As recently reported by SB Nation’s college lacrosse website, ESPN lax announcer Eamon McAnaney recently groused:
We're wasting time here with the sport as far as growing it. These games are outrageously good, and there's no place to put them. . . . I was watching the Virginia-Drexel game on my phone, and there's no one there. The field's surrounded by snow. . . . You're missing a huge opportunity to generate interest in the sport when you're playing all of these games, and they might as well be played in Siberia.
I see McAnaney’s point, but I respectfully disagree. There is a place to put college lacrosse games in February . . . in the South.
After more than 4,400 spectators attended last June’s Major League Lacrosse showdown between the Boston Cannons and the Rochester Rattlers in Kennesaw, Georgia (in the venue that will host this year’s MLL Championship Game), the metropolitan Atlanta area became a desirable destination for major college lacrosse, as well. A good crowd was on hand when two top ten Division I women’s lacrosse teams met in Kennesaw on February 9, and Syracuse will face St. John’s there on March 8.
Even though Atlanta has been shut down by inclement weather twice this winter, the South remains an hospitable site for outdoor sports in the early months of the year. I was in Athens for the opening day of Georgia lacrosse season, and, although it was chilly, the conditions were more than bearable. The University of Georgia, which is well-situated to excel in lacrosse, is working to grow the game by playing SELC contests at Atlanta-area high schools and teaching younger players. That the Peach State is a developing area for the nation’s fastest-growing team sport is attested to by the fact that Syracuse All-American and MLL standout Liam Banks relocated to the Atlanta area to grow the game.
The solution, therefore, is not to take the approach used by college baseball in delaying the start of the season for everyone, but to move more early-season outings to our part of the country. I agree with Eamon McAnaney that these games are outrageously good, but there is a place to put them, and it’s right here.
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