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Between The Pipes

By Blake Schierer, 04/16/18, 2:30PM EDT

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My First Foray Into the World of Box Lacrosse

Being a goalie in any sport takes a certain…mindset. To be a goalie requires patience, a short memory, creativity, leadership, and a willingness to sacrifice for your teammates. Also, you have to be a little crazy. Why else would you enthusiastically let opposing players (and your teammates in warm-ups and practice) pelt you with shots and smile while doing it?

I spent my competitive days, long since behind me, playing offense. “Score the goals, get the glory.” I played hockey my whole life (lacrosse came later as the sport gained popularity in the Midwest). As my teammates got bigger, better, and faster, my role changed. I wanted to be the guy setting us up for success. I wanted to lead the team in assists and feed the goal scorers from behind the crease. I think that in these moments my passion for getting in net was budding. I was always worried that I wasn’t big enough to stand in front of the net and take the inevitable beating while embarrassing myself and letting the team down. I was already doing mental gymnastics and talking myself out of it before even trying. Then, by chance and necessity, the opportunity came, and I answered.

During a rec-league hockey game the normal net-minder didn’t show. The rink had loaner gear and someone had to play or we wouldn’t have a game. I hesitantly offered to do it, and instantly fell in love. The first shot hit me square in a soft spot and stung like nothing else, but I LOVED it! I was totally hooked. I went out and bought all the gear and started playing both ice and in-line because I couldn’t get enough. Even after all that, being a lacrosse goalie still sounded insane to me. That is until SLV teammate Eric Witmer came into the fold…

Eric’s passion for lacrosse is immeasurable. He wants to share it with any/everyone he can. His love of box lacrosse is even greater. Since hiring Eric over a year ago, he’s been prodding me to give box lacrosse a try. He’s found me loaner gear, played on my love of hockey, boosted my confidence to try, and even bought me a custom “Ugly Christmas Sweater” jersey. Two weeks ago, I relented and drove us out to participate in the Regional Box Lacrosse League - Colorado prospect day. Just like my first rec-league hockey goalie outing, I stepped in with no box lacrosse net-minding experience whatsoever, the difference being that all the concepts I picked up playing in net on the ice translated and I wasn’t totally out of place.

And guess what? I LOVED IT. Everything Eric said was true. The game is incredibly fast paced (there’s nothing worse than standing around as a goalie, waiting for shots). Tracking the ball and being patient are much more difficult tasks than in hockey, but lessons I’m learning quickly. This was fun, exciting, and invigorating. I’ve always loved lacrosse, but this version of the game was like burning a CD of your favorite songs for your car in the 90’s – the greatest hits!

Now…let’s hope a team picks me up…