Jeff Haws’ Top 10 List

There are few better times of the year than this, for all of us Listers.

It seems like, every week, there’s another set of playoffs and state championships starting up, and we love seeing some champions crowned. The only thing we ever won in high school was seventh place in an eight-person chess tournament. It’s sad, we know.

So we live vicariously through the guys and girls competing now, and one of the sports that’s really caught our eye in recent years is lacrosse.

The playoffs kicked off Tuesday night, and the first round continues through Wednesday.

Sure, those Yankees up north got the ball rolling with this sport, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do it better. Go see your local team play this week. Here are the top 10 reasons why:

10. Weather’s warming up

Yeah, this spring has been really weird so far, and we’re pretty sure it was below zero last weekend. But it’s gonna be in the 70s Wednesday evening, without a drop of rain in sight. So you’ve gotta get out and do something. Watching lacrosse should obviously be the choice.

9. Growing sport

You know you’ve got a little hipster in you. As such, you want to be able to say you were on the bandwagon before everybody else jumped on (“I watched this sport the other night; you’ve probably never heard of it.”). Here’s your chance with lacrosse. Despite its awesomeness, lots of people simply haven’t caught on yet. Get out in front.

8. They’ll play in college

This applies especially to the girls, if they want to. As the sport grows, more and more colleges are putting together sanctioned teams, and they need players. This year, Kennesaw State was one of 51 schools starting a college program. Next year, expect 33 more. Many of them are in the Southeast. The momentum isn’t stopping.

7. Anyone can compete

Sure, it started out several years ago with mostly private schools battling each other for titles. Now, though, there are two divisions in both boys and girls lacrosse, and public and private schools are right there next to each other. In boys, six of the top 10 ranked teams are public, including the top three. On the girls side, only one of the top 10 is private.

6. Three sports in one

If you’re a fan of other sports but not familiar with lacrosse, the odds are good you’ll recognize some elements of what you already enjoy. Lacrosse combines the defensive strategies of basketball with the stick handling and net guarding of hockey and the quickness/agility of soccer.

5. Very few rainouts

Especially with the weather we’ve been having lately, everybody knows rain can wreak havoc on spring sports. It’s probably the toughest with baseball, where cold decreases the quality of play and rain basically makes it impossible to do a darn thing. But in lacrosse, if there’s no lightning nearby, you’re almost certain to see a game when you head out. No wasted time.

4. Lots of scoring opportunities

If you shy away from soccer due to the 2-1 games and the long stretches with no shots on goal, lacrosse will be a pleasant change of pace. The ball seems to constantly be in one team or the other’s zone, especially when you get into the playoffs with evenly matched teams. And on the boys side, a big hit can jar the ball loose for the defense.

3. Hard hitting

Speaking of that, lacrosse isn’t too far from football when it comes to physical play on the boys side. If you haven’t watched a game before, trust us … players seriously will lay each other out. In a game between good teams with tough defenses, expect at least a couple of guys to take bone-crunching hits. You’re not likely to see that on the baseball diamond.

2. Fast pace

The ball is always moving, always headed toward somebody’s goal, and it moves quickly. Be sure to wear your glasses (we’re blind without them) if you want to keep track of it. Speed kills in lacrosse, and the best teams have it in droves. That means the hits are harder on the boys side, and the fast girls are ridiculously tough to stop on their way to the goal.

1. Atlanta-centric

Obviously, this only helps those of us in the Atlanta area. But since that’s where The List HQ is, we’ll revel in it. Almost all the best teams are in Atlanta or the surrounding metro counties. Columbus High is one of the few outside the area that makes any noise. That means tons of lacrosse action all over the metro area in the next couple of weeks, and it also means the champ will almost certainly be crowned here.

Now we want to hear what you think. What do you enjoy most about lacrosse? Which teams are you looking forward to checking out this week? Could you take a big hit if we put you in lacrosse gear? Let us know here in the comments or on Twitter at @ajcprepsports.

4 comments Add your comment

Ernest

May 8th, 2013
8:45 am

I’m hearing more and more about scholarship opportunities for those that play Lacrosse. To the point of #8, I recently read where a student athlete at Southwest DeKalb recently got the first Lacrosse scholarship in the history of the school. As more parents are seeking ways to ’subsidize’ the college expenses for their children, it would be wise to see if there is interest in Lacrosse.

From what I see, one thing holding back more schools participating, especially in minority communities, is the lack of coaches. Perhaps if the sport was introduced in middle schools, we may see a higher adoption rate. It does hurt that it is a spring sport, thus competing with soccer and track.

some sense

May 8th, 2013
9:40 am

Tread softly on the true value of scholarships. Mainly football and basketball offer “full rides”. Someone who receives a “full ride” in any other sport is already a superstar, a projected Olympian or professional. Scholly’s are limited by the NCAA and other school governing bodies, and there aren’t very many per sport. Cross country and track together get twelve, I think. If a child receives a scholarship in a minor sport, it’s typically a “partial”, but whatever it is, it’s enough for most parents to crow, “My child got a scholarship.” A lot of times a school will simply “let” an athlete of some promise join a team and guarantee sebsequent admission. In Georgis this works well for those student/athletes who qualify for HOPE. Some in-state sports depend on stocking their rosters w/ HOPE qualifiers.

Ernest

May 8th, 2013
1:50 pm

No disagreement with the comments by some sense. I’m a ‘Soccer Dad’ and know of several student athletes that got partial athletic scholarships. At the same time, those schools worked with the student athlete to find other money to help ease the burden on the parents.

Interesting comment about HOPE helping with student athletes in GA. I’ve heard other SEC schools ‘complain’ that HOPE provides a financial and recruiting advantage to UGA when the recruits are from GA and HOPE eligible.

1bighammer

May 10th, 2013
7:35 am

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