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Friday, March 6, 2009

Padding Makes Perfect

I am happy to report that I now have all of my essential lax gear. A lax player needs: 1. A stick (check) 2. A back up stick (check) 3. Gloves (check) 4. Shoulder pads (received March 3) 5. Elbow pads (Received March 3) 6. A helmet (received last night) 7. Cleats/shoes (wearing my old soccer cleats for now) 8. Nut Cup (check) 9. Some balls (check) 10. A bag to carry all of this stuff (check)I started using my Krypto Pro shaft, Mojo head, and Hypno gloves around February 23 and am happy to report that they rock. The gloves are super flexible, light, and provide relatively great ventilation and moisture wicking. They are lined with Vapor Tek (Warrior/New Balance's version of Under Armour), have strategically placed mesh on the palms, and a vent hole on the backhand. For a relatively low price ($83 MSRP at Great Atlantic Lacrosse), they offer a professional feel.
The Krypto Pro feels every bit like a $120 (MSRP at Great Atlantic Lacrosse) professional grade shaft. I'm thankful to Warrior for sending it to me. It seems to be fairly coveted around the local laxers too. The Mojo ($55 MSRP at Great Atlantic Lacrosse) fits perfectly and offers a great combination of stiffness and low weight. Now that the players pocket mesh is getting broken in, cradling has become a snap. It is definitely a great value. I highly recommend this head.I spent some time reading reviews and shopping around for pads. Knowing that I plan on playing Attack or Midfield and knowing how hacked up I tend to get at Valley's practices, I decided that I definitely needed a full arm pad and protective shoulder pads. After looking all over Great Atlantic Lacrosse for the best deals to meet my limited finances, I knew that I needed to shop around in order to get everything I needed. My first stop was Lacrosse Monkey.

Having played hockey for a long time, I was familiar with Monkey Sports, so I knew the site was safe and reliable. After some brief searching, I found that their selection of new pads was a bit more expensive than Great Atlantic Lacrosse, but then I found the close out pads. These pads were simply old, but not outdated, versions of the current MPG line from Warrior. Most of the changes were stylistic, meaning that I could get the same protection at a much lower price. For example, the Warrior MPG Hitlite 8.0 Shoulder Pads sell for $75 (large) pretty much everywhere; the MPG 6.5 Shoulder Pads (Hitlite hadn't been coined yet) cost me $50 at Lacrosse Monkey. The pads are comfortable, flexible, and feature removable bicep pads (I took advantage of this feature!). They also have Vapor Tek lining and strategically placed hard plastic reinforcement shells. Mobility is not a problem.I have liked the look of the Warrior MPG 8.0 Forearm Shiver, but did not want to drop $70 on arm pads. Luckily, Lacrosse Monkey had the MPG 4.5 Forearm Shiver for $36. Like everything else Warrior produces, they are light, flexible, and lined with Vapor Tek. The construction of the forearm shivers prevents slippage, which was very important to me since I continue to experience that very issue with my hockey elbow pads. Considering the vitality of good arm protection in lacrosse, keeping the pads in place is extremely important. Luckily, they are quite protective, which I learned last night during drills. I got hacked by the D-Poles and didn't feel anything significant on my arms.The only thing still lacking was a helmet. Knowing that I don't really trust manufacturer's sizes, I preferred to get something that offered a "one-size fits all" feature to ensure that regardless of how long its been since a haircut (mine gets thick really fast), the lid would still fit. I tried on various models at practice and officially narrowed it down to two helmets - the Cascade CPX and Warrior Venom. Both helmets retail for $190 pretty much everywhere. However, Lacrosse Monkey came through once again by offering a custom built Venom for $140. I will give you a review after I use it next week.
I should point out that I also ordered black stripe decals for my helmet. Warrior did not put them on at the factory so I was left wondering if I should put them on or not. My wife likes how the helmet looks as is and I have to agree with her. I also think the stripes look bad ass, so I kind of want to put them on. I have decided that the helmet will remain without the decals until the Demons actually begin playing.Lacrosse Monkey was definitely the way to go for my pads and helmet. I ordered what was essentially $350+ (pre-shipping) worth of gear for $250 after shipping (and with 20 orange lax balls as well). It was fast; I ordered my stuff last Tuesday (2/24) and got my pads a week later on Tuesday (3/3). The Venom was supposed to take an extra week to build and ship, but I got it last night (3/5). Customer service responded to my questions quickly and professionally. I highly recommend checking Lacrosse Monkey the next time you need to order lax gear.

Tribe 7