At the Final Four and the Patterson Park Lacrosse Classic

By Darla Burns

Captain's Log: Day 47… we haven't seen a full day of sunshine since March 3rd. I am planning on building a boat to protect me from drowning and I plan to name it the most beautiful name in the world- Noah's SpArk. It's probably gonna be fairly small so my comrades are only allowed to bring two items. I have decided to go with Fleetwood Mac's Greatest Hits and my cell since direct connect is now coast to coast. The only thing this rain has done for me is test my sense of humor and long for the Big Island. I did catch up, however, on all the Curb Your Enthusiasm episodes I missed thanks to a marathon on HBO that forced me indoors for hours. On top of this, half of our games as well as several trips to the beach house were cancelled, and I don't think I have ever seen so many worms in my life. With all this you'd think I'd go crazy like the time I did when AC Slater and Jessie broke up, the first time around on Saved By the Bell, a close second to my reaction to the unexpected discontinuation of the G&S band.



In search of...

This rain of course carried throughout the Final Four and I know most of you readers were here in B-more to experience it for yourself. By Monday, Memorial Day, M&T carried the most appalling smell. You know what I am talking about. BUT! Attendance at the Final Four did set a number of records in attendance despite all the rain so we've got that going for us-which is nice. So on the first day of the tournament, we started at the e-lacrosse/rocket pocket tent. Matt Peterson made sure their portion of the tailgate was fully stocked with your typical "Tailgate Toxins". But the ultimate standout was an ode to Baltimore's finest Cervesas Maximus por la 24 de Mayo-National Bohemian. During all the excitement, I realized I consumed a lot of liquid and requested the presence of a port-a-pot. We saw one yonder but the UVA tailgators told us to pop off.



Courtney Stringer and Sparky buying cheap harware

However, my innovative intuition saw an inviting spot between a dumpster and an RV. With Courtney "Bling-Bling" Stringer and Amanda Majerkski, the tall cats of the enterage to block me, it looked as though I might pull this off. However, I don't know if it was stage fright or couth that got the better of me, but we decided this couldn't be the only way. So we went to a hardware store and bought this random item you see below so that we were considered a paying customer in hopes to persuade the owner to let us go. So I says hey Lama, how bout a little something for the effort? With that, we were guided to the bathroom.



Off to the next party...

Making our way to the Lax World and Crease Monkeys tents was a pleasant journey through the rain. My tan clam diggers which stylish ladies of the now like to call "Capris" were on their way to being polka dotted brown. Then we stood in the rain for what seemed like an eternity because a train decided to come by about every half an hour going at a rate of negative 5 mph. I thought I was being "Punked", but I didn't see Kelso anywhere in sight. When it did pass we were greeted with port-a-pots. The clouds opened up, the sun shone in and a large invisible chorus in the background sang "Hallellujah". The day got better after Tori Abbott showed up. Ask her to perform her world-class turkey calls. It's swell. She's a fellow snowboarder and partner in crime for country music concerts who occasionally likes to hunt. Sorry guys, she's spoken for. The Maax Men set up an adult beverage form of ping-pong or Beirut, if you will, and dogs were at a free for all. Thanks for my fabulous belt, Grant!



Crystal, Kim, Amanda and Tori plead attempt a getaway on Zed's Chopper

It seemed like it was all fun and games until someone arrived with what you might call a Great Dane, but I call a horse. For some reason I looked like raw meat to this monster and he picked me out of the crowd to chase, then DDT. I had to seek solace in a random RV but made a great escape when the ol dane was on his merry. I don't mess around with animals that are twice my size unless he is Italian and from New York. Anyway it was a mess. Families and their kids were havin a grand ol time watching little Sparky almost get taken out by a mutated dog. I'm just glad I could live to tell the story, and I will be in attendance at the next Final Four for your laughing pleasure. It's for the kids. Speaking of kids…





The Crease monkeys' party site was pretty cool 'cause it was off a little from the hoopla enough to get a little rowdy in private. I played nerf tee ball with a potential ambidextrous tike lacrosse player who thought it would be fun to add to my humility by taking the bat to my bum with his left side. Simmer down now, Shorty. That was my cue. I two way-ed one of my Burg alumni to see if the coast was Great Dane clear back between maax and lax world. I was given the go-ahead and Courtney and I ventured back over to snag a chair and Bloody M's and a side of olives. We were the cats by the bar toastin to the good life.





