The Hawks Gave Them A Helluva Fight

For those of you who do not know, I spent my college years at Saint Joseph’s University in West Philadelphia. I really enjoyed my time there, and despite the fact my grades were pretty average, I learned a lot.

While there, I tried out for the men’s lacrosse team. I never played lacrosse before, but when the coach saw I ran track and cross-country and said the lacrosse talent will come. Like my grades, I was an average player, but most of my teammates knew I worked hard to do the grunt work. Scooping ground balls, body checking opponents, etc.

When I played at SJU, the team was just a club sport, but a few years after I graduated, the team went to Division I. They were always competitive, but this year, for the first time ever, they made it to the Division I Lacrosse Tournament.

Saint Joseph’s brought it in their NCAA Tournament debut. But they ran into a Yale team that, despite the fact about 85% of the roster was making its first appearance in the Dance, was able to make just a few more plays (some owing to experience, maybe?) that allowed the Bulldogs to pull out an 18-16 win at Reese Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Yale was ranked fourth in the nation, and Saint Joe’s was ranked 19th. To be honest, I expected the Hawks would get trounced by Yale, but to my great surprise they ran with one of the best teams in the country.

“I felt like our guys were ready to go today,” Saint Joseph’s coach Taylor Wray told IL postgame. “They were not intimidated by the moment. They were not nervous about being in the NCAA Tournament because they let it all hang out and showed the lacrosse world what Saint Joe’s is capable of doing.”

At the start of the game – it was on ESPNU – I would click it on, check the score, and turn it off. I assumed my watching it would have jinxed them. Every time I glanced at the game, the Hawks were within one of two goals. I watched the entire second half, and while SJU lost, they fought and hustled to the end.

“I was impressed with St. Joe’s,” Yale coach Andy Shay told IL postgame. “I didn’t know what to think going in. It’s amazing to watch teams on film. If you watch a team on film that you know, you know what they feel like — that’s one thing. You watch a team on film that you’ve never seen before, you get out there and it’s like — some of those dudes are a handful.”

I have never been more proud of this team, and it makes me happy that I was able to make a (rather insignificant) mark on this team. The program has come a long way.

Well, That Escalated Very Quickly

You may remember in 2019 when Kyle was accepted to the University of Dallas. (In fairness, he was also accepted to Georgian Court University and Heidelberg University.) Kyle attended Dallas for one year, which was immediately cut short due to the Chinese Wuhan Virus. Kyle was recruited for lacrosse, and he was able to compete in four measly games.

You may also remember he didn’t have a great time there, and decided to end his college journey after his freshman year. He still keeps in contact with his former teammates – one of his friend’s has a room for Kyle in their home, and they literally calls it “Kyle’s room – so when he heard about what happened at UD, he was pretty pissed.

University of Dallas to End Lacrosse Programs May 1

The University of Dallas will discontinue the men’s and women’s lacrosse programs May 1 at the conclusion of the women’s regular season.

“The men’s season this year was canceled due to injuries, and while the women’s season continues, it’s been challenging to recruit players,” Athletics Director Jarred Samples said.

I understand the recruitment issue, and frankly the coaches there did a lousy job of getting players to come the UD. These kids spent their entire lives working hard to play college lacrosse, and this is how they are rewarded. It’s a damned shame.

So, This Is Pretty Great

Erik’s high school lacrosse season began toward the end of March, and while everyone assumed the season would turn out to be another mediocre year, the Crusaders have been totally outplaying their competition.

And by that I mean, they are currently 6-0.

Erik called this at the beginning of the year. He looked over the schedule and said, “I think we’re going to win a lot of games this year.” (Insert Dad eyeroll here). I reminded him there are some powerhouses in the league, but he continued to stand his ground. The team has been very confident, and it shows on the field.

No one was more shocked than I. That’s not a shot at the team, per se. They have a nice crop of good players this year – especially Erik and his two fellow face-off guys – but the competition in their conference is pretty impressive.

So far, the Crusaders have outscored their opponents 80-19, and during the game against Cardinal O’Hara, the three faceoff guys won 24 out of 25 face-offs. Erik won 5 out of 6.

Erik has ten games left, and of those, five of them are against very tough teams. They likely won’t go undefeated, but with any luck, they will earn their best record in years. It’s a nice change from finishing .500 – or worse – every year, especially with college scouts looking at him.

Adventures In Child-Rearing

Unlike Kevin and Princess P, Erik’s school is utilizing a hybrid school schedule. The school is doing one day in school and one day online. I think it’s a ridiculous scenario which doesn’t benefit the students, but common sense is not entirely common anymore.

