Show Us Your Sticks!

By Darla Burns

Mucho gusto me llama Sparky... Just the other day I was relishing in a peanut butter chunk and marshmallow fluff sandwich on an open faced ciabatta roll while drinking coca-cola in crushed ice, and I thought, "Gee, it doesn't get any better than this." Enter Mardi Gras Lacrosse 2003...








DAY ˝: Our flight was an evening one so Team Uninhibited could squeeze in another day of work before heading out to the Big Easy. Around 10 pm we arrived in Nawleans and threw on our Sunday Best to check out the scene. Straight to Pat O'Briens was the destination of choice, where we met up with Monkeys players and fellow Balti-morons Joe High and Mark Breier. The most anticipated Monkey by Sparky to show up was Tyler Kreitz, West Coast Monkey and Usual Suspect player who double downed the second he arrived. P.S. I want to thank Antoinette, the bathroom lady, who taught me how to be hard when someone tries to bust a cap on me down at the Bayou. Afterwards, we headed straight to the Cat's Meow, which is a really cool bar on the corner of Bourbon Street and something else. It has karaoke there but the kicker is that you get on stage and play faux instruments. So instead of pretending like you're a rock star in front of your mirror with your bristle brush from Conair, you can bring it to life in front of everyone! Of course no karaoke bar would be complete without Crease Monkeys, so I recruited Blair Allison to sing with me onstage. Unfortunately they didn't have Run DMC's You Talk too Much (by the way they had me in mind while recording this one) so I chose Baby Got Back but Blair was like "oh no you di-int". Being the team player I am, I opted for his choice of Play that Funky Music, White Boy, which went over well with the crowd. Prior to us hitting the stage, Amy Weinstein of NYAC broke many hearts in the audience by singing Guns N' Roses. Two days later, she would go back for her encore by doing the worm onstage. You crazy Cat! After that, I decided I ran out of fuel and had to turn in.








DAY 1 ˝: All in all, I stayed out til 4 am only to sleep on the floor cause there were about thirty people staying with us. The guys from Malstrom stayed next door, but by the end of the Tournament, they officially joined the sleepover party. Hey, it wouldn't be Mardi Gras if it were proper. So, on 4 hours of sleep, you can understand how thrilled I was to have all of our games cancelled the next day (anyone picking up the pattern here?) due to a torrential downpour. However, it wouldn't be a story without some conflicting turn of events. So what do you do when it's raining in Bourbon Street, and you ain't got no car? Well I can think of at least one thing-play "whose Bloody Mary is the best on Bourbon". Team Ponchos (including the likes of Annie Sappington, Amy Basarab, Carolyn Murray, and Kim McQueeney) escaped the rain by marinating our taste buds at Cafe Royal who is the MVB of the tournament. It included a pickled string bean with olives and a splash of "holla!" to boot. The trophy for the MVB (Most Valuable Bloody) included an all expenses paid one way ticket for this concoction straight to my mouth.




Sparky with Team Wetpants "It doesn't get any better than this"



Before we made our 1/2 mile hike to Bourbon Street every night, we always stopped in the gift shop for an adult beverage. Did you read what I said? The gift shop in the hotel sells adult beverages across from the prophylactic machine. This place is nuts. I like it. That night we headed to the Bourbon Street Blues Company and Cat's Meow to meet up with a bunch of tournament goers. On our way, we escaped a plethora of Cadillac escalades with chromed out noses sittin on 24's listening to 50 Cent, which, in my book has officially been put to bed. It was crazy whack crowded, so I crease rolled around the couple who were in dire need of a room (it wasn't pretty, either; I mean they went together like Mardi Gras and white pants). I then set up a blind pick for Carolyn and we headed straight to the bar in the back for our own little party where we entertained ourselves with the under priced hurricanes. I noticed Weinstein was in a bit of trouble too, so I set up a screen for her and Bentley til we knew we were in the red zone. The Six Tribes Award for Most Hedonistic Player (use your computer dictionary) for Friday night went to Tyler Kreitz for his entertaining antics as well as clothing attire and afro wig in full effect. Call me crazy, but I think he's the mole. For the Crease Monkeys picture play by play, go to www.creasemonkeys.com.




