Final Four Sparky     or      I'll Show You Charm!

By Darla Burns

If I were a boxer, I too would come out to the music of Cypress Hill like that brilliant but bankrupt guy who decided to get tattoos on his face. Because when we hit up the town, it's always time for some action. The whole championship weekend in Baltimore was eventful enough, but following it up with the Charm City Classic made B-More the place to be in early summer!

First, big ups to ME for making a friend's wedding in the county which was 45 minutes away and back during that time on championship Saturday between parties. You may call that time "the games".





When I approached the Under Armour tent, I was blown away by the huge archway. Some of the parking lots at the games are rented out by companies in lacrosse and big parties are hosted for their customers and friends. This year the "UA Café" was simply incomparable. Call me bias or what you will (you do anyway), but it was. Our neighbor Lax World was a close but still jealous second. Just kidding. LW boss Jerry Scott gave me the tour of their hot spot. Jimmy Darcangelo was slinging burgers and talking to STX's Dale Kohler and other unquotable lax notables. There was the bar on wheels! This is the greatest invention next to the miracle bra and baked ziti. The day featured flawless weather, great lacrosse and perfect company but the mobile bar was a memory I'll cherish.





The Under Armour digs were decked out with a pool table, foosball table, basketball nets like the kind you see at Chuck-E-Cheese and a plasma screen to watch all the games on. Fun for the whole fam. And there many were happy kids everywhere, until Amanda Moculski and I whupped up on them in front of their parents at like every game there! I don't discriminate against age. It was all good though. Their consolation prizes were a few UA wristbands and time spent with me, which, let's not kid ourselves, is priceless.





I was pulling for "the Hop", since I am a Baltimore native, hon. They lost a runaway heartbreaker to Syracuse and I had a rush of dejá vu. Did anyone else? So the only local team left to support was Navy and not being one that is heartbroken for too long, I shifted loyalties immediately. I wanted them to win SO BAD, but to my dismay, after an impressive rally in front of more fans than last year, they lost to the 'Cuse. But for at least Saturday night and what I can remember of Sunday I was a Navy fanatic, full of optimism.





I scooped up Court after the games on Saturday and we went to Mad River. My "entourage" should have a lifetime pass to Mad River. They basically live there. Matty Alexander was there and dapper in his "Salmon" colored shirt. Aime Cannes had traveled from Canada to partake. I hate waiting in lines so we high tailed it to Mother's. I tried to persuade Court into going to Kisling's, cuz everybody knows, Sparky likey wingey. But, it was a no-go and late night binging at Maria D's would suffice. After that it was off to bed for this cat, because Sunday was gonna be huge for us.





The Sunday events featured the biggest game for D3 alumni and fans and the party-aware. If Salisbury lost to Nazareth, we wouldn't have much fun later that night at the Salisbury party. Well maybe some would, because they hate Salisbury people and would let them know it and laugh in all their faces while doing the moonwalk. And then in a perfect world, they would pants Breier, Moculski, and Bates and then point and laugh at them too. But, I digress. It would make it more fun at the party if there were happy people around, as turned out to be the case. Hooray Salisbury! The Swamp Dawgs Lacrosse Club and social (being very kind) community are mostly Salisbury alumni and thusly, know how to put on a helluva pajama jammie jam, so I moved in for the kill. First I ran into Crease Monkeys Grand Pooh Bah Harry Mazaheri and Colorado Mammoth goalkeeper Erik Miller. The Hansen Bros. from Slap Shot were in full effect with the rest of the Chiefs' Hockey team including Billy Curtis, Vic Minoglio, Scotty Joyner, Scott Burman, Cort Sandstrom, and Coleman Devlin. But the MIP or most important person to hit the scene was Harrow's Chad Wittman.





Meet "The Chad". Many people confuse Chad with Derek Zoolander, not because of his ridiculously good looks but because he too, likes Orange Mocha Frappuccinos. His favorite actor is Billy Zane and he also owns a Center for Kids Who Can't Read Good and Would like to do Other Things Good. You just want to fold him up, put him in your pocket and take him everywhere you go. Chad, fresh from a where-did-we-go-wrong Anaheim NLL debut, was looking to forever forget the turmoil of the season and hoped to redeem himself on the Eastside. End result? Mission accomplished. Soon I'm gonna ask that all applications for fun nights with us be submitted in writing.





