by Hayden McClellan June 03, 2020
On our last post we left off with a quote from the legendary coach, Bill Tierney. He stated, “If I had my choice, I would have every player under the age of 12 play box lacrosse exclusively or at least the majority of the time.” The roots of that sentiment is continuing to spread and grab hold across the country as more players are beginning to play box lacrosse. The proof of that is in how many of the world’s top players, at the peak of their game, are diving into box lacrosse. In today’s post we will look at a few of the many players who have or are crossing over and their perspective on why it is a valuable decision for all players.
When I was growing up here in the Portland area, we were fortunate to have a professional box lacrosse team for a period of time called the Lumberjax. This was exciting as I had little knowledge of the ins and outs of box, but knew that lacrosse was in the name, and it was at the professional level. What really sparked my interest was when I discovered that Ryan Powell was on the roster. He represented the pinnacle of outdoor lacrosse at Syracuse which was the team that when I had the rare chance to watch lacrosse on TV, was usually featured. Having him play both styles of the game and be an advocate for both was an important first step in mainstreaming the game for me and a lot of others in the area.
These days, that torch has been passed to many more players in a variety of ways. The two that standout to me are Tom Schreiber and Rob Pannell. They are arguably the two best players in the world right now. While neither grew up playing indoor, they have both made the transition in their professional careers. Pannell made his box debut in 2017 for the US Box lacrosse team after accruing numerous accolades in the Major League Lacrosse MLL) the past five years. This was significant as he was already at the height of his game, but felt he could learn and grow by playing indoor.
Tom Schreiber is no stranger to honors himself having won the MLL MVP award twice since 2014. In 2017, he began playing in the National Lacrosse League (NLL) after never having played box lacrosse at any level. His rookie year, he won Rookie of the Year overwhelmingly. That success did not come without lessons learned and frustrations. When asked his approach to box despite his lack of experience he responded with, “I take the attitude that I’m always learning, but I don’t think that’s specific to box or field. In improving as a player, no matter if you’re a youth player or a 15-year pro, the moment you stop trying to learn and improve, is the moment you’re going to stop growing as a player”.
I think those are wise words all players should heed, as it’s important to continue to push the limits of your game and express creativity in how you play. Box lacrosse is an option that is continuing to grow its presence for younger players and become more available unlike past generations. It’s clear that the top players in the world see value in playing box and wish they would have sooner. It can be a vastly different game than the outdoor version that the majority of players in the United States are accustomed to. But take it from the best in the game, box lacrosse has a lot to offer in development and growth as a player – plus, its fun. As Schreiber also said, “I think the continued exposure of young Americans to the box game will create a really exciting player”.
Interested in trying it out? Check out our upcoming league at the link here!