Re-LAXing in SoCal

By The Beacon | March 20, 2012 9:00pm

BEACONFreshman midfielder Chris Timm fires an overhand shot during practice at Prusynski Pitch. Thought the Pilots went 0-3 during their time in Los Angeles, the trip was an important landmark for the young club lacrosse program under the tutelage of Head Coach Mike Wilkerson (Jackie Jeffers | The Beacon)

By Bruce Garlinghouse, Staff Commentary

Since I began college, there have been many reasons for lack of sleep with procrastination, finals and T-Rooming being the main culprits.

But on the first night of spring break, the sand man evaded me for a much different reason: excitement. Like that genuine, holy-crap-tomorrow-is-Christmas kind of excitement.

That next morning, 21 of my lacrosse bros and I were on our way to Southern California for a three-game swing against California State-Fullerton, Concordia University and Biola College.

This trip marked two important moments for both me and my bros.

First, I could die happy knowing I fulfilled my duty as an American by spending spring break in either Southern California, Mexico or Florida, and second, it was a legitimate step in progressing and validating the lacrosse program here at UP.

Club lacrosse is different than many club sports programs, especially on the West Coast. With the University of Denver and Air Force Academy fielding the only two NCAA Division 1 college teams west of the Mississippi River, club lacrosse is considered more than just a recreational outlet, but as a legitimate competitive force and is sometimes set on or close to the same level as varsity sports.

While our program is years away from being placed on that level, a trip to play solid competition was a huge step for a team that only won three games in its first two seasons.

When we touched down in sunny L.A. and the pilot told us it would be a "chilly" 65 degrees, most passengers threw on hoodies, but we took ours off, hoping to stock up on as much vitamin D as we could.

Then it was off to the hotel.

While playing is the best part of any team trip, the hotel is a close second.

Think of it as a dorm hall with no RA's, a hot tub and a pool.

And that is all I will say about what happened at the hotel. The rest is up to your imagination.

Because I find game coverage painfully boring, I will spare you of any and tell you that we lost all three games.

While I generally do not believe in moral victories, I realized afterward this trip was not about wins and losses, goals or assists.

It was about actually becoming a team, which by definition is a group of individuals working toward a common goal. Yes, the ultimate goal of any sport is to win, and obviously we did not achieve that goal, but failure often has a funny way of slapping you in the face and opening your eyes to the bigger picture.

Dinners, Jerry Springer viewing parties, go-karts, arcades and beach lacrosse are those intangibles that bring teams together just as much as wins and losses, even though they aren't recorded on paper.

We dedicate eight hours every week to advancing this program. We don't get free swag or pre-registration, and late practice hours mean we usually don't get home until 11:30 at night.

We lost every game. But when I look back on what we have accomplished in the last four years a Division Championship and a shot at a bid to the national tournament, I am proud to say I play lacrosse at UP.