Unless you are an ostrich, with your head in the sand, you have seen the Paul Rabil ESPN Sports Science video by now. It runs around the televised D1 games on ESPN2 and ESPNU. It’s a cool video and the numbers they come up with via some science are really quite staggering. But if you look closely, it’s not ALL about the digits and the science here.
In fact, if you’re really paying attention, you might even catch something SO amazing that your socks will get blown right off your feet! Have a watch if you haven’t already:
WOW. Did you see that? I know, unreal, right? Oh, you missed it? Well look at the 1:07 mark and watch through to the 1:11 mark. Did you see it that time?
I am NOT talking about Rabil’s shaft magically changing colors from white to black. That’s just some fancy camera work. But the change in color DOES signal the amazing thing that probably happened, and it’s how this AMAZING feat was discovered.
Still can’t see what I’m talking about? Ok, then watch this super slowed-down version of the video:
Now you can definitely see what happened. Paul Rabil took a shot and literally BROKE the shaft in two solely by using the power his own body could generate. Um, WHAAAAAAAAAT?
When Rabil’s shaft is black, it’s a Swizzle. but I have no idea what kind of shaft he was using when the shaft was white. So I can’t say WHAT shaft he was able to break just by shooting with it. But even if it’s just an aluminum shaft, that’s still incredibly impressive. He didn’t bend it. It didn’t bend and then snap. It just split in half because of the bending (and not shear force, thanks Engineer Lee) force Rabil puts on it. Or it’s just the end cap coming off.
So do you think he broke the shaft with his shot? Is the Zapruder work impressive? Or is it just smoke and mirrors and I’ve been had? I mean, it does look like just an end cap sometimes.
And this brings me to a couple of BIG gear questions!
As lacrosse athletes get bigger and stronger, will the technology used to make equipment need to improve greatly to deal with the extra force players are able exert? Will we see an MLL or college player break a lacrosse shaft in mid-shot during a game soon? Will “shaft snapping” become a regular occurrence in our sport?
If Paul Rabil can break a shaft just by SHOOTING with it, maybe this is a sign that we need more heavy duty equipment. Or maybe lacrosse could end up like hockey, a sport in which players go through countless shafts each season. What do you think?
All video and screen grabs in this post are from ESPN’s youtube page.