Is a Shortage of Youth Referees Hurting the Game?

Lacrosse RefLast night, my U-13 West End Warriors went to battle with a team from across town known for their polished stick skills and outstanding conditioning. We were the underdogs from the first face-off, and fell to Robius 5-2.

Our kids played well in a game that could be described as sloppy and a bit out of control. I’ve never been one to bicker about referees. I’ve always supported the notion that nothing I do or say is going to alter the calls they make. But in a David versus Goliath kind of showdown, we never stood a chance, and much of this was due to the two men wearing black and white pin stripes.

Two of our opponents’ goals game while their attackmen were clearly in the crease. The first was on a fast break situation, and both officials couldn’t make it past the midfield line before their player took the shot. They were out of shape and out of position. The second came off of a set play, yet still, one referee trotted above the midfield line while the other stood firmly twenty yards away from the action. I was closer to the crease from my spot on the sideline and could blatantly see their player slide through the crease.

But the biggest call came in the third quarter when we were trailing by just one goal. Their player sprinted up the sideline and our defensemen gave him a body check from the side. One referee was literally three feet from the play and deemed it a legal play while the other threw a flag from the other side of the field. This led to a man-up goal situation for Robius and we could never regain momentum.

After the game, the director of officiating came up to me and apologized. He explained that there is a shortage of referees in our region and agreed that they missed a few calls. I constantly tell my kids to play with sportsmanship and integrity, but last night, nothing seemed to give. I can’t say that we would have won the game with better officials, but it would have certainly been more competitive. On to the next one!

New Lacrosse Swag Represents Growth for the Sport

Syracuse Lacrosse ShortsAs a youngster, suiting up for lacrosse practice was a simple and conservative affair. I grabbed a pair of beat up shorts, an old school penny from my brother’s closet, and some second hand equipment from Play It Again Sports.

To say that things have changed would be an understatement.

An average youth practice nowadays resembles an 80’s rock concert. Flashy neon shorts, striped ankle socks, and florescent cleats are a common sighting.

And this new swag isn’t being produced by brands that only lax bros would identify with. Nike, Reebok and Adidas have all made a major splash in the lacrosse market.

I recently made a trip to Dicks Sporting Goods to grab a few things. I was blown away when I noticed the lacrosse section that dominated the entire front corner of the store. Just ten years ago, outside of a specialized distributor, it was impossible to find anything related to the fastest game on two feet.. This is a great testament to the growth of lacrosse throughout the United States.

Today, kids that play lacrosse carry a certain swagger that separates them from the rest of the pack. The clothing is branded to fit this mold, and naturally brings attention to the sport we all love and cherish. Some may argue that this is cocky or flashy, but personally, I love it. A shaggy haired teenager rocking a pair of multicolored shorts will never be mistaken for a baseball player, a fact that rests easy in the minds of lacrosse supporters nationwide.

Anyone that has ever picked up a stick has always known how special our sport is. But for years, lacrosse struggled to gain national interest like football, basketball and even soccer. (Yes, I can’t believe I said it.)

But now, it is relevant. The evolution of lacrosse is upon us, and I’m along for the ride.

If you’re looking to jump on board and grab yourself some new lacrosse swag, has plenty of options for you, including the Syracuse lacrosse shorts pictured above. Head over to the ComLax apparel section to check out their full line of swag. Use the coupon code ABLACROSSE when you check out and save 10% on select items from your purchase, not a bad deal for new swag!