There were two kinds of responses to the proposals that the Men's Lacrosse Rules Committee published last week:
- "Hey! New rules! I wonder if they'll all pass? Some of these are a little odd, but whatever. What kind of impact will they have?"
- "MY FACE IS BURNING OFF! THIS IS WHAT IT SOUNDS LIKE WHEN DOVES CRY!"
It's been a little hard avoiding the last kind of response over the last seven days. Twitter has been the main sounding board for people to: threaten to quit the game; espouse the undeniable truth that the game will be forever ruined if any or all of the proposals pass; explain why various people are various levels of stupid because of the various levels of stupid inherent in the various proposals that the aforementioned various people stupidly published.
That's a very emotional and visceral response to a series of recommendations, and I absolutely understand why people are responding in this fashion. Here's the thing, though: Calm the hell down, psychos. Seriously. Everything is going to be fine. (Maybe). Let me explain.
Outside of being a crack blogger, I actually work in tax for a living. (It's true! They give me a paycheck every two weeks and everything! I have business cards and get lots of email and have clients and stuff!) In fact, I'm actually disgustingly good at my job, doing stuff that would probably make your head spin. The thing about working in tax, especially in my speciality, is that tax rules change, like, all the damn time. You probably read about some of these changes in the newspaper -- or on the Google machine if you're younger than 30 -- but you're probably only seeing about a tenth of the changes that I actually have to pay attention to. These changes can be significant or minor, but they all carry the same result: The ideas that I came up with, established with my clients for specific results, need to be changed.
Basically, I need to come up with new ideas to combat and comply with new tax laws. If I don't come up with new ideas and get out ahead of these tax changes, I'm totally boned as a professional (even if I think the new laws and policies are incredibly stupid). And when those new laws and policies that I think are stupid are repealed or modified, I'm playing with house money because I already did all the work. I don't complain about all these changes, though, because I understand why these changes generally are enacted: To counteract people like me that are working within the system and thriving.
The point here is straightforward: If you view this stuff as the end of the world, you'll get left behind, and the stuff that may actually be the end of the world is going to get repealed anyway. This isn't to say that an opinion on these proposed college lacrosse rules isn't warranted, it's just that the personal emotional response that people are having -- I need to learn a new faceoff technique? I need to use a crosse that doesn't have a channeling pocket? But I already mastered those techniques! This isn't fair! It's stupid! -- is hysterical and myopic.
For instance, take Colgate's Peter Baum.
When the prohibition about "U"- and "V"-stringing came out, Baum pretty much went nuclear:
Baum probably still hates the recommendation and hopes that it doesn't pass in September, but he's not just sitting on his ass, eating potato chips and bitching about the potential change. He's out there trying to get ahead of all the knuckleheads that are sitting on their ass, eating potato chips and bitching about the potential change. He knows that lacrosse is going to go on despite this ephemeral stuff. He made his voice heard and now he's trying to make the magic happen.
That's what matters in all of this. The college game needs to evolve if it is going to survive; those on the rules committee are trying to make this evolution organic and true to the game. These rules recommendations aren't about you (whether you're a player, coach, or fan); they're about keeping the game true, keeping pace with the techniques, strategies, and tricks that everyone adopted under the game's prior evolutions. Like the federal and state governments when they pass tax laws, everyone in lacrosse got too far out ahead of the old regime and the regime needs to respond to that to keep things operating at a sustainable level.
Everything will be fine, and if any of these proposed recommendations that eventually pass don't hit the mark, they'll be repealed. So, calm down, psychos.