TopOfTheCircle.com

Serving the scholastic field hockey and lacrosse community since 1998

Archive for September 19, 2018

Sept. 19, 2018 — Farewell to a valuable source

Three weeks ago, LaxPower.com closed its virtual doors, presumably for the last time.

LaxPower, which was a valuable resource for schedules of everything from scholastic to Division I contests in both genders and for the NCAA and NAIA alike, had been around in some form since 1997, having been started by Larry Feldman.

I got to be a semi-regular communicator with George Hollenbeck, who was the administrator of the girls’ high-school lacrosse portion of the website. It was he who aided me in figuring out the trend which saw an explosion in scoring with the imposition of technology in sticks and new rules in changing the way the game is played.

Through his command of the facts and figures of the game, I was able to figure out the different lay of the land when it came to comparing the game that Owings Mills McDonogh (Md.) dominated for a decade to the wooden-stick game played for most of the 20th Century.

LaxPower was not just a source of news and information, but also a substantial statistical picture of the game. Numerous states, such as New Jersey and Massachusetts, used LaxPower to seed postseason tournaments using the usual Ratings Percentage Index formula (1/4 your record, 1/2 your opponent’s records, and 1/4 the record of your opponents’ opponents).

Regrettably, a number of factors contributed to the demise of LaxPower. The biggest one was the corporate ownership of the site beginning a couple of years ago. That put the business onus onto making money, rather than inform the public for simple love of the game, so part of the site had a paywall on it.

(NB: It’s why TopOfTheCircle.com has never partnered with any school sports news publication; we’ve seen too many of them disappear without a trace. Anyone remember SportsHuddle, for example?)

But LaxPower had plenty of die-hard adherents, including communities of people who frequented the lively pHpBB discussion forums. Colorful characters with even more colorful nicknames dotted the space, and many of them displayed impressive wisdom.

I even remember one time when, during a Maryland-Virginia game, I noted that a UVA player left the penalty bench before her two-minute yellow card had expired and predicted the player would be sent off minutes before everyone else on the rail at the Lacrosse & Field Hockey Complex (including a couple of LaxPower denizens) realized what was happening.

For LaxPower forum users, the Final Four was always a great meetup, where stories got swapped about players past and present, and mostly from a neutral perspective (a couple of Maryland fans notwithstanding). Even though there are social media avenues that allow lacrosse fans to connect with others,  LaxPower was a unique community.

And I’m sad that it, and the site, are gone.

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