July 19, 2010

Musings on our vacation and lacrosse

Chuck Larsen
The Express-Star

— My wife and I just got back from the long vacation drive to New York City to see my mom and family.

It was a great trip, but living out of suitcases for two weeks got old about halfway into the adventure.

We stopped in Nashville for a couple of days to see our oldest daughter, who recently relocated there for a new job, then spent some time in Gettysburg (I’m a Civil War buff) before landing at my mom’s house on Long Island.

While there, I got to see my first lacrosse match and came away pretty impressed.

My cousin coaches his 12-year-old twins’ team and they were playing in a one-day festival at Hofstra University, where he played while doing his undergraduate work.

He’s coached the team since the kids were five and six years old and they’re one of the better squads in their age group, going 16-4 last year. They won two matches, lost one and gave up a goal in the final minute of the game we were at for a 7-7 tie and a second place overall finish.

Lacrosse is really big in the northeast and is spreading westward as it catches on. The kids had the place Saturday and ESPN was there setting up to broadcast the professional Long Island Lizards’ match on Sunday.

The game is a blast. Think hockey with a small, hard rubber ball and sticks with netting on the ends to control the ball. It’s fast-paced, physical and relatively high-scoring.

Lacrosse is the only American sport with true American origins. Early European explorers found native Americans playing the game and some historians date it back to the 12th century.

Entire tribes were reported to compete sometimes for days on end, with hundreds of men battling in a wild, and sometimes, brutal melee. Some reports say that it was used to resolve tribal disputes and also had some religious overtones to it.

We spent a couple of days in Memphis on the way back, celebrating my sweetie’s birthday (can’t tell which one) with some delta blues and barbeque on Beale Street, a favorite haunt of ours. There’s no better way to wrap up a road trip than “walking in Memphis.”

While in New York, I got our grandson his “special Grandpa” present – his first Yankee gear – and he took right to it at his third birthday party over the weekend. Gotta get the little guy headed in the right direction as soon as possible.

The trip was long but fun, but now it’s back to work, wrapping up the summer activities and getting ready for school to re-open and fall sports to kick-start the new school year.