Like every kid, Erik needs socialization. Spending all day, every day in your own home can do some pretty severe damage to people’s psyche, and leads to all types of problems, such as depression. The good news is lacrosse practices have begun, and while Erik is suffering from shin splints, he should be good to go for the regular season.

Or so we thought.

Yesterday, one of the administrators called to tell me “because your son, on Monday March 8,was in a classroom and in proximity of a student who tested positive for Covid-19, your son will have to quarantine for Mon-Thu next week.”

Are you f**king kidding me? Erik has no symptoms, and kids are almost always immune to the Chinese Wuhan Virus maladies. But hey, “abundance of caution,” or some other garbage.

Worse still, it means he is banned from lacrosse practice until next week, and will miss the team’s first scrimmage. Also note, his lacrosse season was canceled last year, thanks to the Chinese. As Mrs. Earp said yesterday, “I am so over this.” It’s been over a year since the ChiComs released this plague upon the world, and far too many Americans are still acting like it’s Bubonic Plague.

There was some good news yesterday, however.

Two weeks ago, Kevin took the practice test for a really good private school in the area. (We would rather he not attend the school Kyle and Erik attended. See above.) The test took three hours and had nearly 298 questions.

We didn’t tell Kevin that beforehand. Why stress him out?

Anyway, Mrs. Earp drove him to the test, and sat in on a few speeches about the school while Kevin was taking the practice exam. The administrators said if a student earned a high enough score, they would not have to take the test again. Kevin is a very smart 7th grader, but I told him to just do his best, and whatever happens happens.

Kevin was tired when he got home, but he said he thought he did okay. We received the results yesterday, and he scored an 89. We’re not sure if that’s good enough to get him in – and the tuition is crazy – but he was very pleased with his score.

Worse comes to worse, if the prep school doesn’t work out, there’s a very good charter school close to our home.

A Victory Of A Sort

This weekend I had the pleasure of taking Erik (#88 in blue) to Delaware for the Victory Fall Classic lacrosse tournament. The tournament spanned Saturday and Sunday, with three games for each team. Considering Erik’s sophomore season was eliminated thanks to the Chinese Wuhan Virus and our a-hole governor, this was his first tournament since summer of 2019.

Erik’s team is undefeated in their Fall league, but the competition in Delaware was much more impressive. I told Mrs. Earp we may come home without a win, but it’s always good when you play tougher opponents.

Erik is one of two face-off specialists on the team. Erik, like Kyle, is very good at face-offs; but he uses a different strategy. Kyle used his speed to win draws, while Erik uses his size and muscle. I hoped he had a good weekend because college scouts were in attendance.

Erik didn’t disappoint…

Continue reading “A Victory Of A Sort”

The Greatest Sport On Earth

Everyone hold on to your hats; I’m about to say plenty of good things about Ireland.

The 2022 World Lacrosse Games are in the process of seeding the multiple national teams looking to play in the championships. The Iroquois Nationals are one of the best teams in the world, but they were not considered because of a technicality. Enter Ireland.

This week, if you looked up the dictionary definition for the word ‘sportsmanship,’ there’s a good chance you might have seen a picture of Ireland’s national lacrosse team there. That’s because rather than looking to their own interests, they ceded their spot at the World Lacrosse Games 2022 to a Native American Iroquois squad who’d been shut out of the international competition on a technicality.

The eight teams slotted to play in the tournament were selected on the basis of where their team ranked at the end of the 2018 Federation of International Lacrosse World Championship. The Iroquois Nationals came in third. Ireland finished 12th.

Since the Iroquois are not recognized as a sovereign nation nor do they have an Olympic Committee, the International World Games Association (IWGA) initially disqualified them from championship play.

For the record, this is a stupid rule. There is no need for the Iroquois to have an Olympic Committee, since they have been playing in world tournaments for years.

Seeing the injustice, the Irish team dropped out, giving the Iroquois their spot.

In a statement, Michael Kennedy, chief executive officer of Ireland Lacrosse said, “It’s simply the right thing to do… As much as our players would have been honored to compete, we know the right thing is for the Iroquois Nationals to represent our sport on this international stage.”

This is no minor act of kindness. Ireland earned a spot on the World Games and they voluntarily gave it up because they saw another team getting screwed. You think a team from the NFL, NBA, or MLB would do that? The answer is no.

