Dispatches from Denver: Arrival and a Visit with the USOC
Related: Photo Gallery from the Tour
Yes, Lacrosse Magazine has arrived for the FIL World Championship, landing at Denver International Airport on Monday afternoon, with myself, Corey McLaughlin and Lane Errington in the first wave, with Matt DaSilva coming shortly, along with a large contingent of the greater US Lacrosse world for the next two weeks.
Though the action begins on Thursday with the opening ceremonies and then a USA-Canada opener, our first leg brought us south of the city, to Colorado Springs where Team USA was doing its final preparations before heading to Denver for the tournament.
We arrived to find a crew of U.S. players including Paul Rabil, Jesse Schwartzman, Garrett Thul and Marcus Holman (who we nearly hit with our rental car backing out to grab some of the area's fantastic Mexican food for supper – sorry 'bout that) kicking around a soccer ball in the hotel's front drive.
After grabbing our food and donning some lovely team Nike polos and khakis to fit in, we followed the team bus out to the U.S. Olympic Committees Training Center, also in Colorado Springs.
After a couple of serious USA pump-up videos that covered moments of past Olympic glory, Keith Gabel – a bronze medal winning snowboard paralympian – got up and talked to the team about his experiences as a resident athlete with the training program, and what it means to play for your country.
The group than headed up on to the roof, where our hosts talked about the significance of being a part of the USOC family (with no small amount of commentary about how lacrosse will hopefully be under that umbrella as well – more on that angle coming soon from Corey McLaughlin), and Kevin Leveille was asked (as an honorary captain since the team has not yet selected captains) to light the Olympic cauldron on the roof, which then burned through the rest of the visit.
We then rolled down to the cafeteria where everyone got to dine with the resident athletes on all sorts of great, healthy food for hopeful Olympians – though since we had already eaten, it was kind of lost on us, though Lane and Corey did partake in some of the soft serve ice cream available – and then moved on with the rest of the tour.
On the way back out, we visited the facilities of the training center, including a gym that caused Dave Pietramala to quip about team trainer Jay Dyer's immediate jealousy (it was pretty ridiculous), and another quick stop at the torch, where US Lacrosse President and CEO Steve Stenersen had a few words for the guys, who then hopped back on the bus to catch some shut-eye before another day of practice out here in Colorado Springs.
We'll be out at that practice later and will be filing reports throughout the next two weeks as the FIL World Championship, presented by Trusted Choice, gets underway at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo.