Road Trip Dad -
More From Inside the Main Tent
Dan Witmer | August 12, 2013
Brian, Eric, and I were the last staff members to leave the North Elba Athletic Fields yesterday afternoon; by 4 PM the fields were cleaned, equipment was stored, and the main tent was emptied out. We got back to Oswego around 8 PM after an uneventful ride home through Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake, Cranberry Lake, and Watertown.

Thoughts for this article were swimming around in my mind, and then Brian started talking about what he was going to write in HIS Lake Placid blog. It seems that now we have more than one lacrosse writer in the house! In the following paragraphs, I steal only a few of his ideas . . .

It was a great week in Lake Placid, working the 24th annual Summit Lacrosse Tournament. We had six days of gorgeous weather and one day (Friday) of rain and sun. Eric, who spent the week working the score table on NEAF 1, came home much darker than he was when he drove into town at 8 AM on Monday. And I swear that Brian’s hair is lighter than it was a week ago. I was under the main tent most of the week, but even overseeing three championship games yesterday got me out in the wind and sun for a few hours, and I could feel it when I got home.

Congrats to all the division winners – I won’t name them here because I see there’s no shortage of coverage on lacrosse websites. After crowning two division champs on Friday, we handed out ten more championship T-shirt bundles yesterday.

Highlights? For me, they included seeing so many good friends that I haven’t seen in a year or longer. In addition to the Oswego State alumni I mentioned on Thursday, I can also add referee Kevin Couse ‘91 and Joe Corace ’83, former teammate and captain of the Lakers the first year I coached.

I also saw current college coaches who were either recruiting (Monday through Wednesday), playing, or just supporting their friends and alumni. I saw high school coaches, young and not so much, getting back on to the field, trying to practice what they preach in regards to their skills and technique.

I supervised six championships over the course of the week – one on Wednesday, two on Friday, and three on Sunday. Two of them, both games on Friday, went into overtime (the Ultra Grand Masters championship game – for players 55 and older – went four overtimes!). The handshakes afterwards, especially on Friday and Sunday, were sincere and heartfelt, and it was interesting to hear so many of the players greet one another by name.

I overheard this comment – “Whoever knew that lacrosse would become a lifetime sport?” Indeed, watching the Super Grand Masters (50 and older) and Ultra Grand championships showed the passion, talent, and perseverance of so many.

There was the goalie who played just five days after a heart attack (with doctor’s permission, he insisted). There was the defender who yelled at the man he was guarding, “Why are you running?!?!” There was Cornell assistant coach Matt Kerwick’s kids yelling “Go, Dad!” as he contributed toward a big Sailin’ Shoe goal in their Grand Masters championship. There were the children of the Olden Flyers (Naz alumni) who played on the sideline while their dads played in their championship game, shooting at and banging on a garbage can goal, completely oblivious to the game going on next to them.

There was only one serious protest, coming from a team that felt they had been cheated out of a semi-final slot. Despite applying the tie-breaking rules the same way we had been all week, and in years past, this team argued that the system wasn’t fair and that we should ask the team that beat them out for the #4 spot if they felt they deserved the seeding. We refused to pursue their request.

There were a few score reporting mistakes made, some forfeits, one fight (out of more than 500 games – not bad!), and some schedule glitches, but we succeeded in fixing almost everything to everyone’s satisfaction. We got a lot more “Thanks” than complaints, and we got a few suggestions, like putting reading glasses and/or magnifying glasses on the tables where the schedules and scores were posted.

The televised coverage of two games on Saturday was fantastic. The weather was magnificent. The talent level was superb (I watched one game where Duke’s Josh Dionne played against Colgate’s Peter Baum, and each of them put on an impressive show). The table workers received more compliments than complaints.

I can’t mention some of the rumored attractions and additions for next year’s 25th anniversary edition of the Summit Lacrosse Tournament, but I can say that there is already plenty of serious buzz. Don’t wait too long to book your rooms and ask for the time off (August 4-10, 2014).

In the meantime, remember these four words – rest, ice, compression, and elevation.

Drive carefully!

- Dan Witmer