Viral Lacrosse Videos, The Good News: The PLL is Coming To Salt Lake City, The Bad News: No Lacrosse For Foreseeable Future

Issue 21

What a wild time to be alive. Where to begin? Let’s start with the good news.

Utah Loves Viral Lacrosse Videos

Once again, a lacrosse clip from Utah goes viral. Last year it was ‘The Wave’ and this year it’s Bountiful defenseman Charlie ‘Chuck’ Johnson as a human bowling ball.

Shortly after this went viral, I received a text from one of Johnson’s neighbors who said, ‘He’s a great athlete and a better human. He’ll go far in life.’ He then included a photo of Charlie dressed as Santa Claus, surprising a special needs group last December. Paul Carcaterra chimed in, “Boys In white (ALL 3 WHO GOT TRUCKED) provide a great message to us all...get back up!” - The boys in white play for Syracuse and Paul is right, they all got back up! The video was taken by loyal reader Craig Mortensen.

While I was writing this I remembered a clip from 2014 where Jacob Mika (Waterford) launched a 75-yard shot as time expired in the first quarter and stuck it in the back of the net. The play ended up as the No. 1 play on SportsCenter that night and received attention from ESPN, Yahoo Sports, Deadspin, Sports Illustrated and all the local media. I remember talking to the cameraman after who said, “I just wanted to make sure I kept the camera on the ball the whole time.” He was in shock that a clip he filmed was on ESPN.

The Good News

On Wednesday, the Premier Lacrosse League announced it will be making a stop in Utah on August 21-22, 2020 at Rio Tinto Stadium.

Lax fans state-wide rejoiced! Ever since the PLL was announced, fans of lacrosse in Utah voice their opinions about the league coming to Utah and the PLL listened. But the work isn’t done. We need to show up and we need to bring all our friends with us. Not just your lacrosse friends. We need everyone. We all know it’s a great venue and the product on the field has been awesome so it should be a good time.

This obviously marks the first time professional outdoor lacrosse has been played in Utah. There was, in 2006, a preseason game between the Colorado Mammoth and Arizona Sting of the NLL. There’s some eerie foreshadowing in this article from the Deseret News about the game:

Utah, especially with a planned stadium for Real Salt Lake as an ideal playing surface for lacrosse, may have another professional sport in town someday. But if not, the game is growing.

Fast forward almost 5,000 days and lo and behold, we’ll have professional lacrosse at Rio Tinto Stadium, the ‘Real Salt Lake stadium’.

Of course, this all depends on if the #FlattenTheCurve procedures work or not.

The good news in the high school ranks is a pair of articles published this week by local media.

The Bad News

As you are well aware, COVID-19 has essentially shut down the NCAA, who canceled its championships, and other organizations. What does it mean for Utah teams?

For Utah, the Pac-12 made a statement on Saturday that canceled all competitions.

“Now that our season is officially over, words will not do justice to express how we all feel. Part of being a Utah Lacrosse player is learning that it is best to live in the present, learn from the past, and prepare for the future. We also teach daily that some things are just not in our control and we cannot stress over those things. By our teams’ reaction to the cancelling of our season, I am proud to say we are Utah Lacrosse! The resolve they displayed during this time made us more proud than any game they could have played in - the humility our players showed for the situation, the gratitude they expressed for the time we had together and the trust they expressed knowing they did their best. We love this team and we are so grateful to everyone involved in our organization. This too shall pass and we will learn, grow, and Find a Way to be better because of it! Go Utes!” ~ Head Coach Brian Holman
March 15, 2020

For Westminster, the RMAC canceled its spring sports as well.

On Friday, the NCAA announced that it will ‘eligibility relief’ for students who played in spring sports.

In the MCLA, BYU, Utah State and Utah Valley have had their seasons canceled as well. The league is granting an extra year of eligibility for players so that this year isn’t wasted. From the MCLA press release:

The MCLA will reevaluate the impacts of the “Wuhan Virus” (COVID-19) on its membership on Monday, April 6, to determine how the conclusion of the season will be administered. This includes the potential playing of conference tournaments.

The MCLA championships that were scheduled to be played at the Salt Lake Regional Center in May have been canceled.

On Friday, US Lacrosse canceled the WCLA championships that were scheduled for May and also granted eligibility relief.

In the high school ranks, the UHSAA suspended all athletic events for two weeks. The IMLAX board is meeting today to discuss further action. I’d venture to guess we’ll hear from the UHSAA since their last statement was Friday and so much has changed since then. My hunch is that if COVID-19 remains under a certain amount of cases in the next few weeks, things will go back to normal. If the number of cases increases, well, then, we are likely without lacrosse this spring. So please just wash your hands and if you feel sick stay home!

I’d like to suggest reading this article by Anish Shroff, ESPN commentator and guest columnist for US Lacrosse Magazine. This stood out to me:

Sports allows us to explore the full spectrum of human emotion but without real impact to our daily lives. Triumph. Loss. Agony. Joy. Heartbreak. Exhilaration. We get it all. It’s the greatest roller coaster ride of all time and just when you think you’ve been on every twist and turn, 2019 Virginia asks you to hold its non-alcoholic beverage.

I’d also suggest listening to this podcast. Terry Foy, CEO of Inside Lacrosse, provides some excellent insight as always.

Notes

I’m trying to gauge general fandom for lacrosse in Utah. If you haven’t already, please fill out this survey.

You’ll likely be spending more time on social media than usual over the next few weeks so be sure to check out Kohort, a great app for communicating. Also, we have a Facebook Page and a Twitter account.


If you have any other news, let me know: tim@timhaslam.com

Thanks again for reading, wash your hands and please forward it to a friend.
- Tim Haslam