The new rules have been out for a while now, were in use for most teams all fall, and have even been fully described in the new 2013 Men’s College Lacrosse Rule Book! While the impacts have been relatively minor, they have also been noticeable. However, they have not intrinsically changed the game we love all that much, as so many many seemed to fear.
So can we stop complaining about the new rules already and just get back to playing lacrosse?
There will always be some guy out there complaining that he gets less reps because of the sideline horn changes. Or there will be a goalie out there who thinks the game has changed completely now that he can’t chase EVERY shot that misses the cage and still get a 5-second grace period to get back in the cage. I’ve come to expect it. Some coach will hate the new face off violation rules, and yet someone else will bring up the topic of the stick stringing rules…
Wait, what? People are still complaining about the stick stringing rules? I literally might have a stroke right now.
The other rules are up for debate I guess, as we haven’t seen them play out for a full season, but the stringing rules? That seems like a lost cause, and a total loser of an argument, for a number of reasons.
First off, if you watched even ONE fall NCAA scrimmage or practice this year, I believe that you saw how the stick stringing changes were actually a good thing. I’ve yet to hear or see even a shred of reasonable doubt there. Players weren’t dropping passes. Guys could still shoot. Slick stick skills were still on display. A few more turnovers might have been generated, and we didn’t see as many “dodge through an entire defense” plays on offense. How is ANY of that a problem? To me, it just looked like great, entertaining lacrosse, and it was still very similar to last year.
So what did this rule change actually do, if it wasn’t a huge game changer, and why are people still complaining about it? To answer that question, first we need to look at what the deep channel pocket, Us, and Vs were good for. They were good for two things, and two things only:
1) Looking “good”
2) Turning mediocre players, who were good athletes, into good players, by giving them a black hole of a lacrosse stick.
OK, lets address point 1 first. It’s true, you can’t look as good as you used to… but don’t worry about that. Fashion changes regularly, and two straight shooters will be the look du jour in no time.
Just kidding. Point 1 is so meaningless it’s not even funny. Looking good, in the end, means absolutely nothing. It’s just something fun and additional on top of the game itself to pass the time. No more Vs in my sticks? Cool, time to get creative again, not hit the pillow crying.
Now let’s look at point 2…
You see the only person who could truly hate the new stringing rules is someone who doesn’t have faith in their own stick skills, or that of their team. Skilled D1 players have adjusted easily to the new rules, and D3 players I’ve spoken to have very few complaints, if any. It seems like most of the players don’t even care that much about the new rules… so why are some people still making a stink about this?
Because there is that group out there, and they know the benefit in ball retention that a deep channel and two Vs gives a player, and they simply can’t imagine playing the game without it. Instead of playing wall ball and adjusting, these guys want to use their old magic stick. They want the deep hold, with sidewalls pinching the ball tightly. They want the stacked wall of shooters, or some stacked Vs to let them do things their actual skills don’t yet allow for. Basically, they want to be better without putting in the work. It’s almost like cheating.
I can see how hard this year could be on those guys. But I don’t feel much pity for them. Lacrosse is a game of skill, and some of the pocket stringing techniques were getting away from that. Sure, the sticks look different from how they used to, but you still get to play the game, and the best of the best will still have to put in the work.
Complaining about the new stick stringing rules might make you feel better, but it won’t do a darn thing to help your game.
Of course then there is blaming Quint… and, well, that’s just unreasonable. If he is such a big supporter of the MLL, and their fast pace of place, why doesn’t he complain about their deep pockets, U shooters and narrow heads? If I remember correctly, Quint’s focus is usually on the shot clock. Oh, and also, he had nothing to do with the rule changes. Last time I checked those decisions came from the coaches, the rules committee and NCAA, not Quint’s on-air pontification.
Did Dick Vitale get the NCAA to move the three point line back a foot in 2007? No!?!?!? Then let’s not blame Quint for the new stick rules. Also, an explanation of WHY this rule change is actually a bad one, instead of just blaming someone at random, might help make the case a bit stronger.
For now though, the case of the 2013 stick rules is closed. It’s all fine, and good lacrosse players across the country will adjust and man up. A select few will complain and seek to place blame for things they hate blindly but isn’t that always the case? It’s almost time to play college lacrosse… let’s just get excited for that.