While Kyle has finished his high school lacrosse career, Erik’s trek is just beginning. After being designated the unofficial captain of the school’s junior varsity team, he moved up to varsity – as a freshman – and scored a goal in his varsity appearance.
Following in Kyle’s footsteps, Erik tried out and made the 2022 New Jersey Lacrosse Club roster. NJLC merged with the South Jersey Saints – Kyle’s club last year – and their first tournament was the New York Lacrosse Academy’s Summer Showcase. The event was held in Garden City, NY, in scenic Long Island.
The tournament was set for Saturday morning, so we rented a hotel room close to the event and planned to leave Friday afternoon. Google Maps told me it would take FIVE AND A HALF HOURS if I left during rush hour – the trip is normally two and a half hours – so we held off until 6pm.
It still took us nearly three and a half hours to get there. New York City is chock full of idiot drivers…
Erik is not a morning person, and he demanded to stay up to watch the NBA Finals. I fell asleep around midnight, but since we needed to be at the fields by 7am, I set my alarm for 5:45. I woke up, showered, ate breakfast, and came back to wake up Erik. Surprisingly, he was awake and semi-ready to go. It was his first big-time lacrosse tournament, and the team has only had four days of practice. Erik only had two, because of Kyle’s graduation events.
While Erik usually plays midfield and takes faceoffs, the coach asked him to play attack. Apparently only one or two teammates ever played the position, and Erik was experienced, so he agreed.
He’s below, in black, outrunning a defender.
The team had an up and down day. They lost all three games – the Long Islanders can really play lacrosse – but after being shutout the first game, they scored one, then three goals in the final two. Thee first tournament is always a learning experience, but Erik played very well. He hustled, he fought for ground balls, and most importantly, he had a lot of fun. Not bad for someone who only grabbed five hours’ sleep the night before.
Erik’s games ended by noon, so we figured we’d tour a few places before heading home. I wanted to see the New York Islanders arena, and Kyle told me to bring my Isles jersey and wear it for a photo. That’s below…
For the record, the jersey was not comfortable in 80-degree heat. We also stopped by Hofstra University, which is near the venue. Kyle wanted a Hofstra lacrosse t-shirt, so we stopped by. Despite the store showing Saturday hours, the store was closed. I guess they didn’t want my money.
That part of New York is also home to The Ramones, one of my all-time favorite bands. While heading home, I asked Erik to take a photo of this sign. Rockaway Beach is not just a summer spot, but also a terrific Ramones song.
Practice continues for the next five weeks, and Erik’s next tournament is scheduled for Sunday, June 16th at Lehigh University. Like the NYLA tournament, there will be many college scouts in attendance.