A Day In The Life – New York Titans (2 Part Video)

With the exponential explosion and growth of the sport of lacrosse since the inception of the National Lacrosse League, I believe that many kids and families have come to a new realization. The realization that the dream of playing one day for a Professional Lacrosse Team may be a much more realistic goal than to play professionally in most other sports. I recently had the idea suggested to me to see what A Day in the Life of a Professional Lacrosse Player was really like. The suggestion came to me from a friend; the fortunate part for me was that this friend was one that could actually help me realize it and bring it to fans of the game and our site.

Paul Stewart is an Assistant Coach with the New York Titans and a fellow player in our local “Masters Lacrosse League” the last number of years. So when Paul mentioned that he had seen our site and had an idea for it, I was all ears. When I heard what he thought we could pull off, I immediately felt myself feeling like a kid that just got a great present that I never asked for and didn’t know I even wanted.

We’ve written a piece and grabbed a fair bit of video to chronicle what we call “A Day In The Life – New York Titans” style. That day was Saturday April 14 / 2007. It was the last game of New York’s inaugural season. The location was The Air Canada Centre and the opponent, the Toronto Rock.

Bernice graciously offered to sacrifice her position on this day to Marty so that we could capture as many photos as possible (you might say B took one for the team). You may have seen many of Marty’s photos already, and now we’ve got the video up as well.

Video Part 1

Morning Shoot Around (9:00 – 10:00 am)

So Saturday Morning, coffees in hand, Marty and I are on the road at 7:45 a.m. making the trek down to the ACC. We arrived, parked and met Paul at the pre-planned Gate around 8:30 and he took us down into the dressing room area. There we met Head Coach Adam Mueller along with Assistant Coach Randy Fraser and other Team Personnel. We sat in the Trainer’s room where goalies Matt Vinc and Erik Miller were getting dressed and spoke briefly with all. The players, almost all from the United States had flown in last night and were either already there or coming in as we did. After a few minutes we followed the team out onto the floor and viewed the Morning Shoot Around which lasted roughly an hour.

Film Session (11:00 – 12:00 pm)

After showering and changing the players and Coaches headed back to their hotel for lunch and the film session meeting. This was quite literally the only part of the day where our cameras were not allowed (in the film session). This is where the team and Coaches review their last few games as well as the games of their opponent on this day, the Toronto Rock. From the film session the Coaches develop strategies for what they want to accomplish in the upcoming game and discuss these strategies with the players.

Personal Time (12:00 – 5:00 pm)

This is the time of day where the players can pretty much do what they want. After speaking to a number of them most choose to stay in their rooms and many have an afternoon nap. Some might go shopping or check out the city that they are in. Marty and I chose to leave and go back home for the few hours, then make the trip back up later in the afternoon.

Meet Back at the Arena (5:00 – 5:30 ish)

At roughly 5:30 pm the team walked from their hotels over to the Air Canada Centre. Marty and I met back with them there and proceeded to the dressing room. We received our “Press Pass” to allow us access to the various areas for filming and pictures. We waited for 15-20 minutes while the players got ready for their pre game stretch and proceeded out to the floor where both New York and Toronto go through their pre game warm-up. I really noticed the intensity level and focus of players and Coaches alike at this point slightly increasing with each passing minute as the game got closer. The entire team, although already eliminated from playoff contention were physically and mentally preparing for the upcoming game.

Coach Mueller Addresses The Team

After the pre-game stretch and warm-up the Titans return to their dressing room and begin to put on their gear. While putting on all of their equipment, Head Coach Adam Mueller addresses the team with specifics for tonight’s game. It was interesting to hear some of the plan, which was specifically based on events that New York caught in the sessions. You will notice the discussions around Toronto possibly attempting to pull their Goalie and go 6 players against 5 during normal play. Ironically enough Toronto did this in the game.

Warmup

The Titans then head out onto the floor as the crowd slowly begins to gather in their seats for tonight’s contest. With the Toronto Maple Leafs having been eliminated from the NHL Playoffs and the Toronto Rock securing a Playoff spot if they win, a large crowd is being anticipated. Again the warm-up with pads is a little more intense and the pace is higher as well. It really feels in and around the team that everything is ramping up to the start of the game.

Video Part 2

Game Time – Player Intros

After a more intense warm-up with the pads on, the Titans return to their dressing room for more discussions with the Coaches, and last minute adjustments. Soon after, the Toronto Rock and New York Titans are introduced and take to the floor. Game time is only moments away.

The Canadian and U.S. National Anthems are performed and a Ceremonial Face-Off is held at center floor. The Canadian Ladies Under 19 Field Lacrosse Team is in attendance and a couple players; Janaye Dzikewich and Katelyn Mandeville assist with the Opening Face-Off between The Rock Captain Jim Veltman and New York’s Ryan Boyle.

