There's No Place Like Home(wood)

Rich Barnes-US PRESSWIRE

It's November, so obviously its time to write about the places I love in the spring.

Johns Hopkins lacrosse is still breaking in its new digs at the Cordish Center for Space Travel and Air Guitar Studies, and as much as I've cracked wise about the facility, the Blue Jays have some exquisite digs. It's not so much the functionality of the joint that makes it impressive, but all the bells and whistles, including cool pieces of history like the below:

Man, it's nice to see full stands for a college lacrosse game. With the increase in television coverage over the last few years and the connected laziness of people to, you know, leave the house and exist as a member of society that experiences events first-hand, the growth in attendance of college lacrosse games hasn't exactly mirrored the growth of the game nationally (in terms of participation and general interest). That's a shame, because there are some really terrific places to watch college lacrosse and see amazing stuff happen right in front of your stupid face.

Here's four places that I've been to that I like more than any other I've visited. The comments are yours to let loose on your preferred joints for hell raising.

Homewood Field (Johns Hopkins)

As a Syracuse fan, it pains me to list Homewood as one of my favorites; as a college lacrosse fan -- which I am above all else -- it's a gut reaction that doesn't even involve a millisecond of consideration to pump. With all the history knocking around the place, there isn't a field or building in the country that matches what the Blue Jays have on University Parkway. The fans -- while they can be impatient and loathe to pack the place to the gills unless one of the big names is charging to the visitor's sideline -- are among the best in college lacrosse and they will gleefully cheer and sing along with one of the aggregations ever consider themselves a musical ensemble.

Quite simply, it's perfect and flawed all at once; the program's -- and game's -- history is so interwined with the stadium that it requires at least a pilgrimage.

Carrier Dome (Syracuse)

The Dome remains the weirdest place to play in all of college lacrosse, and the competition isn't even close. An enclosed arena that swallows you up the first time you step on the field, the alumninum bleachers and sizeable crowds -- the Carrier Dome remains one of the best attended venues in college lacrosse on a yearly basis -- creates havoc for opposing teams. Throw in the fact that the Orange always seem to play with a different kind of swagger when they are under the teflon roof and you start to understand why the Dome, both institutionally and functionally, is one of the most unique places in the country to watch some ball slingin'.

Bonus positives: Video boards and quantity of publicly-available game statistics. That's my kind of jam.

Shuart Stadium (Hofstra)

There isn't a better place to watch an NCAA Tournament quarterfinal double-header. There is no discussion to this point. Hofstra is the undisputed king of quarterfinals atmosphere, and a big reason for that is the Long Island folks that flock to Hempstead to watch some of the best in lacrosse go at it. The stadium is a perfect horseshoe for lacrosse with respect to seating and sightlines, and the environment -- created by some of the best lacrosse fans in the country -- is only surpassed by a few select places.

The stadium isn't just one of the best venues for the NCAA Tournament, though. The Pride are only one of two Long Island schools sponsoring Division I lacrosse, and with Stony Brook located about 30 minutes east, Hofstra has cornered the market on Nassau lacrosse fans and much of western Suffolk Country. Folks out that way love the Pride, and when big names come in to Hofstra for conference or non-conference games, Shuart can really jump. Great fans and a great facility; awesome for Long Island lacrosse.

Garber Field (Massachusetts)

Garber is a dump. Honestly. It's a big, steaming pile of trash located on the back-end of a university that aesthetically went for the One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest institution look. But that's exactly what makes Garber great: It's complete and total garbage without a single usable amenity and yet it's absolutely great.

There are three things at play here with respect to Garber's odd allure: (1) Massachusetts is almost impossible to knock off there; (2) The Garber Gorillas are animals that haven't eaten for months and are always on the scent for fresh meat trying to play on Garber's disgusting AstroTurf field; (3) Sitting on the knoll on the backside of the field, you can stare out into the Western Massachusetts countryside and swear that if you don't get into heaven the view is good enough to tide you over for an eternity of pain. The place is equally hostile and intriguing, but in the weirdest doses possible.

Honorable Mentions

Class of 1952 Stadium (Princeton); Schoellkopf Field (Cornell); Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium (Bucknell); Michie Stadium (Army).

Places I Need to Get To

Klockner Stadium (Virginia); Arlotta Stadium (Notre Dame); Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium (Denver)

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