Seems like lacrosse should be easier than soccer, since the players get to carry a big catcher's mitt on the end of a stick.
I played soccer (or American football) for umpteen years as a kid and in college. As soccer players, we didn't carry any equipment; we just used our feet and heads. So when the hoards of lacrosse players enter the Lake Placid scene in August, even though the shoes and outdoor grass-covered fields are similar to those used in soccer, all the sticks with baskets on the ends are very intriguing to me. The über popular Summit Lake Placid Lacrosse tournament is happening this week. Although the intricacies of the sport elude me, I can very much appreciate why the events continue to grow.
I ran into an enthusiastic masters team player while standing in line for a sandwich earlier this week in town. He looked like his face had been permanently formed into a smile, and told me that he'd been coming here for "years and years" as an annual trip, and always felt very welcome. I told him he seemed happy, as it seemed a safe comment to make to a stranger. He said, "who wouldn't be happy here in the gorgeous Adirondack mountains?" (I have heard that before, believe it or not...).
I joined the ranks of spectators lining the sides of the North Elba fields today, watched some girls' and boys' games, and was quite impressed. I have no idea how to manipulate those lacrosse sticks to "trap and scoop" myself, but it sure is a treat to watch the players who have mastered those moves - and do them so quickly!
The Lake Placid event began in 1990 as a weekend event with seven teams and 14 games. It has since doubled each year in size. In 2009, a scholastic division was added - making it even more of a family-oriented event in which it is possible for kids, parents and grandparents to all participate in games during the weeklong competition. This year's event hosted over 180 teams, and by popular demand, added a master's women's division.
To accommodate the growth of the event in Lake Placid, the Lake Placid Lacrosse event's organizer, George Leveille, facilitated the addition of infrastructure courtesy of the Town of North Elba, so that collectively, teams now play on 12 fields located in North Elba, the Northwood School, the Lake Placid High School and at the Barkeater in Keene.
If you haven't had a chance to be here for these great events, there's always next year. Summit lacrosse has taken the lead as the busiest multi-day annual event held here. And it should continue; according to Leveille, lacrosse is the fastest growing sport in the United States.
And if you ask me, it's also a pretty fast-moving bit of stick-trickery right here in Lake Placid, Adirondacks USA.