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July 9, 2014

Dispatches from Denver: Tournament's Eve

Sometimes, it's easy to be jaded when you're in the media. You usually have to put away your reaction of awe, because it gets in the way of relatively objective observation of things in order to tell the best story to your (hopefully multitudinous) readers. 

The local news media in Colorado Springs paid a visit to the Air Force Academy on Tuesday.

But then you find yourself standing on the sideline of an unofficial scrimmage on the eve of a world championship tournament between the Iroquois Nationals and Ireland, and watching a kid scoop a ball that had riccocheted wide off the post, only to look up and have Jeremy Thompson ask him for a "little help."

After completing the 20-odd yard connection to the former Syracuse and current Edmonton Rush star, you then catch the kid lean in and excitedly report to his dad, "I just passed the ball to a Thompson!" while the guys on the field get back to work on man-up/man-down for the tournament ahead.

Needless to say, as someone expecting his first child in less than two months, that was a nice thing to see. And it was nice to drop that whole "even-keeled-and-cynical-about-all-things" way we media get from time to time.

It's been a fun past couple of days for the Lacrosse Magazine team here in Denver, as Corey, Lane and I were joined by Matt DaSilva, Brian Logue and Paul Krome (though they're here more in a tournament management capacity) to help the final process of getting things ready for the eyes of the lacrosse world for the next two weeks.

A drizzly Tuesday morning saw us head over the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs to take in one of the final U.S. men's national team practices before tomorrow's opener against Canada. We speculated about who would be starting (based on who was running on what line), Corey chatted up Air Force coach Eric Seremet and we witnessed several kids from a club team in the area that Seremet invited get to meet their Team USA heroes in the academy's giant indoor practice facility. I literally thought -- and tweeted -- at the time that it could be a hangar for zeppelins.

We headed north to our home for the next two weeks, a hotel in Denver shared, incidentally for the entire span with the Iroquois Nationals and for last night with President Barack Obama, with whom a member of US Lacrosse's staff allegedly shared an early-morning workout. Late in the evening, word came through that Kevin Leveille had been voted by the team as solo captain.

Wednesday morning saw the first of what will be many trips up to Dick's Sporting Goods Park, to help set things up and get credentials passed out to the media who wanted to come up early and avoid the lines for tomorrow's opening ceremonies and the U.S.-Canada opener. I was struck by the sprawl of the place, but when you consider how many games it is going to host between the FIL World Championship AND the World Lacrosse Festivals around it, it needs to be.

I snapped a few photos (apologies for limited quality; I'm not a photographer and they were taken on an iPhone) from around the last two days, so check 'em out and be sure to keep up throughout the next two weeks when we'll keep you up to date on everything going on throughout the venue, on and off the field.

Practice between the Iroquois National Team and Ireland on Wednesday.

Tournament schedule and bracket signs between the FIL fields, just waiting for game results to add.

Members of Team USA greet some of the practice visitors at the Air Force Academy Tuesday.

There was no shortage of fans on hand to watch the Iroquois-Ireland practice/scrimmage.


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