2009 E-Lacrosse Feature: Kessenich declares a new age of lacrosseI got home rather late from covering the UMBC-Stony Brook America East championship game Saturday night. I turned on the TV and the last few minutes of the Johns Hopkins-Loyola contest were being played out. Hopkins was up by two with a minute or so left and, of course, we all know what happened if we've seen the score of that one. Loyola scored two goals in desperation to tie the game and go to overtime with their nemesis. The Greyhounds have only won three games against the Hop, which they revile.
Hopkins, of course, won in overtime, but that's not surprising. I had just come from watching the favorite win two different season finales -- two games with serious NCAA implications at Princeton and UMBC. I missed the Villanova upset of Towson, if you can call it that.
In any case, all was normal in the lacrosse world. That is until I heard the words uttered by the color commentator for ESPN's coverage of the Hopkins-Loyola game, Quint Kessenich. Without quoting him directly, which would just feed his massive ego, the Q-tip said that there were ten teams that could win the title in 2009. These were either the most disingenuous words ever uttered in lacrosse or the most ignorant.
In a game where only five teams have won a title in the last 30 years, Quint was either promoting ESPNU's monopoly coverage of the forthcoming NCAA tournament with a marketing ploy that makes the Sham Wow guy seem like Honest Abe, or he has lost his mind. This ain't the Kentucky Derby.
The statement could be true, if we think of it this way: There are maybe four teams that have a shot in DI men's lacrosse, three in DIII men's, two in DII men's, and two in the MCLA college club championships. If we join those four entities together we arrive at eleven teams that could win a national championship. Otherwise, the comment would be intensely wrong. In fact, Quasimotomouth was so wrong that we have re-instituted the rule in our house that when an ESPNU lacrosse game is on, the volume must be muted.
The comment showed such a lack of comprehension of our game that I was forced to write this. If I could stand to talk to "Q" for even a moment, I'd bet him a thousand dollars that he was wrong and would even give him odds. I'd donate my winnings to charity, perhaps for the diminutive and tragically arrogant, so that in some way I might help those like Quint. I'll take Virginia, Syracuse, Duke, Hopkins and Princeton and he would have every other team in the field. I'd give 5-1 odds at least and I'd walk away with the money easily.
The worst thing that could happen is that Quint is proven right and our game finally emerges from the incestuous, entitled dark ages that imprison it. I'd pay $5,000 for that to happen anyway. It would be the answer to my prayers and the jolt our game needs to actually build a spectator base outside of the playing community and the accompaniment of parents. It's a no-lose situation for me. I win money or get everything I ever wanted for the sport I love. The only downside would be acknowledging that Quint made the hardest call in the history of the game and made it right. That considered, make it 10-1 odds.
May 3, 2009