It’s the stick, stupid!
Most of the time, I don’t struggle with what to write about in this column.
Before I sit down to write, I usually have some sort of anecdote – or at least an opinion – in mind that ties in with the cover story topic.
But I have to admit, I was a bit stumped heading into this week.
That was until I took a quick 24-hour jaunt this past weekend to Atlanta to visit my father, who told me about a conversation he’d recently had with my brother.
My brother, three years my elder, it seems, has found himself coaching lacrosse at the high school level. He’s coached wrestling, track, cross country and soccer – sports he participated in as a high schooler. But, he’d found himself instructing athletes in a sport he’d never competitively laced ‘em up for, and expressed his doubts, but Dad did his fatherly duty and told him he had no doubt that he could perform the job admirably.
Lacrosse was not totally foreign to my brother, however, as his young sons (my nephews) have been playing the fast-pace sport for a couple of years.
In fact, that’s when the little light bulb went on in my head as I sat with my brother and nephews having breakfast at Waffle House on Sunday morning. I was struggling with what to write about as this week’s cover story takes the look at the birth of NCAA lacrosse right here in Horry County.
But I remembered this past summer while at my brother’s house in Georgia, we got out in his yard and played some makeshift lacrosse, tossing the ball around, shooting on the net, etc. I found that I could hum the little ball pretty well using the stick outfitted with a little net/webbing on the end, but I couldn’t, for the life of me, catch that li’l sucker with said net. Which confounded me, because I’m pretty good at using a baseball mitt and can catch a football fairly well, too. Lacrosse, it seems, ain’t as easy as it looks.
But I still don’t know much about lacrosse – other than I have noticed its popularity spreading along the Grand Strand – yet I don’t have to because we dispatched correspondent Christina Knauss, who previously authored our cover story back in September taking a look at the state of women’s athletics at Coastal Carolina University, to get in on the ground level as the Conway university gears up for the official launch of its latest intercollegiate sport.
And the sport - lacrosse - is being launched by females, becoming the school’s ninth women’s athletic team, outnumbering the men by one.
Is this part of Title IX compliance? Isn’t it a game played at snobby, elitist schools in the Northeast - and why has it made its way South?
Who are these chicks wielding mean sticks?
Will CCU’s launch of women’s lacrosse boost the sport’s profile across the Grand Strand?
And how the heck do you play it - and watch it - anyway?
For the answer to these burning questions and more, go to our homepage for Knauss’s in-depth report.
And if you haven’t noticed, today is Valentine’s Day. If it snuck up on you and you still haven’t made plans with your sweetheart, be sure to check out Becky Billingsley’s An Open & Shut Case which features many romantic dinner-for-two options being offered by local eateries.
Besides Valentine’s Day and its inherent influx of lovers (and haters), you may notice some fit looking folks literally running around Myrtle Beach this weekend. That’s because the 16th annual Myrtle Beach Marathon - and various side events throughout the weekend - is happening. Unless you’re participating in the marathon or spectating, it’s probably a good idea to avoid the race corridor - Ocean Blvd., Kings Highway and the northern portion of Grissom Parkway - between 6 a.m. and noon on Saturday - the race starts at 6:30 a.m. For more details, go to www.mbmarathon.com. And what’s a major event without an after-party? Fear not, if you want to mingle with the runners, there’s a post-marathon throw down set for Saturday evening at the House of Blues music hall on Saturday, prior to the Styx concert. It’s a 21-and-older par-tay and is free for marathon participants and volunteers, $20 for socialites. It features free food and drinks from 5-7 p.m. Saturday, and a performance by local funk-rock act Painted Man.
Kent Kimes, Editor