In this day and age of college lacrosse, neutral site venues are becoming all the rage. These games put teams on a larger stage -- sometimes in an NFL venue – and help expand the game's reach. We're even at the point where Major League Baseball stadiums are hosting lacrosse games (a fact that will be used in every high school locker room as a talking point in lacrosse versus baseball arguments, of which baseball will lose because baseball is baseball). Sometimes, however, there are ideas thrown around that are so awful that they're doomed to fail, and they’ve failed to a degree that we’ve almost – almost! – forgotten of their existence. College Crosse has unearthed a list of some of these horrendous neutral site lacrosse events, efforts so bad that even UMass' AstroTurf field still laughs at them.
THE FINGER LAKES INVITATIONAL
Watkins Glen International Speedway, Watkins Glen, New York
Game 1: Syracuse-Hobart
Game 2: Colgate-Cornell
When you think "Finger Lakes area sports," you probably think of the Carrier Dome (I'm going by the New York tourism board's definition of "Finger Lakes”; whatever, Skaneateles Lake is 15 minutes away) and Lynah Rink. You may even think of the Cortaca Jug. (For those unfamiliar with the Cortaca Jug, this is a large jug created by a man named Cortaca. He put a nickel in it every day and then sold the jug at a dry goods store for the value of the nickels. Basically, it's a piggy bank.) In addition to that, lacrosse definitely makes up the fabric of the region.
You know what else does? Auto racing! So, some event promoter in Geneva decided to combine the two loves of the Finger Lakes – vroom! vroom! race cars! and boom! boom! cross-checks! – by having a doubleheader in the runoff area by turn one at Watkins Glen. Multiple injuries occurred when players were checked into asphalt and balls bouncing at speeds and unpredictability never before seen in a college game. Tragedy was averted at the last second when Jackie Stewart maneuvered his race car in the nick of time, avoiding a Montour Falls Elementary schoolboy who was volunteering as a ballboy, looking for a ball that bounced into one of the tire barriers. (Jackie Stewart was just racing around the track during the event for the sole purpose of "because." This remains a mystery to those concerned.) NASCAR star Tony Stewart was the honorary horn man, watching two minutes of the first game before saying, "What the hell is this crap?"
Did we mention this event was held in late February in 20-degree temperatures and snowy conditions?
BATTLE FOR BALTIMORE
Abandoned Lot in the City of Baltimore
Have you seen at least three minutes of The Wire? Well, it was kind of like that, but Dave Pietramala didn’t take any shit. Locals still recall the pain of sitting on heroin needles while watching the Greyhounds and Blue Jays tag walls with graffiti to claim dominance rather than scoring goals and stuff.
COLORADO’S SKI RESORTS PRESENT THE COLORADO SKI LACROSSE CLASSIC
Some Ski Resort Near Denver
As we all know, Denver's got lacrosse fever! It's basically everywhere, and I know this because local coffee shops have abandoned coffee stirrers for full-length lacrosse sticks (which actually makes a four-dollar latte a steal). The Pioneers currently play some big games at Denver-area professional stadiums, but a few years ago the DU administration felt that it had to take the next step in big events to create some buzz around the program: moving one of its games to a ski resort. (And not an Aspen resort, because Aspen has changed, man.) Although problematic due to snow still being on the ground in late April, as well as the fact the field is literally on a slope with vacationing skiers running picks and interference, Denver held the game considered it another step in expanding the reach of the sport. (One Denver official was overheard saying, “Do you hear that? That's the sound of the International Olympic Committee's cash registers making ski-resort-lacrosse a sanctioned Winter Olympics event. This is going to be huge!”) Problems arose, however, after halftime when the third quarter was delayed several minutes waiting on players to get off ski lifts from their locker rooms in the ski lodge. Bill Tierney's face reddened in anger (past standard-issue Tierney face-redness), making Tom Coughlin’s face while coaching a playoff game in Green Bay look like the Snow Miser compared to Tierney's Heat Miser. Luckily, no Kennedys were tragically lost in the event. Otherwise, unlike most of the other events listed, the game went off without a hitch.