Life After 360Lacrosse.com
Michael Spinner Joins E-Lacrosse
Michael Spinner is the most recent addition to the e-lacrosse.com staff of columnists. His name and column, "The Latest Spin" are no stranger to the lacrosse community. Spinner, a 1999 graduate of Pace University where he was a goalie and Editor of the Campus Newspaper, spent two years as the Managing Editor of 360Lacrosse.com after three years as the Division II Editor of Inside Lacrosse and is currently a Staff Reporter for Lacrosse Magazine. He is also currently the Head Girls' Varsity Lacrosse Coach at Greenwich High School in Connecticut and the Assistant Men's Lacrosse Coach at Manhattanville College after stints on the sidelines at Quinnipiac, Fairfield, and Salisbury State. Spinner's column and articles will be appearing regularly on e-lacrosse.com. We've always read "The Latest Spin" and can't say we've always agreed with Michael. And we can't say we will in the future. We're very happy to add "The Latest Spin" to our pages and Michael Spinner to our E-Lacrosse staff! -John Weaver
By Michael Spinner
Just when I thought I was out…they pull me back in! Is lacrosse media in any way like life in the mafia? Maybe not. But can it be a risky field? Absolutely.
It's been a year and a half since "The Latest Spin" began publication, the brain-child of a long frustrated reader of the opinions of people who all had the same thing to say. "The Latest Spin" is not a constant reiteration of praise for the current state of affairs in the lacrosse world. Nor is it expert testimony on how to gain the edge and become the next World Teamer. It is simply the collected thoughts of a person who lives in lacrosse and loves the sport but feels there is much to be done to make it bigger and better by telling it like he sees it. You're not going to read a weekly installment of "rah-rah lacrosse." There will be a lot of praise here but a lot of analysis, as well. What I won't do, what I have never done, is to sell out and make it seem like everything is always right in our little world.
When you tell it like you see it, you generate controversy and I have been no stranger to controversy since "The Latest Spin" began. One of my first columns was to point out how the expansion of the surface area of a new goalie stick was to change the way the game is played and set a dangerous precedent in equipment innovation. I accused the lacrosse equipment manufacturers of dominating the sport and I drew a lot of fire…but to this day people tell me they agree!
A few weeks later, printing inside information that a member of a prominent lacrosse program could be suspended for the upcoming big game after an arrest sommonned the wrath of powers on high. A follow-up column defending the right of the lax-journalism community to report such lacrosse relevant news drew major fire, as well.
I am. obviously, not afraid to write my opinion and put my name on it. Unlike some of the web-board junkies, who's lives seem to revolve around putting down others anonymously, my name will always appear on my column and I will always back up what I say. I will always accept, and even print, non-vulgar criticism and respect those who disagree with me. I will never sell out and write what will be popular for fear of criticism.
It's funny how our sport works. When I wrote a column after watching Yale play Penn early in the season discussing how great the Bulldogs looked, I drew praise when Yale stunned Princeton a few weeks later to break Princeton's Ivy League winning streak. But a little while later, when Hofstra was shafted from the NCAA Tournament and I stated that the winner on Memorial Day may not, in fact, be a National Champion since the best teams in the Nation were not participating, people said I don't know what I am talking about. So which one is it?
In the end, I love this job, I love this sport, and I am extremely excited about this new opportunity. I've known John Weaver at e-lacrosse for some time now and when I decided to continue in this field after 360Lacrosse.com came to an abrupt end, I knew I wanted to be a part of something grassroots that did things for the love of the sport above all. John started e-lacrosse on his own, certainly felt the crunch of trying to make it in this sport, and has provided a valuable service to our community.
Speaking of 360Lacrosse.com, there have been a lot of questions as to what happened to our popular website. What I will say is that 360 may not be over and done with, but for the moment it was just impossible to continue.
360Lacrosse.com was the off-spring of "College Lacrosse USA"-the first major lacrosse web-site to hit the market. The popularity of CLUSA grew to the point where Street and Smith's Publishing, under the leadership of former Duke All-American goalie Joe Kirmser, bought CLUSA late in 1999. I had been writing for Inside Lacrosse for a while, primarily as Division II Editor, and when Joe and his Managing Editor, Jeremy Bryant, approached me at the Lacrosse Convention in 2000 about the opportunity to cover the bigger events, I knew I had an opportunity.
College Lacrosse USA functioned for nearly a year and did a wonderful job. However, its name implied a very narrow focus and a new site was desired that sought to cover the entire lacrosse community. In January of 2001, 360Lacrosse.com was launched as a new and creative way to view the happenings of the sport. Being a part of the new site was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life and our popularity soared. I was named Associate Editor and "The Latest Spin" was born. There was even consideration of working for 360 full-time.
Last summer, Joe Kirmser took a different position with the Company in order to move to Massachusetts to be closer to his family. Jeremy Bryant was promoted to Publisher and Editor in Chief and I moved to Managing Editor. We had a lot of plans and an incredible vision of where the site should go and it truly seemed like we were on to something special. Besides an editorial staff that had played and coached lacrosse at the college level, we had a phenomenal web designer and a marketing staff who all had lacrosse roots. The plans were just awesome.
Just when it seemed like 360 was really going to make it big, the economy caught up to us and Street and Smiths basically eliminated its entire web division. This change literally happened overnight, and a lot of us were stunned by the development. At that point, it appeared that 360 was finished, but thanks to Jeremy Bryant and several other partners, the site was taken over independently. We did everything we could to make it work.
The 2002 season was difficult to say the least. I was a Managing Editor who was also teaching High School History and Coaching, and without a full-time person to run the site, sell advertising, and pay attention to all of the other happenings in the lacrosse world, we barely kept the thing afloat-let alone operate a business. Websites are difficult to operate for profit. You need to pay for content, advertising, a server, etc., and add to the mix that in the lacrosse world, on-line advertising is not exactly something everybody is jumping to do. This business isn't easy.
On Memorial Day 2002, we decided to pull the plug. We just couldn't make it happen anymore.
DID YOU SEE THOSE JERSEYS?
In my opinion, 360 is not finished permanently. The door is open for a return. The people, particularly Jeremy Bryant, are just phenomenal. If 360 does return it will be in a first-class way. But at the same time, it was time for me to move on. I wanted to continue writing and making my opinion count. I'm excited about the new chapter of my life and a career at e-lacrosse. I'm looking forward to many editions of "The Latest Spin" to generate excitement and controversy in our community once again.
They're sporting the new REBEL/STX Uniforms!
June 18, 2002