#Lacrosse is Trending: Social Media Effect on the Sport

Originally published in the October 2014 edition of Lacrosse Magazine:

On a drizzly Thursday evening in late May in Washington, D.C., two men stood side-by-side inside the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian, relatively invisible to the cocktail party crowd around them at a pre-Tewaaraton Award ceremony. But if those lacrosse enthusiasts, friends and family just a shoulder-length away knew what social media account access was in a pair of pants pockets nearby, it’s easy to imagine people would have lined up for any number of requests. Just like the kids and fans asking for autographs with the five men’s and five women’s Tewaaraton finalists.

Albany assistant coach Eric Wolf’s smartphone is notified of any mention of the Great Danes men’s lacrosse team on Twitter. And with Lyle and Miles Thompson both finalists for college lacrosse’s highest individual honor, he said “it’s getting crazy,” as anticipation built for the ceremony that eventually crowned the first-ever co-Tewaaraton winners in the form of the two brothers.

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For Thompsons, It’s Faith, Family and Lacrosse

It seems appropriate to start this story about Lyle Thompson with him at a dinner table surrounded by family.

So there was Lacrosse Magazine’s 2014 Preseason Player of the Year and Tewaaraton Award front-runner, on a mid-November Monday night, sitting at a circular, eight-person banquet hall table at a charity event in Latham, N.Y., a short drive north of Albany. In his arms, the college junior held his 7-month-old daughter, Mercy. She stood on his lap and they looked at each other face-to-face. To their right sat Thompson’s 2-year-old daughter, Layielle, eating chicken wings handed to her by Thompson’s older brother, Miles. You know Miles, the one who runs alongside Lyle the best attack line in college lacrosse right now and maybe ever.

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Great Day to be a Tar Heel

Originally appeared in the July/August 2016 issue of Lacrosse Magazine

The ghosts of North Carolina teams of the past quarter century — the talk of not winning the big game and why — were nowhere to be found at 4:35 p.m. on Memorial Day Monday in the visiting locker room at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. Joe Breschi’s last dab, the Cam Newton-inspired dance that made the Tar Heels’ coach Internet famous a week earlier after the program broke a 23-year final four drought, brushed those bad vibes out for another generation.

“Dad’s like the dab guy now,” Breschi’s wife, Judy, said, standing nearby, with three of the couple’s four daughters in toe. They had all just spent time celebrating on the field of the NFL’s Eagles. “I cried … and I cried again,” 10-year-old Lucy said in a stream of consciousness to no one in particular.

Beneath the south end zone seats, a party raged. Most of the 46 members of the 2016 edition of the Tar Heels gathered in the center of the long room, doing a dance of their own, gyrating in unison to house music that would make most DJs proud. Equipment, sweaty white-and-Carolina blue jerseys and other garments were scattered about, soaked by the perspiration of North Carolina’s epic 14-13 overtime win against top-seeded Maryland in an instant classic title game.

“We just won the national championship!” Breschi said, as if he couldn’t believe it.

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Lasting Impact

“I’m 28 years old, and I’m worried about long-term brain issues.”

Those were the words from former Duke All-American midfielder and current Bryant assistant Brad Ross over the phone as he told the story of a post-concussion condition that has plagued him for more than three years.

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Ravens Beat Up Big Ben, Steelers

Originally appeared in Newsday (N.Y.) and on Newsday.com

BALTIMORE — The greeting Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin provided to his silent Steeler players as they entered the post-game locker room was indicative of just how dominant the Ravens were yesterday.

“Take it like a champ. Swallow it whole,” Tomlin said in the hallway, shaking players’ hands as they walked past. “Chew on it.”

The Ravens outplayed their division rivals and the reigning AFC champions in a season-opening 35-7 win at M&T Bank Stadium. Baltimore’s traditionally strong defense forced as many turnovers — seven, a franchise-record — as the Steelers had points.

Read the full story here.

Following the print and web coverage of the game, I was asked to join WNST radio in Baltimore to talk about it.

Showalter, pitching have O’s off to fast start

Originally published in Newsday (N.Y.):

BALTIMORE — On the back of the famous red brick B&O Warehouse beyond rightfield at Camden Yards, a large poster of Orioles manager Buck Showalter hangs, greeting fans outside the stadium. Showalter is shown from the waist up in uniform on a mock baseball card; his left hand is extended and he is pointing with his index finger, looking much like Uncle Sam. Below Showalter’s likeness are the words: Are You Ready?

What to be ready for is left open-ended. That’s the idea.

It’s still very early in the season, but the Orioles have a 6-3 record, good for as many wins as they had last season on the first of May, when they were 6-18. They are 40-26 since hiring former Yankees manager Showalter last Aug. 3 to take over for interim manager Juan Samuel. That’s the best record of any American League team since then. They begin a three-game series at Yankee Stadium Tuesday in first place in the AL East, a game ahead of the Yankees.

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Brentwood stunned in Class AA state final

Originally published in Newsday (N.Y.):

ONEONTA, N.Y. — This was a sound rarely heard at the end of Brentwood boys soccer games: silence.

The drums rocked and cowbells clanged during yesterday’s Class AA state final when the Indians went ahead early and even when they fell behind late. But after the 2-1 loss to Newburgh Free Academy, Brentwood’s shocked players stood quietly, not sure what to make of the end of the season.

Family members and friends walked from across the field to clap and encourage. Coach Ron Eden repeated, “Keep your heads up,” but the players were in no mood.

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