Cheers to you, Ireland. Sláinte!

Almost…

Kyle’s first two lacrosse games did not go as well as he would like. Their schedule began with Huntingdon College (AL) and Hendrix College (AR); two very powerful teams. They were outscored in those games by a combined score of 41-3.

Tuesday was a chance to get back on track against New York’s Hilbert College.

The University of Dallas men’s lacrosse team produced a six-goal run in the final 10 minutes of Tuesday’s game versus Hilbert College. Already having surpassed its season total of goals at the start of the last quarter with seven, Dallas (0-3) rallied back with a trio of goals in two minutes and put another three goals from 4:10 to 2:12 left to nip a 14-7 gap to 14-13.

The issue with Kyle’s team isn’t talent; it’s manpower. In lacrosse, each team has ten players on the field at a time. Kyle’s squad has fifteen players on the entire roster, so Kyle plays approximately fifty-five minutes of a sixty-minute game. That’s not an excuse, just a point of reference…

Continue reading “Almost…”

A Humble Request

It’s rare that I ask for any personal favors here – with the exception of tracking down Vica Kerekes’ phone number – but today is different.

You see, Kyle’s lacrosse team has just put out a fundraiser for their season-long expenses. Unlike Division I schools – and many Division II schools – the Division III athletic programs usually need to self-finance. Kyle gets a helmet, gloves, and a uniform, but his pads, cleats, and sticks are bought out of his own pocket. Many schools try to raise money once a year for things like transportation to and from games, food allowances on the road, and a few other minor perks.

This year, the team’s “Spring Break” will be spent in Michigan, and for a while, it looked as if they would be taking a bus there. Thankfully, some money came in from the area to pay for airfare.

Every player – there are only seventeen – was asked to raise $500 a piece to help out. Currently, Kyle’s page is close to $200, so if anyone could throw a few bucks his way, we would all greatly appreciate it. Kyle’s page can be found here, along with a photo or two of the boy.

If you can contribute, thank you. If not, that’s fine as well. Kyle sent out an email to our friends and relatives, so I wanted to mention it here on the blog as well.

UPDATE: The fundraiser lasts until March 17th in case you’d like to help out.

Pitter Patter Let’s Get At ‘Er

Yesterday was the unofficial start of Kyle’s college lacrosse career with a scrimmage versus TCU. The day began with Kyle making University of Dallas’ Sports Med posting this photo of him on Instagram.

Then, a half hour before the game, Erik found TCU’s YouTube channel, which was broadcasting the game! Since Kyle is the primary faceoff guy, the announcers mentioned him often.

(As a parent, there is no bigger thrill than hearing your son’s name mentioned during a live sports broadcast.)

TCU has a much larger pool to draw from, and they outnumbered UD by a good 10-15 players. They were also very physical, and Kyle got hit hard a few times, always popping back up.

The plus side is he played a ton, but unfortunately, it was not Dallas’ day, and they lost 18-4. Thankfully it was only a scrimmage.

Either way, I’m very proud of him, despite the score.

The video of the game is below the fold, if you want to hear the boy’s name. He wears #13, and he gets a nice talk-up at 56:05. He is also the first player you see, taking the faceoff in gray.

Continue reading “Pitter Patter Let’s Get At ‘Er”

A Blue Christmas In Texas

As part of the University of Dallas’ continuing charity efforts, the school’s athletic programs spent Thursday collecting donations for needy families in Irving. Many members of Kyle’s lacrosse team were involved.

The University of Dallas Athletics Department partnered with the Irving Police and Fire Department for the second annual Blue Christmas at the school. Erik Graton, the second-year head coach of the UD baseball team started the partnership last fall and invited other programs within the department to participate. It was such a great success in 2018 that the department planned to make it a reoccurring event to help the local community.

On Thursday, December 12, 2019, the Irving Police and Fire Department arrived to the front parking circle near the bell tower on the Dallas campus. Student-athletes, coaches, and staff that could attend walked up donations to be placed inside the Blue Christmas trailer.

Blue Christmas was started in 1979 out of the then City Municipal Court building at 835 W. Irving Blvd. It started with 25 families and it has now grown to where we attempt to take care of 400+ families that live in Irving.

The event occurred right before finals, so it likely eased some of the stress the students are going through now. And yes, Kyle is wearing his ugly Christmas sweater, just because.

Oh, and if you’ll notice, Kyle is one of the only two in the top photo wearing a short-sleeved shirt. He continually tells his classmates “forty degrees isn’t cold.”