I realize not many people will be headed here on Memorial Day – hell, I’ll barely be around – but I wanted to explain why I’ve been scarce this weekend. Last weekend, we bought tickets to see the Philadelphia Union soccer game. We haven’t been there in a year or two, and Kyle and Erik really wanted to go. Well, we were in luck, because the Union had a buy tickets, get another game’s tickets free deal.
Talen Energy Stadium – above – is gorgeous, and a terrific soccer venue. Sadly, the Union lost Saturday night, but it was Dollar Dog Night, so while the loss was not fun, our stomachs were full. (The Union are still in second place in the east.)
This weekend, the NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Finals are back in Philadelphia. (They’re here in 2020 as well.) We never miss the lax championships when they’re in Philly, and we spent Sunday seeing the Division II and Division III title games. Before that, however, we attended Fan Fest, where we had some really cool opportunities.
Like, say, getting our pictures taken with the NCAA Division I Lacrosse Championship trophy.
The boy on the far left is Jake; one of Kyle’s oldest friends, and a former lacrosse player. I considered hugging and kissing the trophy, but I didn’t want to be brutally beaten. There’s more below the fold…
The guy pictured below is Trevor Baptiste, one of the greatest faceoff specialists in Division I history. Trevor was signing autographs and posing for pictures – free of charge – and Kyle (a fellow faceoff guy) was very excited to meet him. Kyle asked Trevor to sign his Maryland hat. Trevor played at the University of Denver, so he looked at Kyle, smiled, and said, “I can’t sign that!”
He was kidding, and signed the hat anyway (below) but said he didn’t like doing it. Baptiste is a terrific, friendly person, and a credit to the sport.
Erik then decided to check his shot speed at one of the radar venues. You can actually see the orange ball he shot headed toward the center bullseye. Erik took five shots, and his best was 68mph. Not bad for a freshman. Kyle shot earlier, and his best was 77mph, which is a little slower than his average.
We finally headed inside to enjoy the games. The Division II final featured Limestone College (S.C.) versus Merrimack College (MA). We were pulling for Limestone, but Merrimack made mincemeat of them, winning 16-8. Limestone is warming up in the photo below. (We had great seats.)
The Division III game saw Amherst College (MA) versus Cabrini University (PA). Although Cabrini is near Philadelphia, we were all cheering for Amherst. First of all, their colors are purple and white, second their mascot is a freakin’ mammoth, and finally, Cabrini took a look at Kyle last year, and Kyle thought the coach was kind of an a-hole.
The Cabrini fans, however, sealed the decision. They were loud, obnoxious, and mostly drunk during the game. A family sitting near us screamed during every half-decent play – which is fine – but they never stopped. Ever. Six blood-curdling screams from the fat woman next to us, after every single goal, was entirely too much. Worse still, she was encouraging her young son to follow suit.
At one point, the kid kept screaming “Yay” for three minutes straight. Finally Kyle, who was getting annoyed because Cabrini was winning and because the fans were awful, turned to the family and shouted, “WILL YOU SHUT THE FUCK UP?!!!”
While I did not endorse his actions, I understood them. At least the kid was so scared he finally shut up. Naturally, Cabrini won the title, their first, and we all went home disappointed. At least the lacrosse play was good.
The Division I title game can be seen today at 1pm on ESPN2.