I had absolutely no interest in lacrosse whatsoever before going to Johns Hopkins. I was a baseball player. At my high school in New Jersey, the stigma was that lacrosse was for the kids who got cut from the baseball team—not entirely true, but still a commonly held notion nonetheless. Lacrosse was not at all on my radar.
But today, I sit here a 25-year-old Hopkins graduate and I'd be lying if I told you I cared about baseball more than lacrosse. I don't. Lacrosse is my thing now. Hopkins does that to you.
I remember my first game pretty well: a freezing Friday night in February. We thoroughly dismantled poor Manhattan. I think Steven Boyle had 6 or 7 goals. Despite the cold, the game was a ton of fun to watch, and we were good. It was really easy to fall in love with this team.
And then Hop went full Hop (never go full Hop). They lost 7 games that year, barely squeaked into the playoffs, and then got pulverized by Duke in the first round of the tournament. I'd soon learn that that's what being a Hopkins lacrosse fan was all about. Ups and downs. Peaks and valleys. Awesome emotional highs followed by utter misery followed by glimmers of hope followed by eternal damnation.
I had just missed the Rabil-Harrison glory years. Depending on whom you ask, we either have 44 or 9 NCAA Division 1 Lacrosse titles. I haven't experienced any of them. Maybe this will be our year. Maybe it won't. In fact, it very likely won't (Tinney come back to us please).
But you best BELIEVE we got some fire gifs though. What else can you ask for? Here are some of my greatest lacrosse memories of the last several years, in gif form (apologies Tucker Durkin, Mike Pellegrino, and other Jays defensive stalwarts—this listicle is offense-focused):
This was the first time my jaw ever dropped watching a lacrosse game. They don't make them like Kyle Wharton anymore. Kid was a stud. I still don't think they've fixed that net.
Canadian bacon! Shoutout ZP45! I was at this game at Byrd Stadium in 2011. It was POURING rain. Hop was down by 5 or 6 at halftime and rallied to win on a Wharton snipe (who else) in overtime. But this was the goal of the season. It made SportsCenter Top 10 that night.
Oh, nothing to see here, just The Bull himself, John Ranagan, bombing down the middle of the field, vaporizing a Loyola player's stick in the process. I think we lost this game, but Ranagan etched himself into Hopkins lore forever.
This is just one of my favorite goals ever. Holden Cattoni (Canadian) against Villanova in 2014. That fake-to-toedrag-to-roll though. Silk.
Ranagan with the winner in OT against Virginia in 2012, giving the Jays their first win at Klockner in like 4,000 years. "Right between the wickets," as Quint Kessenich would say, and as I think he literally did say, since he was calling this game for ESPN.
Hi my name is Ryan Brown and I get buckets. From the moon.
The Dark Lord himself, Bill Belichick, approves. (For those unaware, Dr. Football is friends with Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala and is a big fan of the program. That said, the running joke is that we lose whenever he's on our sideline.
L I Q U I D S M O K E. Shoutout QK for coining the phrase. But it's Patty Fraser's now. One of four EMO goals he scored, from the exact same spot, against Princeton last year. Would love to see Fraser and Wharton in a smoke-off.
And the Lord said unto Joel Tinney, "Let thee dodge this UVA defender into the ether." And so he did. (Honestly, if you've seen a niftier dodge than this, please post in the comments.)
Tinney face-dodge against the Terps in the semis last year. This is my one good memory of that game. My guiding light. My shining star. My Joel.
Had to throw Shack some love. Everyone remembers the successful hidden ball trick from this game. But the game was already well over by then. This is the one that really put it away. The Cavs never recovered from this buzzer-beating shot from the Stanwick Family Circus (TM).
Shoutout Cornell Willis, the best lacrosse fan there is. Gotta love the passion this guy brings. He bleeds black and blue. Go give him a follow on Twitter @HopkinsLaxPhan.