On Saturday, Jan. 9, another season of Toronto Rock lacrosse starts. The Rock travel to Boston to take on the Blazers. Happily, the game will be televised on TSN2.
As many of you know, I am a die hard lacrosse fan. I believe that lacrosse is the very best of sports, and to play lacrosse well means that one is a superior athlete. Lacrosse goes by two impressive nicknames, derived from its aboriginal roots: "The Little Brother of War" and "The Creator's Game." When I learned about the Major Indoor Lacrosse League many years ago, I was absolutely stunned at the popularity of the game. When Toronto entered the league, as the Ontario Raiders, in 1998, I was tremendously happy. The Rock went on to win 5 championships in 7 years, and were hailed as a success story. They have since fallen on hard times, finishing out of the playoffs for the last 3 years.
Now, with the opening of the season mere days away, the Rock are talking proud again. They are under new ownership, a new coach with proven success, a new general manager who is a legend in the game. They have re-acquired two players from their glory days, Kim Squire and Colin Doyle, the defending league scoring champ. Doyle has been recently named captain.
Understandably, Rock fans have applauded all these moves. The talk now is of a return to the glory of championship years. But talk is cheap. Every team starts out on equal footing at the start of a season. What matters is what you do on the floor. And the Rock, in my mind, have several question marks. The most important question is whether Doyle can still bring it. He is still young, at the prime of his game and is coming off a tremendous season last year. But he is only one man. The Rock still depend on an ageing goalie, a mediocre defence and a transition game that was non-existant last year. In this league, transition is the most important aspect of the game. The problem was not addressed in the off-season.
So, it comes down to this: will action speak louder than words? If talk could win championships, the Rock would be hoisting another pennant to the rafters of the ACC. It's been my experience that tough talk at the start of a season is really a mask for inadequacies that will be all too apparent later on. I'm worried that my fears will be proven to be true in about 3 weeks. Let's hope I'm wrong.
No more talk, Rock. Go out and compete and prove your words !!