For years, philosophers have wondered if a tree makes a sound when it falls in the forest and there is nobody around to hear it.
After watching Army defeat Syracuse, 9-8, on May 16 in the first round of the NCAA lacrosse tournament, I have to ask myself if the game can be considered one of the biggest upsets in collegiate playoff history if nobody talks about it afterwards.
The bigger question is what the indifference regarding this historic result says about the actual growth of lacrosse in the United States.
Syracuse went into the game as the two-time national champion and the No. 2 seed in the tournament. The Orange had won six national titles since the year Army last won a game in the NCAA tournament. Syracuse had won 14 games in a row at home.
Going in the match, Syracuse was 22-1 in the Carrier Dome during playoff competition. Syracuse had won 14 of the last 15 times the two teams had met overall.
When David defeated Goliath, David's slingshot was graced by God. With the odds stacked against Army, their slingshots might as well have been designed by BP.
The Orange thought they were making a smart play when they double teamed Jeremy Boltus after he made a run to the left side of Syracuse's goal. However, Boltus saw an unguarded Devin Lynch streaking toward the Syracuse crease, and a perfect pass enabled Lynch to deposit the ball in the top right corner of the net with just 5.7 seconds remaining in double-overtime.
Given the perceived chances Army had in winning before the game commenced, the victory should have immediately became an instant classic.
The Black Knights had trailed Syracuse by as many as four goals, and the game-winning tally marked the only time Army led the entire game.
A funny thing happened on the way to the sports forum—nothing.
The day after the epic victory, people heard the name Devin Lynch and immediately thought of Nicholas Brendon's character on Criminal Minds, which is actually Kevin Lynch.
Even sports fans would guess that Jeremy Boltus is the name of a heavy metal singer way before an Army lacrosse player would come to mind.
Lacrosse is suppose to be a growing sport in America, and in many cases it is. 60 schools now play NCAA Division I lacrosse.
Even the state of Florida has a team at Jacksonville University that plays at the highest level. High school players from states like Oregon, California, Washington, Texas, and Georgia play at major programs.
Despite playing against Bryant in 36-degree weather in front of 153 fans, the Black Knights averaged more people at their lacrosse games than their basketball games.
The hurdle that lacrosse is struggling to clear is media attention. ESPNU has increased the visibility of collegiate lacrosse, but other members of the ESPN family and other media outlets will only discuss lacrosse when off-the-field problems exist.
The same people that gave daily reports on the Duke lacrosse story back in 2006, and the murder of a women's lacrosse player at Virginia earlier this month are the same individuals that didn't mention that the men's team at Virginia won the ACC Tournament and is ranked first in Division I.
It is difficult for lacrosse to reach a wider audience if all people hear are negative stories that have nothing to do with the actual playing of the sport.
Until the powers at sports media outlets hire individuals that love and understand lacrosse, accomplishments like Army's defeat of Syracuse will remain to be a tiny blip on the radar screen.
That is, of course, assuming there isn't a riot or tragedy at the event.
Photo Credit: Syracuse.com
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