Game Time!

Attendance

The attendance at tonight’s game is 16,045

Goal Highlights

There are many highlight goals on this night, but we selected only a few to post for this segment. A couple of young and upcoming stars of the game trade some really nice goals. Ryan Benesch of the Rock and Matt Zash of the Titans score a couple that we selected to show in the next video. With young stars like this, the future of the NLL looks real good.

Goalies

Quite possibly the most unrewarding position in lacrosse is that of the Goalie. However, in many cases the home town fans adore their local keeper. While many NLL games have very high scores, consider the number of odd man situations (Power Plays) and of course the number of shots most Goalies face each and every night. In many cases it is upward of 50 shots. On this night both keepers played well, and the video shows a sample of saves from Matt Vinc of New York.

4th Quarter

The score after three quarters Toronto – 10, and New York 8. Coach Mueller speaks to his team and gives some advice for the upcoming 4th quarter. Notice again the intensity in the players and the Coaches. This is the heat of battle, and it is down to one 15 minute quarter to determine the winner.

Game Winner

After a game tying goal by Matt Zash, we are deadlocked with less than 3 minutes to go. One of our guests in our “Ask The Pro’s” section of the site, Doctor Pat Maddalena notches the game winner after gathering up a loose ball and driving the net. From there the Titans are able to maintain possession of the ball to pretty much run out the clock and secure the win.

Game Over

As is customary at the end of each NLL game, the two teams line up and shake hands on a great entertaining game. While the Titans are exiting the playing surface, the Rock team acknowledge their loyal fans for their support on the 2006-2007 season.

In The Room After

Knowing that their season was already over, the Titans still gave every effort in tonight’s game and came out with a well deserved win. The team and Coaches in the room afterward are expectedly happy and reliving many highlights of the night. It is however very interesting to see the toll that it has taken on all (more so in the Coaches) with the constant high of the 60 minute game. While everyone in the room is jubilant, they are also now feeling the effects of being involved in the roller coaster of emotions for the past few hours.

After the game Marty and I were welcomed into the room yet again and chatted with many players and Coaches. Players and Coaches have food and drinks (having not really eaten since lunch). We were also invited to ride the bus with the team back to the hotel to drop off equipment. While most of the players chose to walk as the Hotel was so close, we accepted the offer and graciously boarded the bus. This gave us another chance to speak with the few players on the bus and Coach Mueller about the game. We even helped to haul some of the equipment off the bus and into the Hotel (we tried to pay our due somehow  ). At the hotel we spent some time with the players and Coaches, discussing many different aspects of lacrosse over some beverages. From there we then joined the team in travelling to a Toronto Rock sponsor’s location where many fans and Rock players gather after each game. Much more discussion was had, many more beverages were shared, and a great night eventually came to a close.

Summary

I’ve stated so many times that Lacrosse Players are simply great people. And this day just reconfirmed that point to me. In the day and age of Professional Sports personalities not always being the role models for our youth that we would like them to be, most lacrosse personalities are such a refreshing change.

We did not know any players on this team and were welcomed within minutes of arriving for our day. As the day went on, we became more comfortable (admittedly I was a little nervous not knowing what to expect), but the players and Coaches made it so easy for us to do what we were hoping to do.

Adam Mueller, Paul Stewart and the entire staff went out of their way to accommodate us the entire time, even after the game spending much more time with us when they themselves were exhausted. Understandably they were focused on something more important earlier.

As for the players, I was impressed with their energy and enthusiasm throughout the day, as well as their acceptance of us from the start. They were noticeably having fun, but very focused on the job to be done. What is very scary in the coming years about the New York Titans is that the majority of this young team are (recent) U.S. collegiate field players that are still learning the finer points of the indoor box lacrosse game. While their skills and athleticism are definitely there, they are still learning the differences between the game they’ve always played and the game many have not played very long. When they get a little more experience in the indoor game, they will be scary good! While the majority of Canadian players play Major Series Lacrosse in Ontario during the summer months, many of the Titans play in the Outdoor Field League in the United States.

In signing off Marty and I had an absolutely fabulous time. I cannot say enough how appreciative we are for the opportunity to have spent the day with the Titans, seeing their routines and preparation on game day. A big thank you from us at www.lacrosseinsidethegame.com to the entire New York Titans organization. We certainly enjoyed it and we hope you did too!

Marksy

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1 Comment

  1. great blog on the titans! they had every reason to roll over but unlike my team, came to play. more often than not, when an underdog takes it to an opponent that expects the win to be a foregone conclusion, you can smell upset.
    zash will be a player. he was the glue on that duke team. a classic throwback of a middie that have a history of producing box players. he’ll be one to watch for a number of years imho.


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