Road Trip Dad -
Drafting the Dream Team
Dan Witmer | July 22, 2013
Well, what’s your team look like?

In case you missed it, last week I asked you to accept the challenge put forth to me by one of my former players (and faithful RTD reader) Mike Brewster ’09, who asked who I would draft for my “lacrosse dream team” – a team consisting of athletes who are pros in other sports.

I emailed Brew back and said it was a good idea, and the next thing I knew I had an email from Todd Zahurak ’96, who had already drawn up his team. Todd was subsequently the first one to get my “don’t give me your answers yet!” response.

I shared the question with my son Eric and he sat right down and drew up his squad. Like I said last week, he went with all-time greats like Jordan, Gretzky, and Pele; I chose to draft like I was looking to build a team this summer.

Hopefully many of you did the same. SPOILER ALERT – if for whatever reason you haven’t done this on your own yet, take a break, read no further, and see who you come up with… then come back and read the rest of this.

See, I have imagined line-ups since I was in middle school. Really. We played a lot of roller hockey, and I used to work out teams and positions for myself and friends, trying to create even teams while still allowing me to play on the same team as my best friends (“I don’t want to play against him; I want to play with him!”).

It continued in college. Instead of doodling in my notebooks’ margins, I drew up man-up plays and mock lineups. That led to college coaching, and more lineups. Camps, summer league, and now high school coaching (soccer and ice hockey) has just been more and more of the same.

But what a talent pool I have this time!

I’ll be honest; I excluded NASCAR, PGA, tennis, and X-Game athletes. I also passed over the WWE, the Tour de France, and any female candidates. You can choose them for your team if you want.

So, who did I pick? Well, here goes:

Attack
Lionel Messi (soccer) – natural goal scorer; small, quick, extremely hard to defend.
John Tavares (NHL) – bloodlines and genes (his father’s a Hall of Fame box lacrosse legend), and he’s got a great scoring touch.
Sid Crosby (NHL) – again, great hands, great finishing ability.
Robin Von Persie (soccer) – another natural goal scorer; no one’s better coming off the bench.
David Ortiz (MLB; aka Big Papi) – he’s my man-up specialist… imagine him with time and space on that left-handed shooter’s wing! Duck!

Midfield
(1st line)
Lebron James (NBA; aka King James) – he will re-invent the bull-dodge… who on your team is going to stop him?
Johnny Manziel (aka Johnny Football) – athleticism to create offense (besides, he’s still a kid, and it will be fun making the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner our team “rookie”…).
Robert Griffin III (NFL; aka RGIII) – playmaker; athlete – imagine him with a swim move!

(2nd line)
Wayne Rooney (soccer) – solid two-way player who can create for himself and dish it off to others.
Alex Ovechkin (NHL) – physical presence combined with offensive talent, but he’ll have to find another way to celebrate goal-scoring.
Tim Duncan (NBA) – game sense, class, poise – the wily veteran!

FOGO
Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews (NHL) – young, quick, and scrappy.

Raiders
Ryan Callahan (NHL) – tireless defender and shot-blocker; he’s got defensive instincts and leadership, too.
Charles Woodson (NFL) – physical competitor, great foot-speed, great hitter.

Defense
Zdeno Chara (NHL) – first guy off the bus! He’s 6’7; a defensive stick in his hands would look like an attackman’s…
Chris Anderson (NBA; aka The Birdman) – second guy off the bus. They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but this guy’s an exception.
Clay Matthews III (NFL) – talk about Flow!
Troy Palomalu (NFL) – more Flow (and one heck of a defender!).

LSM
Chris Weidman (UFC Middleweight champion)… and…
Anderson Silva (former UFC Middleweight champion; aka The Spider) – let these guys take turns running pole; they need something to take their minds off their re-match coming up this fall.

Goalie
Yasiel Puig (MLB) – if we can’t teach an old dog new tricks, how about this frisky pup? He’ll run through a wall, make the big play, and play with reckless abandon, with no concern for his own personal safety… all the makings of a natural goalie!
Chris Stewart (MLB) – after what I saw him do this past weekend vs. the Red Sox, I think he’s teachable… that double play on Saturday was one of the most impressive baseball displays I’ve ever seen – in the same league as Jeter’s backhanded flip to Jorge Posada at the plate in the 2001 playoffs.
Mariano Rivera (MLB) – the guy’s a perfectionist, and I would go out of my way to get him on my team. I’m not sure GK is really the best position for him – I mean, he wouldn’t even have to face shots if he didn’t want to – just be on the team, be in the locker room, be available for the press, and help raise this team’s “class” bar right through the roof.

Head Coach
Joe Torre (former Yankee manager)– gotta get him out of retirement to handle all the superstars and egos – just another day in the Bronx!

Assistant Coaches
Jim Boeheim (Syracuse University basketball coach) – just think; he can take his 2-3 zone and still have a guy left over!
Bill Cowher (former Steelers coach) – possesses one of the best game-faces ever!

Trainer
Mark Messier (former NHL star) – tape? bandage? slash to the wrist? Forget about it - Ice bath afterwards or nothing at all… rumor had it he wanted a shot at the Rangers’ head job when it opened up earlier this summer, despite his lack of experience; I’d let him get his start on my team any day.

GM
Pat Riley (former NBA coach/current GM) – still at the top of his game…

Alternates:
Adrian Peterson (NFL) – I didn’t mean to exclude all NFL running backs, but if I did need one on my squad, AP would probably be my first pick.
Colin Kaepernick (NFL) – young, athletic leader with some seriously intimidating ink.
Landon Donovan (soccer) – prolific goal-scorer and assist man, and he still has impressive speed…
Derek Jeter (MLB) – if only I knew he was going to be healthy… I would definitely try to find a spot for him on the field!

Well, what do you think? Any big mistakes? Omissions? Let me know if you want; my email address is below.

The World Games are next July in Denver, CO – in addition to the international ILF championships, I’ve learned that a “lacrosse festival” with 11 or 12 other age groups and divisions will also take place at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Can I get my team registered in the Men’s Open/Elite Division? How about a side match vs. Team USA some afternoon on a back field – just a “friendly,” a scrimmage – no spectators, no cameras, no media?

Coach Meade?

Drive safely. Two weeks till the opening face-off at Lake Placid...

- Dan Witmer daniel.witmer@oswego.edu