Throughout the day comes and goers were at a high turnover rate, but there was a good 10 of us that stuck around for hours. It was nice to see those I met while at Mardi Gras and Hawaii and look forward to seeing those again. Blair Allison and Sasha Dansky ventured all the way from San Francisco while Tyler Kreitz and PJ Rosecranz requested the scores of all the games from Newport Beach. They said they wished they were here, and I said, no you don't, then they said, yeah you're right. C'mon, Newport Beach? Tough Life…





Then six o'clock rolled around. Tim Albert, I am amazed you survived the day and night, cause you were out of your element, Donny! Everyone was in good spirits under the Lax World tent. Pal Dan Galvagno and I were laughin it up listening to Joe Driscoll break hearts with his whimsical one-liners used on the ladies. Darcangelo's sausages were the bomb, (sometimes I put mustard on it) and Mr. Bailey's alma mater, Johns Hopkins, pulled a come from behind victory against Syracuse, and it was around that time that the clouds parted and there even came a hint of sun.







Fun w/ the Crease Monkeys

In case you didn't notice, the reason this article is a little delayed is because I wanted to squeeze in a bit of the Patterson Park Tournament since it's new in the tournament circuit and ya'll can think about coming for next year.



Charm City Lacrosse Classic-July 12-13th


After all the red tape was cleared (the tournament had an original date but was washed out and postponed), avid players made it happen. It turned out to be an awesome weekend. I may be a little biased because it took place in my hometown of Baltimore, a bit convenient, but I think others will agree. In the heart of the eastside, specifically Canton a great turnout emerged as well as tags from out of state mainly the Empire one. So there were about 20 men's elite teams, 4 women's elite, masters, and grandmasters featuring our favorite Touch of Grey, Court's pop's team. I can also tell you that in the years to come it will be an even bigger success. The weather couldn't be more perfect and I discovered a new love: Mother's Chicken cheesesteaks, oy vay, they're to die for! The beer garden and DJ were ripe, conveniently located right next to our field, in the cusp of the matches and it was perfect! Some say it couldn't be done, but I was able to bust a move and play lacrosse at the same time and I've got real time footage to prove it.





The first day consisted of round robins and single/double elimination rounds that produced a familiar atmosphere of faces. I gotta tell ya, I was feeling unusually up to par, maybe birdie, for being out of sprinting shape. It wasn't right, like it was too good to be true. My rare on-point Phife intuition proved true the next day after Saturday night's beating on my body. Actually, we did start a little early during the day. Hey you try remaining sober after seeing Kislings/Bacharach player Josh Hahn streak the fields. Word on the streets is that he did it for a measly dollar. I would've given him a gang of money to stop. Just kidding, Josh, way to give 'em something to talk about. Once everyone finished up games on Saturday the regular Baltimore locals went to Kislings for their nationally notorious wings and a quick shutout foosball round against Alfonzo and Andy of Swamp Dogs. This isn't anything new. We usually whip 'em on Sundays during the regular season, and they'll tell you that, too. Then we hit the Gin Mill after everyone hit the showers and put on their car-bomb face. I don't know what it is with the Swamp Dogs, but they always come to play with their livers on deck.





Guess who had games at 9:30 a.m. the next day? All the ladies, the ladies! While playing Mother's it got ugly, to the point where ya just had to laugh. It was like a dream where you can't run fast at all or when you throw a punch, it's hardly packed. I passed (more like lobbed) the ball to teammate Jen Ice clocking in at 2 miles an hour and landing two feet in front of me. In the time it took to get there, I could have crab walked to Sharkey's, drank a Nati Boh and been back in time for the ball to land. Here's the funny part: The energy it took to get it there, mustered a grunt that can be compared to a one Monica Seles and lately repeat Wimbledon champ, Serena Williams. As if that wasn't enough, the Burns-Ice connection was again extinguished after I almost took out her left eye by firing a shot. Needless to say, Ice suffered from third degree windburn on the side of her face and the shot went into the Lumberyard. But, hey, doesn't it make for a great story, Ice? Like that time at OC last year when you thought you had the ball in your stick and you took it from one side of the field to the other, empty handed? Happens to the best of us. Good times.





Bottom line, it was a great time. I had to bolt though when Jen Ice (I guess she was trying to get me back-touché) convinced Mother's that instead of playing another game, we should just play flip cup. Mind you, it's Sunday and even I gotta pull out the stops. Doesn't anyone have to work on Monday!?! E-Lacrosse put up a good fight but in the end, it would be Crease Monkeys of Harford County that would pull in the initial victory of the first ever Charm City Lacrosse Classic. Well I guess then, I'll dedicate this article to all the lax players who are teachers, for everyday is Saturday in the summertime.





Before I cut out, whoever's going to Placid and Bump n' Grind, make sure you think of me, work conflictions deem it impossible for me to get there (sorry, Bo!). However, we will head to the Ocean for the O.C. Classic in August. Let's make up for it so I have something to write about! Who's comin' with me?

In the immortal words of Dave Drab,

See ya down the Ocean, hon!
                                                                 Sparky





PREVIOUS SPARKPLUG COLUMNS:

Sparky Storms into Jersey
Sparky @ Mardi Gras
Sparky in Philly