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The thing about college lacrosse is that most highlights are lost in our collective memories. With television only recently choosing to give up valuable Giant Cupcakes infomercial space and dedicating it to lacrosse, we're all kind of left with saying, "Do you remember when . . ." and having your friend nod in acceptance despite not having a clue what the hell you're babbling on and on about. This is the world we live in (oh-ooooh-oh!).
There have been some great moments this season, though: Zach Palmer ripping a corner with only one hand while having his spine rearranged; Reid Acton crushing Fairfield's soul; Chris LaPierre taking a bullet to his sternum; ad naseum. While these moments were all great -- and captured (in many instances) on only what I can term "recovered uncut amateur video" -- everything that we see today in terms of mind-bending play owes its initiation to one moment: Gary Gait erasing conceptual understanding of approachable offensive attack:
There are a few things that make this highlight one of the greatest that I've ever seen or heard about:
- Gait pulled this out during the national semifinals. It's not like he unleashed this against UMBC in a meaningless early-March leg-stretcher. Against strong competition when it mattered most, Gait said, "The hell with it!" and pulled off a move (twice, actually) that not only validated his reputation as an innovator but also changed the paradigm of possibility in a moment with maximum pressure.
- Short shorts and death turf. Two of the worst ideas that man has ever invented.
- This play, in part, helped clear a path for future Syracuse players to have the freedom to approach the game as they wish. You don't see Tim Desko do Tim Desko things unless Slugger lets Gait redefine humanity. You don't see Mike Powell shimmy and shake in front of 10,000 slack-jawed fans in the Carrier Dome. That looseness of play that had defined Syracuse for so long simply doesn't happen without Gait and the "Air Gait." It's all connected, man.
So, that's my favorite college lacrosse highlight. What's yours? The comments are open for your suggestions.