TopOfTheCircle.com

Serving the scholastic field hockey and lacrosse community since 1998

Feb. 25, 2016 — The last resort?

Last weekend, the Oregon women’s lacrosse team traveled to the the Ultimate Soccer Arena in Detroit to play against the host Detroit Mercy lacrosse program. The score on the pitch finished with the Ducks winning 17-13.

But what is raising eyebrows is a media offensive on the part of the Detroit Mercy coaching staff, protesting the lack of umpire sanctioning of bookable offenses during the game.

The tape, as posted on the website Deadspin today, does not lie. At least one of these stick fouls would have resulted in a multi-match ban in other athletic endeavors. The stick is being used as a weapon against a defenseless player.

But let’s take a step back here. The Mountain Pacific Sports Federation did hand down a one-match suspension to the offending player, close defender Jackie Moccia.

I’m not 100 percent sure whether the release of the video and a rather pithy quote to Deadspin — a sports website with sometimes an unvarnished view of athletic competion — was meant as a protest against the lack of a harsher suspension, or whether the coaching staff under Laura Maness doesn’t think the mainstream lacrosse media would take them seriously.

To be sure, this was violent conduct, and Maness — who has made it a mission to start lacrosse programs, whether in West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, or on the mean streets of Detroit — was in the mode of game preservation, and wanted to get the attention of anyone who would listen.

“[W]e decided it would be best to share the video on social media to bring to light the importance of safe play, and to try to preserve the integrity of the game that we love,” she told Deadspin.

To a degree, she’s right. With the proliferation of the sport nationwide, it’s been difficult to find enough qualified coaches and umpires to teach how to conduct the game safely.

I know it is a particularly difficult to find game officials in many parts of the U.S., but it doesn’t have to be that way. If you see in your local paper a call for lacrosse officials, and you are a recent graduate, perhaps umpiring might be in your future. Take them up on it.

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