About five years ago, we got an e-mail from a kid who was a reader and wanted to be a contributor in the StickTech section of E-lacrosse. At the time we had Van O'Bannon and Pat Miller writing our tech articles but we are always looking for great people and this kid was one of them. He knew stringing and all the stick tricks and was a really good player, but that's why we had to turn him down. His name was Joe Yevoli and he was a really good player. In fact, he was starting school at Virginia the year he contacted us. We knew Joe was destined for great things at UVa and were well aware of him as a player. The last thing we wanted was to somehow distract him from a great career or even get him in trouble with the NCAA. So we waited, while watching him star at Virginia and then Syracuse and then we called him. And we got him. You'll like Joe. He's extremely knowledgeable about most things lacrosse and a bit wiser than his age would indicate. He'll be doing Opinion, StickTech articles and anything else that strikes him as interesting to our readers. We hope you enjoy Joe's first column and many more to come!

All It Would Take Is 60 Seconds

By Joe Yevoli

I think there is one slogan that separates the game of lacrosse from every other game in the world. It's pretty simple, it's pretty short, and it sounds pretty exciting. It is "Lacrosse, the fastest game on two feet." Well not for the past 6 or 7 years. The old adage describing lacrosse as "the fastest game on two feet", is now only true if you only watch the game in between the restraining lines.

The new style of play is more like a chess match. It is slow, It is boring. And worst of all, it is taking all the fun away from the game. I played lacrosse for 4 years of college and those 4 years were definitely unbelievable. I played in some very tough, physical, and exciting games. I won a national championship, played in 3 final fours, and played in front of some fantastic crowds. But I can honestly say that in all four years of college, the game I most enjoyed playing in was the pre-MLL draft game. "How can this be?" You might ask. It is because there was no stalling, no working the ball around for 2 minutes, no anxiety about whether it is ok to force the issue, or go to the cage whatsoever. And this was made possible all because of the 60 second shot clock, the greatest innovation to the game of the lacrosse since the offset head.

The NCAA is in dire need of a shot clock. The way the game is being played today is just sad. It unfortunately limits athletes to the point where a lot of them can't show their true skills. Truthfully, it allows the coaches to become too much of a factor in games. This is probably the reason we will never see the shot clock in college. Some coaches won't want to give up control of their players.

When I first started playing lacrosse, the idea of the game at every level was to go hard to the goal. There was no thinking involved, there was no patience, and there definitely were no boring moments. In little league lacrosse I never walked off the field thinking to myself, "man that game was boring". The first time I ever said that to myself was my junior year high school championship. The score ended up being 4-3, and it was only so low because the opposing coach decided to sit back in a zone when we had the ball, and then work the ball around on offense for 5 minutes at a time before they would take a shot. I remember walking off the field and saying to my dad "That was the least fun game I've ever played in."

Once I got to college, it only got worse. I was fortunate enough to play for two schools who still believed in the run and gun style of play. So whenever the opportunity was given to us, we weren't afraid to take the ball hard to the cage. Unfortunately I played against teams who didn't believe in that philosophy, which forced my team to play a more conservative style of play, which was awful.

I'm just going to express how I feel about the way our game is played today in the simplest terms I can think of. Low scoring games are horrible. Too much patience on offense is boring. Telling players not to go to the cage because "everyone on the field hasn't touched the ball yet" is just wrong. And being bored to death when I'm watching my favorite sport on TV is very disappointing.

So please if anyone from the NCAA ruling committee happens to read this article. Take a page from the MLL and adapt the 60 second shot clock. It will bring the game of lacrosse back to the pace it should be. It will allow athletes to show their true skills. It will make the game more exciting. And finally, it will keep the coaches on the sidelines, instead of in players' heads.

August 15, 2006


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