A review of the 2013 Major League Lacrosse All-Star experience.
When the lights went out Saturday night in Charlotte and all the fans went home, it became a time of reflection for me. Being a Charlotte native, evaluating the weekend as a whole is a daunting task to say the least. For one, I’m proud of the city for being able to accommodate players, media, MLL personnel, and especially the fans. Instead of writing an entire column about how the game went as I assume everyone watched the game at some point I thought I would give the top 3 things that I saw that every lacrosse fan should be encouraged by. Without further ado:
#1 – The Game is in Good Hands –
For those who were able to make it out to the Moe’s event before the game, I am preaching to the choir. Rob Pannell is the next face of this game and it is easy to see why. Rob was working the room like a seasoned veteran, making every kid feel like he was the center of the universe and encouraging parents to keep their kids involved with the sport. Lacrosse has an extremely bright future, and Rob Pannell is a major reason why.
#2 – Family Means Everything –
The entire Laxdirt crew was very fortunate to be able to hang out with a lot of people this weekend, and some of the most memorable things came from talking to the families of the players that were directly involved with the game. Between Tommy Palasek’s grandfather entertaining the masses in the hotel lobby with impressive magic tricks to Greg Guerenlian’s father’s “Papa Beast” jersey, it’s refreshing to see the game mean as much to the players as it does to the fans. Sometimes we all can forget that these guys play this game for very little compensation, and I think that the support they draw from their families shows how much the game means to them.
#3 – All About the Fans –
I could write 5,000 words about this one alone, but I will keep it relatively simple. The players care about their fans, and that is no small feat. Try to go to an NBA game and be able to talk to your favorite player. The task is nothing short of impossible. However, if you watch this game that featured the world’s best players, all of them were as interested in the fan experience as the fans were in the game. These players truly care about how the fans see the game, and it was very evident in how both teams treated fans before and after the game. The 2 ultimate fans might have had a unique experience, but everyone in the stands got more than their money’s worth.
Most Importantly – Fans Rule All –
Last one, I swear. The weather wasn’t great in Charlotte on Saturday night. However, the fan support was crazy throughout the game, even when the sky decided to open up in various points in the night. The perseverance of the crowd and the support they gave the players throughout the game and skills competition was nothing short of amazing and it will be fun to see where the game takes this event. Overall, the MLL has a lot to be proud of after what happened, and I for one am excited to see where this all is going to lead. Thanks to the players, fans, MLL, and my hometown for putting on a great show.