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- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
I went out to get my paper this morning and found my neighbor Dalton instead.
He was slumped on my stoop, looking as though he'd slept under a marching band. His eyes sported five-pound bags, his right hand was bandaged and bloody, and his face was sunk like a bad souffl�.
"My God!" I said. "What happened to you? You look like a 20-car funeral!"
"Youth lacrosse happened to me," he grumbled. "The Competitive Elite Lacrosse League. My little Ashley made one of those 'travel teams.' Pray it never happens to you, dude."
He explained. "See, I really never thought Ashley was all that hot at lacrosse, and she's only 14. But when she made this competitive team, all the parents said it was a big honor. They said it's the only way to make your high school varsity, and it's the road to a scholarship, and it looks great on your r�sum�.
"I'm not even sure Ashley wanted to do it. But all of her friends made it, so she just had to do it. What was I gonna do? Tell my little girl no?
"Next thing you know, I'm writing a check for $1,500. Then it turns out, they practice or play seven days a week on these things. And it's clear across town, so pretty soon I'm standing on the sidelines every day of the week.
"My wife can't do it 'cause she has to take Justin to hockey every day. Why an eight-year-old nearsighted kid needs a 42-game schedule is beyond me. What is he, Wayne Gretzky? Plus there's pylon camp and forecheck camp and backward-skating lessons with his personal coach, Hans.
"So pretty soon I got no life. Family dinners? Forget it. Every meal is in the car--righthanded Taco Bell. I almost never see my wife awake. When I do, I have to ask for I.D.
"Then this lunatic lacrosse coach schedules an extra 6 a.m. practice every day. It's like the old bottle-feeding days. I'd be like, 'I got her last time. You get her.' And Denise would moan, 'I had to stay up for Midnight Madness last night. Your turn.' Then, at night Ashley is so tired, we end up doing her dang homework! And we're gettin' C's!