Harry & Carolyn critique the dancing



DAY 2 ˝: So we squeezed in 3 games today and won all three. Quick note: Nikki Jones! It was great to play with you again. I missed the old travel days in high school... The first game was a soccer score being 3-2 against a well rounded Gotham team from NY and F & M's very own Kim Kelly... Looks like our defense went to bed early last night while the offense did not. I will take full responsibility because I choked for the first five minutes while jamming everyone in the chest. Everyone say hello to Darla, she's new. Coach Ensor, the DJ on the ones and the twos, if you will, gave me a pep talk and it was then that I felt the need- the need for speed.




Sparky in action



I turned on the wheels of steel in the second half and we bounced back and I was once again introduced to earth. You're in my world now. See the nametag? The second game was against an up and coming Iron Maidens high school team from Texas. Despite their loss they showed a lot of heart. So much so that I almost started chanting RUDY! RUDY! The Maidens were hoping we would all be hung-over, which I will not argue that some were, but little do they know, going to Frostburg State, this the is the only way I know how to play. And here I thought their coaches were being nice when they offered to buy us drinks. Be careful what you wish for... Anyway, I believe it was #14 (great number by the way) who asked me how I got the draw controls- I have a feeling I will be taking lessons from her very soon.




Joe High on his last leg



After a 7-2 win over the Maidens, we played Wisconsin which was about the same time Carolyn decided to join us. Unfortunately she was robbed and her cab driver couldn't find the fields to save his life. After picking her up from an undisclosed hotel that rhymes with "Spandrew Hackson", and sayonara-ing the cab driver by saying "thanks a lot you %$#&!" Carolyn came to play. Anyway, end result- we beat Wisconsin- O'Doyle rules. Cheers to Hannah, sorry we never got the chance to trade articles of clothing. Next time? After the three games we headed to the beer truck where they served $5 all you can drink Coors Light and my Nana and Poppy hung out for a while. They drove all the way from Lake Charles, LA to see their granddaughter play. Not only did they like it, my Poppy kept score of all the games. A tear drops from my eye. After the family left, I hung out with Bo and the rest of Team Wetpants representing Lacrossewear who ended up killing my abs from laughing so hard from all the SNL skits being recycled. They also hooked me up with a snazzy visor, which I wore backwards and upside down, just to represent all my homies in Oaktown. Jeff White from Houston Lacrosse presented me with my very own Lacrossewear #24 Team Septic Tank, "you pump we dump" jersey. Thank you. Every time I drive by a landfill, I will think of you. Lastly, thanks to the Usual Suspects for my get-up. Keep 'em comin, folks…




Carolyn Murray and Tyler Kreitz



So tonight was the official Tournament Party in which we had a kick-A view from the balcony and I scored many a bead. Don't worry, I didn't show my goods, or lack there of, cause I didn't wanna scare anybody. Again it was super crowded, so Jeff White helped me escape the madness by showing me the local scene. Way back among the woods and the evergreens sits a small piano bar (think cellar) called The John Lafete's Blacksmith Shoppe. My tour guide informed me that this is known as the oldest bar in the country! I believe it. Inside this ancient dwelling, you find dim lighting and a Miles Davis sound alike piano player with a microphone. After a few renditions of Sittin on the Dock of the Bay and Jeremiah was a Bullfrog, Uncle Jeff introduced me to a whole new world, namely Harrah's Casino. Thanks to him, I came out a large and in charge winner and so did he. I tried to pull Austin Power's "I'll Stay. I too like to live dangerously", on the dealer at Black Jack, but it didn't go over too well with her. Where's the sense of humor? My Six Tribes MHP of the evening goes to Uncle Jeff for being dangerously knowledgeable of New Orleans. You hedonistic laxer, you.




Betty Boop needed a beverage



DAY 3 ˝: The Championship round of this tournament included The Monkeyettes or NYAC and my team, Hero's. I'd like to say we schooled them, we were officially Team "Thought You Knew", I won MVP and while Hero's took turns cutting the net with scissors, One Shining Moment played in the background and confetti covered the fields. But here's what really happened: it was a close game in which NYAC came out on top by two goals and it was a devastating upset. The most important thing after all is that we make the fans happy and I still have one more night to hang with Weinstein. Long Island matched up with Crease Monkeys on the men's side but weren't able to hold on in the end. The Monkeys would threepeat reminding me of UCLA Bruins basketball of the eighties and their hot streak.




