I am from Pittsburgh. It shouldn't take a whole lot to figure out what sport dictates my entire life. Football was, is, and always will be, my favorite sport.
College, however, has taught me something that I never expected. In my first 18 years of life, I was missing out on one of America’s most entertaining and enjoyable sports: NCAA Lacrosse.
Lacrosse has everything you could ask for in a sport, without it actually being football. It requires great athleticism, fluid teamwork, brute strength, natural instincts, team communication, and intelligence. It has the intensity and the potential for stunning individual dominance that a goalie can provide, and the entertainment and excitement of a creative, superstar scorer.
Just like the NHL and NBA, college lacrosse is in its playoffs right now, but unlike those two sports, I’ve been highly entertained by, and more importantly, driven, to care about the regular season.
Now, I might have been spoiled just a bit by being privileged enough to watch the top-ranked Syracuse Orange every week and their incredibly talented attacking and middy lines, but one of the best games I’ve watched in any sport this year was Maryland vs. Virginia, where Virginia won 10-9 in seven overtimes.
You all thought that the SU vs. U Conn six overtime game was one of the greatest and longest overtime battles in recent memory...and that’s just the regular season.
The playoffs (yes, this NCAA sport is smart enough to have a playoff system) should prove to be that much more intense. Top programs like Johns Hopkins, UVA, Duke, Maryland, and Syracuse are all battling for a title, and no one is heavily favored to win.
The two biggest turnoffs to lacrosse for me were not having a team to get behind and not understanding the game. The first is understandable, and unless you happen to be attending a university with decent lacrosse program, you might be hard pressed to find a team you can really pull for. But learning the basics of the sport really only takes one or two viewings, and with ESPN’s "Lacrosse 101" broadcasts, it really doesn’t take much.
So, if you’re like me and need another sport besides the major three (or four, counting hockey), to keep you entertained once the pigskin is done being tossed around, check out the best sport no one cares about. It's more than just a central New York thing.