Best Place to Find Low Prices - Discontinued Gear

Saturday, March 7, 2009

We are on!!!!!

Since the rain really stopped around 7:00 AM, I am officially declaring the third Toss Around to be on! Report to the Valley High Tennis Courts around 11:00 AM!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Stupid Weather

Looks like that old wench, Mother Nature, hates lacrosse. The forecast has shifted and it is supposed to rain all day now. Since thunderstorms are part of the forecast and lax sticks are like mini lightning rods, we may have to cancel tomorrow's toss around. While I'm not officially calling it off, I am saying that if it is already raining/storming before 11:00 AM tomorrow, then don't bother showing up.
It saddens me to have to potentially cancel again. Sorry.

Some good news: Des Moines Register Article about the Valley Tigers Lacrosse Club.

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.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

3rd Toss Around!

Looks like Mother Nature is finally giving us the green light again! With a high in the 50s and only a small chance of rain late in the day, we are finally on for the third Central Iowa Lacrosse Toss Around! The first Toss Around went smashingly well and the second saw an increase in participation. I know that the third will improve upon both of those!
After patiently waiting for two weeks, we are set to take the field - er, a court - once again! For the best odds of missing the rain, we will meet at 11:00 AM on Saturday, March 7 at the Valley High Tennis Courts. Our turnout will dictate what kind of event we will have: if enough players should up with full pads, helmets, etc., then we may play a game of field (of course this requires Zach to bring the goals out!). Otherwise, we'll play our usual Ultimate Lacrosse. Since the ground should be fairly decent after this dry week (and so little melting snow left!), we might be able to play UL on the grass too. Depending on how many guys show up altogether, we may do a little of both or we may just vote/play it by ear.
As always, this event is open to anyone high school age or older. Please bring a friend - there may be an extra stick or two around - and let me know that you are coming. I look forward to seeing you on Saturday!

Gear Survey Results

About two months ago, I asked what kind of lax gear and equipment central Iowans owned. Now the results are in and it looks like several people have some gear. Granted the polls on this site are far from perfect - they don't give me any indication of age, for example - and the response numbers are not too high (19 for this poll), but it may be a fair assumption that not every central Iowa laxer reads this blog. This may be an incorrect assumption (and we all know what happens when you ass-u-me), but I choose to hope for wider interest in the sport.
Without further ado, here are the results:
13 players have more than one stick
5 players only have one stick
10 players have lax helmets
11 players have lax gloves
12 players have lax arm guards
9 players have lax shoulder pads
4 players are using hockey pads
and 1 guy has nothing (let's hope we can change that soon!)
I highlighted the guys with multiple sticks because I see this as an opportunity for growth. If those guys could try and bring out a friend for one of our toss around events, there is a chance that they will get hooked on the game. Then they would just need to buy their own sticks, pads, etc. to increase our numbers. The more players we have the better!
Remember, to participate in the rec activities, you do not have to comply with US Lacrosse registration and equipment guidelines, but you are playing at your own risk. Anybody who plays hockey at the Metro Ice Sports Facility is familiar with this concept anyway; I assume most adult rec sports leagues follow the same philosophy. Once we get a team together for official tournament and/or Great Plains Lacrosse League play, players will need to register with US Lacrosse and wear lax-specific equipment. Since that looks to be about a year away, there are no worries!
One thing I should mention is that since the poll closed, I have received some new lax-specific gear. I got gloves about midway through, but I have now received a helmet, shoulder pads, and arm guards. There will be a write up and review sometime in the next few days. Tonight will be the first night I get to use them!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Official Valley Lax Schedule (#16)

This is the official 2009 schedule for the Valley High School Lacrosse Club.
I want to draw your attention to Saturday, May 2 and Saturday, May9; there will be three home games at Waukee Stadium! Be sure to come check out the only active lacrosse team in the Des Moines metro area!!!!! Bring your friends, family, and anyone else that is marginally interested in lacrosse!
Thursday 3/12 @ West Des Moines
8:00 PM Orange vs. White Scrimmage
Saturday 3/21 @ Creighton Prep
11:00 AM vs MW
1:30 PM vs Prep
Saturday 3/28 @ Lincoln, NE
2:00 PM vs Lincoln
Sunday 3/29 @ Lincoln, NE
10:00 AM vs St. Thomas Aquinas
2:00 PM vs Papio LaVista
Saturday 4/18 @ Dodge Park
1:30 PM vs Knights
3:00 PM vs Burke
6:00 PM vs Lincoln
Saturday 4/25 @ Dodge Park
11:00 AM vs Knights
3:00 PM vs MS
Saturday 5/2 @ Waukee
11:00 AM vs Prep
1:30 PM vs Lincoln
Saturday 5/9 @ Waukee
1:00 PM vs Knights
Creighton Prep
7400 Western Avenue
Omaha, NE 68114
Dodge Park
11000 John J Pershing Dr
Omaha, NE 6811
University of Nebraska
Lincoln, NE
West Des Moines -Valley Stadium
4440 Mills Civic Pkwy
West Des Moines, IA 50266
Waukee Stadium
555 Southeast University Avenue
Waukee, Iowa 50263

Knights = River City Black Knights - Council Bluffs
Burke = Burke High School - Omaha
Prep = Creighton Prep - Omaha
Lincoln = Lincoln Rampage - Lincoln, NE
MN = Millard North - Omaha
MS = Millard South - Omaha
MW = Millard West - Omaha

Will You Be Coming to Any Valley Lax Games?

