Monday, May 27, 2013

College Lacrosse: Duke Takes Second Title in Four Years

After falling behind 5-0, Duke convincingly won its second title (Photo / dukechronicle.com)

The full version of this article appears in today's Baltimore Post-Examiner

Duke won their second national title in men's lacrosse in just four years, with faceoff specialist Brendan Fowler paving the way. Fowler won 20-28 draws to lead the Blue Devils past the Syracuse Orangemen, 16-10, in Philadelphia. 

Friday, May 24, 2013

College Lacrosse: New York vs. Maryland, the Debate Continued

Denver vies to break the Eastern lock on lacrosse (Photo / denverpioneers.com)

While the presence of Bill Tierney's Denver Pioneers in this weekend's NCAA lacrosse Final Four is continued evidence of the sport's westward drift, its power base remains squarely anchored in two Eastern states: New York and Maryland. If Cornell and Syracuse advance to Monday's final (Duke rounds out the Final Four), New York would prove itself the Empire State of the college lacrosse world. At least this year.

Of the past ten NCAA I lacrosse titles, three have gone to one New York team, Syracuse. In the same period, a combined three crowns have been handed to two Maryland teams: last year's champion Loyola and two to Johns Hopkins (2005, 2007). If you add bridesmaids to the mix, Maryland has the momentary advantage; in seven of the past ten championship games the state has had a representative in the final. Last year it had two, as Loyola beat in-state rival Maryland for the crown. New York has sent four teams to the title game.

The difference, then, is in the rosters. Cornell's draws 46% of its players from its home state, while Syracuse draws just over 50% of its roster from New York. A Syracuse-Cornell final would have just under half the field (49%) hailing from the state. In comparison, last year's Loyola-Maryland final had 36% of the players from the Free State, despite the Terps' place as the state's public university representative.

If both Cornell and Syracuse bow out in the semis? No contest. A Duke-Denver final would include 17 New Yorkers and just eight Marylanders.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

College Lacrosse: Yale, Almost

Yale huddles prior to their game against Syracuse (Photo T. Flynn)

The full version of this article appears in today's Baltimore Post-Examiner

On Memorial Day weekend, Philadelphia will host college lacrosse's semifinal and championship games. This weekend two of the four Division I men's quarterfinals leading to Philadelphia were held in College Park, Maryland. 

Boxerjournal.com's Tom Flynn traveled to the Yale vs. Syracuse game that proved one of the most memorable of the 2013 campaign. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Books: A World Away From the Great Gatsby

Venable Park (Mill City Press)

Although not a sports book per se, three years ago this fall I wrote Venable Park, a novel set in 1920's Baltimore on the grounds of a football stadium. With the release of another film take on F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, set in the same era, I wanted to make a brief mention of the former.

Its main character is Henry Dawson, like Gatsby a WW I veteran. They inhabit entirely different worlds, as Jay Gatsby lives a post-war life on Long Island far removed from the grime and danger that define that of Dawson's Baltimore. With the passage of time the influence of Fitzgerald's masterpiece has fittingly grown, and with it the 1920's reputation as an era of gilded opulence.

There is much truth in Fitzgerald's depiction of the time; the stock market boomed until October 1929, and the jazz heyday that blossomed in the 1,000s of speakeasies and openly defied Prohibition was in no small way a cultural revolution in America. Henry Ford's production methods continued to make "motor cars" an ever more affordable luxury.

But increasingly lost in the fine print of the decade is the hardship that existed for the vast majority of Americans. Social Security and the first strands of the social safety net that began with FDR's Depression-battling initiatives did not exist. Loss of a job, and one's livelihood, often resulted in a short road to poverty and despair.

Venable Park looks at that ever-diminishing reality of the 1920's. Henry Dawson works both at a steel mill and in constructing a football stadium on the grounds of the book's title. As Fitzgerald's Gatsby dabbled in the stock market,most of the country, like Dawson, dabbled in the toil behind the stocks. - TF

Another Western State Adds Varsity Lacrosse

For several years I've contributed lacrosse articles to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).  This week I w...