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This is encouraging and terrifying all at the same time.
Good news, everybody! Lacrosse is starting to look like lacrosse again!
Wait. That isn't totally true. Let's back this up for a hot second before you start sending handshake-o-grams to the rules committee.
With finalization of this coming year's proposed rules happening late last week, teams are finally -- in totem -- starting to work within these new constructs. Nobody had a really strong idea of the actual impact the new rules designed with pace in mind were going to have on the game, other than attempting -- from a policy position -- to try and get the game out of the mud. This was okay, though; the fall exists to throw things into a beaker and billow potentially lethal gas clouds and figure out how to make those potentially lethal gas clouds actually make you think of rainbows come spring.
Let's just say that while the scientific method is working here, some of the results are creating some eye-bleeding:
Today we got to check out the new rules. The pace is between hectic and chaos. The days of structured clearing and riding r gone.#Transition— QU Men's Lacrosse (@QU_Lacrosse) September 26, 2012
That isn't necessarily a bad thing; it also isn't necessarily a good thing. I think that the consensus among lacrosse people is that increased transition is good and an overall increased pace -- a "hectic" environment -- is a pretty solid thing as well. What isn't good is sloppiness; "chaos" isn't the goal here. The key is to develop a structured foundation in a "hectic" atmosphere. (Think about those Syracuse teams under Roy Simmons, Jr. That's what I'm talking about.) That's on the coaches -- both in developing strategy and pushing the fundamentals of stick skills -- to make it happen. If the coaches can't get there, sloppiness is going to swallow everything into a pit of sadness and anger.
It's just not Quinnipiac that is seeing this situation, though. Over at Inside Lacrosse, Ryan Rabidou checked in with some impressions from Loyola's alumni game and how the rules are impacting things. Pertinently (on the lack of horns):
What you will notice is teams that have athletes between the lines, two-way middies and overall solid cardio will succeed. The majority of the goals we gave up were in transition. Players like Scott Ratliff, Josh Hawkins and Pat Laconi will see an even bigger increase on their stat sheet courtesy of the new transition-friendly game. For alumni, the game felt more like hungover 6 a.m. punishment gassers.
What this rule will also do is create matchup problems. Since players no longer have the same time to get off the field and make personnel adjustments (get your offensive minded invert middie off and your longpole on), you will see teams pushing the ball to the offensive end to exploit tired or not defensively blessed middies. Adding more fuel to the fire is the quicker restart rules that share the same points as the previous mentioned.
Let's go, babycakes. Phrases like "transition-friendly" make me want to make balloon animals and stuff. The potential for the game getting some juice is there, the personnel just needs to adjust to the regime. Things are going in the right direction, you guys. Let us all rejoice (and duck our heads due to errant passes).