Forgive me, but I’m going to milk this Dream Team theme for one more week. I asked for reader input, and I got some – from my two sons, and two faithful alumni.
I wasn’t really expecting tremendous feedback, but to be honest I thought I’d get more than I did. That’s all right, though; I’ve said just recently that this is more of a one-way side street than a busy intersection. One week I’m writing that I don’t really want to read everyone’s comments and corrections, and then the next week I’m asking you to send me your own Dream Teams. Kind of contradictory.
Before I share others’ teams, I want to make some corrections from last week’s article. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a great fact-checker. Turns out that the NHL Islanders’ John Tavares is the nephew of box lacrosse great John Tavares, not the son. And the Boston Bruins’ defenseman Zdeno Chara isn’t exactly 6’7 – in fact, the internet says he’s 6’9. Regardless, I still want them both on my team.
Anyway, here are some other people’s thoughts. I was impressed by the creativity, the “outside the box” thinking, and most especially, the comments that went with some of the selections.
First is the team selected by Todd Zahurak ’96, former ELL Player of the Year, two-time all- conference midfielder, and USILA North/South Game participant. Todd is a guidance councilor and varsity boys’ lacrosse coach in Massachusetts. This is his squad:
Wayne Gretzky (no explanation needed)
Tim Duncan (the Big Fundamental in the crease? unguardable with Gretz
Lionel Messi (who in the world could attempt to guard him?)
Michael Jordan (um.....ya, will take him on any team)
Zinedane Zidane (nasty, with amazing vision, and a mean streak)
Ed Merckx (the Cannibal, can go forever)
Ryan Giggs (best footballer, never to have played in a WC)
Steve Prefontaine (American middle distance hero)
Dieon Sanders (need some flash)
Bobby Orr (offensive defenseman)
Roberto Clemente (my dad’s all-time favorite, and a great defender)
Patrick Roy (butterfly would really mess up lax shooters)
Mariano Rivera (ultimate closer)
Cael Sanderson (undefeated NCAA career)
Scottie Pippen (long, rangy, fast, in your shorts defense)
Phil Jackson (is this really a question?)
I have to plead ignorance on them.........sorry
Here’s the team picked by Doc Nelson ’78, former assistant coach with me at Oswego State and long-time head coach at Oswego HS:
The Ultimate Lacrosse Team
Steve Nash (NBA): great vision, great passer – he plays at X
Tim Duncan (NBA): 7 ft. tall, soft hands, great footwork – he’s on crease
John Tavares (NHL): based on bloodlines, he’s got to know something
John Stockton (NBA): as good a feeder as there is, and plays well with . . .
Karl Malone (NBA): the other half of the two-man game
Sidney Crosby (NHL): his job is to get out of the way and find the back post
Rick Dudley (NHL): great shooter & scorer
Wayne Gretzky (NHL): great vision, great hands; what’s not to like?
Lionel Conacher (NHL/CFL): the best athlete ever; look him up
(go ahead – mess with these guys):
Jim Brown (NFL): the older he gets, the better he was, but I’ll take him
Gordie Howe (NHL): a tough SOB who can also score and set people up
John Ferguson (NHL): the only guy tough enough to beat up Howe
Bill Russell (NBA): winning + defense = championships
Bobby Orr (NHL): invented transition defense
Shane Battier (NBA): makes playing defense an art and science
Michael Cooper (NBA): long and quick
Michael Jordan (NBA): another perennial all-star defender – who could play a
little offense if needed
Roger Federer (Tennis): tennis bores me, but they do have quick feet
Ken Dryden (NHL): hockey goalies don’t usually translate well to lacrosse, but
Dryden is smart enough to figure it out
Brandon Shanahan (NHL)
Joe Niewendyk (NHL)
Doug Favell (NHL)
Gary Robert (NHL)
Paul Coffey (NHL)
Joe Sakic (NHL)
Jim Thorpe (Olympics)
+ any 5 girls from the Lingerie Football League (hey, we gotta sell tickets)!
Adam Oates (NHL): moving Ovechkin was a box lacrosse move
Bill Belichick (NFL): loves lacrosse, but football pays the bills
Phil Jackson (NBA): kind of like Dryden – he’ll figure it out
Who’s NOT on the list:
Pele: he can’t use his hands! Haven’t we all coached kids like that?
Any other soccer player, for the same reason!
Any baseball player, golfer, or bowler. You wanted athletes, right?
No swimmers. Too finicky.
No one from made-for-TV sports. Just because.
Bo Jackson. Even after all these years, Bo don’t know lacrosse.
