Well, I did it. For the first time in nearly a month I was able to participate in the Box Lacrosse League. After spending the day at home putting up Christmas decorations with my family, I was ready to lax. Saved from the mental grind of my cubicle job, I felt more energized than usual. Unfortunately the freezer quality of the Soccer House zapped quite a bit of that energy from my system. It was actually colder inside the facility than out.
Game 1 – Cyclones 8, Macaques 3
In years past the Cyclones have always rolled deep. Unfortunately they have only had one or two subs on their bench all season. Then again, it seems like there has been a rotating cast of subs. Perhaps the team is traveling light to give its players more minutes per game, thus making the trip to Des Moines more worthwhile.
Whatever the Cyclones are doing is working. The team remains untouched atop the league and has virtually locked in the number one seed at this point. Couch is still a wall and the team has strong ball movement. Not much more needs to be said.
This game was actually much closer than the scoreboard. In fact, neither team scored in the opening 10 minutes. The deadlock was finally broken by a fluke goal. Oddly enough, the Cyclone’s final point in the second period was an even bigger fluke; somehow Hanks dropped the ball and it rolled into his cage.
Flukes were a common theme. Ever the running keeper, Couch made several moves up the field. Inevitably the Macaques would force a turnover with an empty net in front of them only to wind up in Mr. Magoo-type shenanigans that prevented them from capitalizing. At least three open net opportunities were squandered, to the amazement of everybody on the field.
Still, the Macaques are a tough and talented team. They have had some bad breaks, but I firmly believe they are on the cusp of making it.
Game 2 – Tropics 7, Singha 1
Singha had a pair of subs, with four players in their mid-30s or older. The Tropics arrived with a bench full of high school energy and talent. Few doubted that Singha was looking at another uphill struggle.
The game started fairly smooth with Charles Love doing an admirable job on the face off. Ball movement was better than it had been when I last played. But once again Singha struggled defensively. We also squandered potential fast breaks and failed to capitalize on the Tropics’ inability to get back defensively. At one point, Thompson, Arends, and I were ensuring coverage at both ends while the rest of the team fought in the middle. This strategy paid some dividends, but was ultimately not enough to hold the Tropics back.
For their part, the Tropics displayed their usual ball control and movement. Arends and Griess, in particular, had great on-field chemistry and were able to confuse our defense time and again. The team’s overall shot selection was better than usual. Without McEntee’s size to rely on, the rest of the team seemed more composed and cooperative when they did get back on defense.
As predicted, I am extremely sore today. At one point during a man-down situation, I blocked a shot with my left bicep that left a massive bruise. On the same kill, another shot pinpointed my knee, causing me to limp off the field. That knee is burning and swollen as I type this. One Tropics player managed to get a hack in the sweet spot between my glove and elbow pad, which has been awesome to deal with at work today. Amazingly, all three of those injuries on the left side of my body… But hey, at least I don’t have the old man aches I originally foresaw!
Note: I have my camera. There are photos from the last couple of games. But the PC at my “real job” now refuses to upload them. For the love of Pete, I cannot catch a break!
I plan to carve out some time this weekend to get them uploaded into gallery post. There is a lot on my plate this weekend including family stuff, equipment and jersey inventory, and getting the Santa’s Stick Skills registrations finalized. Unfortunately the box lacrosse league gallery comes after those items. But, I will have the pictures available ASAP.