because I may have caught it early on.

Lacrosse is a small community, and an event like this shows how special the sport is to many people. Placid was a place where small college and local reunions happened. Syracuse, Johns Hopkins, Hobart, Albany, Brown and plenty other alums had teams that participated in the event. Some teams had a regional focus (Long Island, Maryland, Philadelphia). Mesa Lacrosse was made up of mainly kids from southeastern Pennsylvania and The Haverford School.

The person that had his life saved last Thursday will know the people that saved him for the rest of his life. He has a new “family” to visit if and when he returns back to Lake Placid. I’m sure he’ll be back in 2018.

I was able to reconnect with some Cuse guys and get to know some others, as well as say hi to some of my friends from La Salle College High School. Even running into kids and high school coaches from my area was a cool thing. When I went out Saturday night, there were multiple times I yelled “Go Birds” at people that saw my Eagles hat, at least three “Eagles” chants and even a rendition of the 76ers theme song, “Here Come The Sixers.” Myself and the other Philly kids were getting so many weird looks, and I never cared. Gotta represent the 215 whenever possible. The next morning, there was a Carson Wentz jersey at the field.

This might be the only lacrosse event where playing games isn’t the reason why you go up. It’s a unique experience and a nice time to enjoy the sport, as well as the people that play it and make it so special. Lake Placid is a small, tranquil town that makes the family atmosphere that much better. The weekend made me appreciate lacrosse more than I have as a writer or a manager at La Salle.

If you’re a college lacrosse player or college lacrosse alum, I highly recommend you make a trip up to New York in the first weekend of August. You will have one of the best times of your life, filled with many memories you’ll cherish with others there.

Here’s the interview that I mentioned earlier with Collin, Jacob, and Owen of Mercury Screen Printing, based in Albany, NY:

https://soundcloud.com/chris-jastrzembski/collin-jacob-owen-from-mercury-screen-printing-albany-ny