Sparky with Amy Weinstein



All competition aside, we joined the two victorious teams for the last supper at the ACME Oyster Bar which is a close second to Baltimore's Cross Street Market and the green hatted shucker name John. Still, it was good food and good company. After ACME, we went to Utopia (think Baja Beach Club-very classy) where we cut rugs all night while taking turns dancing in the gargantuan birdcage. Weinstein is our MHP for tonight because she was able to pull off a split in the cage. I attempted, but it started to hurt when my legs were at a 30-degree angle. Can you guess who doesn't do Pilates? However, she is tied with PJ Rosecranz (Nazareth) who had all the ladies literally fighting over him to the point of near blows. Play on, playa. Carolyn and I spent half the night in the bathroom break-dance fighting, in which I discovered she was green to the scene because she actually hit me. Thank goodness my head broke the fall. I thought I was down for the count. Her resume for Break-dance fighting only included Zoolander. I had the one up though cause I got Breakin 1 and 2 Electric Boogaloo under my belt. After we exited the lavatory, we were just in time to watch a booty-shaking contest in which I refrained because it was too minor league for what my mama gave me. Since I didn't wanna embarass anyone, me, my badonkadonk, and JD Jones decided to kick it on the dance floor instead.




McQueeney, despite all her rage, is still just a laxrat in a cage.



DAY 41/2: We decided to hit up crawfish and everything spicy one more time. Three packs of tums and 9 big reds later, we went to Mike Anderson's where I needed to compare New Orleans aphrodisiacs to Cross Street Market's. It was close even down to the shuckers. At the risk of being biased though, I got nothin but love for Cross Street. Because I felt immortal with money, I wanted to relive my Uncle Jeff experience by taking the girls back to Harrah's to prove to them how much we could win. Carolyn played one round of blackjack and threw in the towel. We would not see her for two hours. Kimmie, being new to blackjack, seemed to get her signals crossed and ended up hitting on every 20 and staying on threes. It was tough to watch. Just so this doesn't happen to you, when you tap the table that means hit, when you move your hand from left to right as if to signal "no" that means stay. Not vice versa! Finally when I was down to my last few bucks (Uncle Jeff, I guess you were my good luck charm) we decided to find Carolyn. I was easily sidetracked by the slots that kept calling my name and went to town. When I went to cash in my $7.95, I finally saw Carolyn and Kim who both looked disheveled. Apparently Kim thought it would be funny to yell in the middle of the casino "Carolyn's cheating!" Carolyn, holding a bucket of nickels, was pretty sure she was about to be taken in the back room only to introduce her fingers to a baseball bat and three guys named Paulie, Rocco, and Vinnie. This would be the end of our visit to Harrah's (but not for long since I now have my own card and it's a chain. Atlantic City, baby!)








Day 5: The Final Countdown The flight didn't leave until 6pm so we decided to venture through Bourbon Street to see what it looked like during the day. Carolyn mentioned she wanted to bring home some hurricane mix from Pat O'B's so we stopped there first. Six hours and a combined triple double of hurricanes later, we discovered a better way to kill time til our flight. If it weren't for the pockets of Mike Baker, Kevin Block and Shane Fukushima of the Texarkana Men's Ice Hockey Team, we would be broke. Thanks for the best day we had there, wish we could've stayed! Road trip?






2003 Mardis Gras Champs NYAC and the Crease Monkeys



Thanks to all those who made it fun, especially the Lemmons and everyone else who ran the tournament. I gotta tell ya, it's up there with Hawaii, two very enthusiastic thumbs up! If you weren't there, you missed out big time. Be back next time as I take you to the Meadowlands for the Jersey Storm-Ottawa Rebels game. By then I should know the next Tournament I plan on wreaking havoc on. However I do know this much: my parents will be joining us at the Vegas Tournament, so I'll try my best to keep it clean.... nah! Good Luck to my partner in crime Courtney Stringer and the Dogs of UMBC!

With support for Mayor O'Malley for President in '04,

                                                              Sparky




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March 15, 2003








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