Next is my son Eric’s team – I already admitted that he gave me some ideas for my team, and we had some quality Stand By Me-like conversations (“Do you think Mighty Mouse could beat up Superman?”). This is his team:
Floyd Mayweather (boxing)
Manny Pacquiao (boxing)
The Undertaker (WWE)
Rob Gronkowski (NFL)
Blake Griffin (NBA)
Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson (WWE)
Anderson Silva (MMA)
Charles Woodson (NFL)
Chad Ochocinco (NFL)
Kevin Durant (NBA)
LeBron James (NBA)
Adrian Peterson (NFL)
Aaron Rodgers (NFL)
Robin Von Persie (UEFA/Netherlands)
Kurt Angle (WWE)
Patrick Peterson (NFL)
Brock Lesnar (WWE/NFL/MMA)
Shaquille O’Neil (NBA)
Sidney Crosby (NHL)
Patrick Kane (NHL)
Tony Parker (NBA)
Rey Mysterio, Jr (WWE)
Head coaches – John and Jim Harbaugh (NFL)
GM - Bill Parcells
Trainer – Dr. House
Finally, we have my son Brian’s picks. I’m not sure who everyone is, but I like his youthful attempt to sound like he knows what he’s talking about…
Gary Player - Mr. Fitness. I'm just now learning about the man. He looks better at 70 than
I do at 23. He's my dodger/best athlete in this attack trio.
Aaron Rodgers - Part 2 of a great trio is the feeder. Player creates, Rodgers see the field
and looks for the scorer.
Larry Bird - Part 3, the finisher. Fast layup and getting the step in front to put the biscuit
in the basket. Lanky with reach and field sense will make him unstoppable.
Adding 42 inches to Bird's already massive wingspan? Game over.
Steve Nash - natural athlete and great vision to see the field on either end. Apparently
trying out for Inter Milan?
Cesc Fabregas - Creative scorer and the endurance to get up and down the field in
Chris Paul - great feeder and will look for the “one more” pass
John 'Bones' Jones – a monster. Will run right through your boys on the way to the cage.
Travis Pastrana - the guy is insane. Creative moves and the wow factor come into play
Jerome “The Bus” Bettis - big physical player who will make for a great two way player
to kill the break or push one.
Manny Pacquiao - Getting the belt in eight different weight classes? I assume the dude
can get me a few gb's
Rulon Garder - Olympic Gold medal wrestler for THESE United States of America. I'll
have a hero on my team any day.
Stone Cold Steve Austin - Try to get past the Texas Rattlesnake. Imagine getting D’ed up
by someone, rolling back and getting the Stone Cold Stunner in a double team!
Bo Jackson - You don't know Bo. Lebron is up for discussion as a great basketball player,
but Bo is up for discussion as the best athlete ever (Lebron was left off the team
because he'd serve as a cancer on an already ego-loaded team).
Brian Leetch - Mark Messier was quoted as saying he is "the greatest Ranger ever"
The Iron Sheik - Break your back - make you humble.
Jared Allen - Speed and physicality find a perfect blend for solid position D
Claude Giroux - grit for days. Can push for transition goals.
Vince Wilfork - the big man moves... and he's a very big man.
Jairus Byrd - Having a safety on the field for picking passes is clutch. Would also look to
double like a pro.
Demarcus Ware - getting the ball on the ground like a pro
Brett Favre - Turnover factory
Iker Casillas - Ranked as the #1 goalie in the soccer world. Take a few feet off the goal;
we've got a flopper, but he'll make the save.
Henrik Lundqvist - the real King. Stud between the pipes and has the swagger of a goalie.
Best dressed human being.
John Taffer - None of the egos or cocky attitudes that plague lacrosse will be an issue for
the big man. No nonsense flies with Taffer.
King Leonidas – Defensive Coordinator. Spartans would have played great lacrosse if
given the opportunity. Hands down.
John Tortorella – Offensive Coordinator and speaker at all Press Conferences. If you
aren't familiar with this amazing personality, change that.
Paul Heyman - Brilliant man – built TNA Wrestling from nothing and effectively built the
brand of professional wrestling. Would love to see what he could do for the sport.
Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman - no brainer. She would've just ground up some pinecones
and Kevin Ware would've been able to finish that game.
So there you have it – four different philosophies and opinions. Hopefully you enjoyed the fantasy...
On the home front, Brian is home for this week, so for the first time since May we’ve got the whole family sleeping under the same roof. His summer job with 3dLacrosse is complete, and after we get home from Lake Placid he’s going to be making some decisions about what comes next. For this week, he’s hoping to play some UOLL, play some box in the summer league here in Oswego, and spend some quality time reuniting with his dog Reptar. Then we’ll be packing up the cars and heading up to Lake Placid next Sunday, in preparation for Day One – Monday’s six, three-day youth divisions.
I’ll write a Lake Placid preview next week, and a re-cap the week after that. I’m looking forward to seeing lots of smiling familiar faces!
Drive carefully, and we’ll see you in Placid!
- Dan Witmer