It's a fairly straightforward question - Do you plan to attend any of the Valley Tigers Lacrosse Club's games this spring? Most of the games are in Omaha, but there will be at least three games in West Des Moines on May 2 and May 9. Both days are Saturdays.
Remember, this is Central Iowa's only high school lacrosse team and it represents players from both Valley and Waukee high schools. Your support is very important and I ask that you put your personal school loyalties aside, don your orange and black, and come out in support of high school lacrosse in the metro! Getting more people in the stands will help spread interest and spreading interest could lead to further lacrosse opportunities for other high school students in the metro...
There have been some changes to the team's schedule. Most notably, the first games will no longer occur on March 14 due to Spring Break. Once the new dates, times, and opponents are given to me, I will post them here and on the Valley lax site. Thanks again for your support!

Monday, March 2, 2009

MLL - After the Economic Dust Settles Part 3

Phase 3
To continue to exist, the league will need to develop and maintain the best players possible. Pay will be a huge factor; salaries will need to shoot up drastically from the $13,000 average in order to keep players interested. Phase 1 addressed the league's finances, but the door is still open for other creative solutions.
Although the leagues currently compete against each other, partnering with the National Lacrosse League is a surefire way to build up professional lacrosse salaries. Some may scoff at this idea, but one only needs to look at the Toronto Rock and its extensive promotion of the recently announced Toronto Nationals team to see that a collaboration is possible. Angela Batinovich, the owner of the Portland LumberJax, has been trying to land a MLL team and even hosted the Philadelphia Barrage during their nationwide tour last year. This type of cooperation and/or co-ownership should be the standard rather than the exception in professional lacrosse.
My vision is that the MLL and NLL schedules do not overlap at all. In fact, there should be at least a month between the championship of one league and the opening games of the other. All rostered MLL players would be encouraged to play in the NLL. Ideally, the NLL would have two or three regional teams per MLL team so players could remain in one area. This would cut travel costs and anchor the player as a member of the local sports community. Players could hone their abilities in the indoor league and apply them to the outdoor game. The NLL experience would allow more players the chance to play professional lacrosse and increase the scouting of players from outside of the NCAA for the field game. That is not to say that the NLL would be a minor or developmental league at all; it would continue to serve as the indoor professional league.
-Further progression
Along with keeping players active in the NLL, adding a minor and developmental league system could be a good move for the MLL. At first this would be a smaller venture which focuses more on the developmental side than the true "minor league" concept. I envision it being constructed similar to the American soccer pyramid. Smaller and emerging lacrosse markets would field teams of MCLA, NCAA DII & DIII, and amateur players with a focus on improving their abilities in the "Developmental Lacrosse League." The coaches would be paid professionals and the players would receive the same benefits as their peers in soccer's Premier Development League. They are not paid to play and retain their college eligibility. Age restrictions would be enforced as they are in the PDL. DLL rosters would be comprised of regional players as much as possible but would include restrictions on the number of players per college program allowed on the roster (three players per school on a 20 player roster).
The DLL is not designed to replace the various amateur men's leagues around the nation. Its relationship with the current adult leagues would be similar to the relationship between the United States Adult Soccer Association and the PDL. The PDL sits higher than the USASA on the pyramid due to the professional coaching available to the experienced players with professional aspirations. Just as some PDL clubs are maintained by Major League Soccer and United Soccer Leagues teams, DLL teams could be maintained by MLL and NLL teams (although professional and contracted players would not be eligible for DLL play).
A few years down the road (as lacrosse participation in general grows - think 2025), the next step would be the implementation of a "Lacrosse Minor League." Unlike Minor League Baseball and the American Hockey League, the LML would not serve as a direct feeder to affiliated teams in the MLL with players going back and forth between the teams. Instead it would function like the Arena Football 2 and USL which contract their players for full seasons (the USL can loan or sell players to MLS clubs on specified dates, but players cannot go between the leagues regularly). This allows players on NLL rosters to continue to develop their field skills for a shot at joining the MLL in future seasons as well as to increase their playing time in the NLL. It also provides a chance for skilled players to continue playing the field game semi-professionally once they no longer meet the DLL criteria. Like most minor leagues, players would receive significantly smaller salaries than their MLL counterparts. Potentially, the LML could field twice as many teams as the MLL.
Establishing multiple levels of adult lacrosse means that a pyramid system would need to be devised (although the NLL and other box lacrosse leagues would be separate). It also provides for an cup competition open to teams from all levels of play, similar to the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup in soccer. Such a competition could boost participation and interest on a grand scale. MLL and possibly LML teams would have some automatic qualifications while DLL and the regional amateur leagues would have qualification tournaments. The cup would take place over the summer season and finish a week before the MLL playoffs. Unlike the LHUSOC, the lacrosse cup would be open to US, Canadian, and Iroquois teams, as would the various leagues.
Proposed North American Lacrosse Pyramid
1. Major League Lacrosse
2. Lacrosse Minor League
4. Developmental Lacrosse League
5. Regional Adult Amateur Lacrosse Leagues

Tribe 7