That night we lived it up until I slipped on the stairs at Castaway's. Those of you lucky enough to be in attendance saw, and know how "funny" it was. I am still amazed at how my front tooth is intact. Those iron steps are brutal. For the rest of the night I kept hearing, "Dude, did you see Darla bite it?" Or, "Man, was that Sparky? That must've hurt". So I hid behind my ice picks and a new drink that the Chad introduced me to, on the first floor.

After the party, a smaller party ventured over to Chez Court & Darla for late night festivities. The survivors were Miller, Witty, Moculski, and Tarik Ergin, aka Klingon cuz he's been on Star Trek a few times. He's always the crewman who goes to the planet's surface along with the Captain and the doctor or whatever and gets shot by an alien as soon as they get there. On the way, Miller chased a rat easily the size of Master Splinter, and I introduced Chad to the beloved cicada, not indigenous to his parts. Once we arrived at the crib, we transformed the kitchen table into a full on battle of doubles checkers that would go on 'til about 5. The fog forming on my window told me that the morning was near or worse. It was time to pull the plug on Sparky. My last remembrance was of The Chad and Courtney dancing to New Edition's Cool It Now, a crowd favorite, while I was performing Karaoke. I followed up, of course, with an encore performance of my trademark, Baby Got Back. By the way, when picking a teammate at doubles checkers, the first rule is to NOT pick Chad. Sorry Chad, you're still my boy!





Memorial Day: There are 3 things in life that annoy me greatly. First are the people who cut me off mid-sentence. Most people that know me will say that it is necessary to do this sometimes just to make me stop, but whatever. The second are those who don't use turn signals, and number three is rain on my skin after a fresh coat of Neutrogena Bronzer. That's right, I said it. And there're more girls and a few boys out there that use it too! So, you could imagine my excitement when Chad hooked it up with tickets to the final game INSIDE the suites with US Lacrosse, thus avoiding the rain. The game was more fun than watching a Newleyweds marathon. The Show was unbelievable right down to the last seconds with Navy losing a devastating nail biter. Only Streetball's "The Professor" on ESPN has more white boy skill.



Syracuse's Sean Lindsay celebrated all weekend

After the big game, we found our way to the Finn Crosse/Crease Monkeys tailgate which was still going on and was relatively dry, part of the space being literally under I-95. We stayed there until dusk playing lacrosse with one eye shut, and making nice with those from outta town. Since Federal Hill was right next to the tailgate, Gavin Stringer Senior took us all out to Matsuri's for sushi. After raw fish we hit Mother's for a sweet ending to a fun-filled final four weekend. Thanks to everyone for making the Final Four wonderful again and I'll see you all next year in Philly! Remember, it's not the place, but the people that make the Lax Championship Weekend what it is. Thanks to those who always make it a blast for me!



Hanging with John Strohsacker at the Crease Monkeys' Party

Along with the demise of the once-every-seventeen-years-cicada, comes the rise of The Charm City Classic, which was bigger and better this year. Double everything from teams to fun. Jimmy Huelskamp put together a successful 2nd annual Charm City Classic. The weekend was loaded with great weather and happy people all around. We spent all of Saturday trying to play and win the round robin, even with the late arrival of Two-Story Tori Wellington to our roster, but it proved too little too late. However we did have fun, and I managed to learn a new party game from Matt Hanna Banana and T-Rock. Water Guns ran amuck and jagerbombs were the drink of choice. The Gin Mill blocked off the alley between common Canton Streets and put a band and grill out there. Another great turnout. Looking forward to next year. Thanks again, Huelsy!





HUGE NEWS: Get your teams ready for London & Amsterdam in August 2005! These are ADULTS ONLY lacrosse tournaments, and I, the Sparkster will be on hand as the Master of Ceremonies and Party Host at both in 2005! Thee actual dates will be decided in September of this year!

And to wrap things up, the words I've longed to say…

See ya down e ocean, hon!
                                                      Sparky








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PREVIOUS SPARKPLUG COLUMNS:

2004 Lacrosse Fashion Extravaganza
Back In Philly - 2004 Lacrosse Coaches Convention
Sparky in Hawaii
Sparky in Ocean City
Sparky's Final Four
Sparky Storms into Jersey
Sparky @ Mardi Gras
Sparky in Philly