March 30, 2007

March 30, 2007

The following Fan Zone interview appears in the April 2007 issue of Inside Lacrosse.

As a lockdown defenseman with a bruising physical style, Jack Reid made a name for himself in helping lead UMass to its first-ever NCAA championship game in 2006. For his efforts, he was named a first team All-America, and was selected in the first round (10th overall) by the Rochester Rattlers in 2006 MLL Collegiate Draft. Reid appeared in nine games for the Rattlers in his rookie year, notching two goals and an assist while scooping up 25 ground balls. More recently, Reid was selected in the first round (10th overall) by the Rochester Knighthawks in 2006 NLL Entry Draft. A longtime field player, Reid's box skills will be put to the test when he makes his NLL debut on December 30 against defending champion Colorado. Whether it's about the Minutemen's run in the NCAA tournament, his gameday superstitions, the transition to playing box lacrosse, or anything in between, ask him your questions now and it could appear in a future issue of IL.

Byron Farquharson from Long Island, New York wants to know: What aspects of your game do you feel make you an incredible defenseman and how will they help you in playing lacrosse in the NLL?

My game has always revolved around picking up loose balls. That was key to making my varsity team, starting as a freshman at UMass and in my rookie year in the MLL. My goal is to pick up enough loose ball plays during the game to offset the mistakes I am going to make from my lack of experience.

Casey wants to know: Jack, what are some of your favorite takeaway checks that you use to get the ball away from an opposing player?

With my height and long arms I have always been a big fan of going over the head. As my career progressed I spent more time practicing back checks on every change of direction as well. It is a vulnerable time for attackmen and an opportune one for throwing checks.

Marty Joyner from Fairfax, Virginia wants to know: Given the success of the NLL, do you think more American players should play the box game at a younger age?

I think it would benefit the outdoor game because the skills required to play indoor really focus on precision and a great awareness of your surroundings. Both are strengths that are not as highly valued in the outdoor game but would benefit all field players tremendously.

Conor Searles from Chalfont, PA wants to know: What was it like playing defense against all of the top attackmen in the country during your run to the NCAA championship game?

A challenge is a great way of defining character and throughout our run in the playoffs I was forced to prepare for some of the best attackmen in the game. As a defenseman it can be tough to judge a performance, but although we didn't win the national championship, I was glad I had the opportunity to challenge myself at such an elite level.

Bret Egg Murph from "Strong Island" wants to know: Before I asked you a question I wanted to do some research on how you play and the specific things you do on the field. I try to emulate your game with my physical style. However my real question is, during my research I found out you play Dance Dance Revolution at the mall with your college friends. Is this true or just a joke?

Sean Morris is a jealous little man because he could never win a game of Halo in college. So as a way of getting even with me he decided to lie to the world about my video game habits. Truth is when the house techno starts kicking my moves in a club would make a Dance Dance Revolution station explode.

Greg Scott from Fairfield, CT wants to know: Jack - You are my favorite player in all of lacrosse. I even have your autographed jersey framed hanging up in my room. I also listen to the same heavy metal music you do. I just have one question. I would like to know what your pre-game rituals are and how they help you.

As I got older I tried to get rid of many of my pregame superstitions. I did maintain a consistent routine for getting ready because I felt that if I made that part of my game day second nature I would be able to prepare for unsettledness on the field. I have used the same eye black style since my freshmen year of football, but the most important part was the black leg band I would put on before my cleats. UMass players wear one for Eric Sopracasa who was killed during practice. It is a remembrance for a fellow brother and a tribute to his impact on the UMass program.

Jason Landis from Louisville, KY wants to know: What was it like for people to have such low expectations for the Minutemen's season, and to exceed all of them and make it to the championship game?

Everyone wanted to show the lacrosse community that we played some of the best lacrosse in the nation and each week, as our confidence grew from success, I think more and more players on our team began truly believing that we could make a run.

Melanie Monroe from Amherst MA wants to know: Jack, very excited to have you in Rochester and look forward to watching you play. I was a big fan of yours at UMass. My question is, how are going to transition from using a long shaft to now having to play with a short stick? Is this going to be a difficult transition?

Constant practice will be key to learning how to handle my new wand. I take a lot of time at night to practice some of the finer skills and work on my accuracy because the holes to hit in the NLL are so much smaller.

Pat from Rochester wants to know: How do you handle living so far away from Rochester and traveling to practice on a weekly basis?

Time management is essential to being able to complete my full-time duties for Cascade as well as arrange and travel back and forth to Rochester. Due to the distance it has made making every practice up north difficult.

Thankfully, I have kind-hearted veterans such as Patty Cougevan book all of my travel arrangements and chauffer me to Canada and back on a routine basis.

B-randon from USA wants to know: First off, I'd like to say congrats on a great senior year at UMass, and also a great rookie year in Major League Lacrosse. My question is, how did you narrow down your top college choices and why did you choose UMass over other colleges?

I tried not to close any doors as I went through the process at the advice of Mario Lopez. Virginia had been my first choice but they were demanding that if I wanted to play for them, I would have to commit in the summer of my junior year before I had a chance to see any of the other colleges. I felt it was more important to view all of my options and settle on the one that fit my needs the best. In the end UMass felt like the best fit because of the attitude carried by the program, the family-like bond shared by the team, and the quality of the coaching staff.

James Chode A.K.A " The Python" from Reno, Nevada wants to know: Mr. Reid - You are the best defenseman I have ever seen play the game. We out here in Reno love you and your style of play. I am a younger player who is about to enter high school. How can I separate myself from all of the other defenseman out there?

Communication is one of the most important aspects to a defensive unit and is something that all players can practice and succeed at it. It will help you stand out on the field whether you're playing your best game or not and is something all college coaches notice.

Jake Slaughters from Dallas, TX wants to know: Were there specific drills, routines, or things you did to elevate your game as a defenseman? Thanks, Jack.

I spent four years working hard on the weights but it was my attention to my foot speed that paid off the most. Ladder drills, jumping rope and running agilities helped me develop the ability to cover ground quickly. This allowed me to have the recovery speed to dominate someone like Sean Morris all year.

Dan Whipple and Doc Schneider and Brian Jacovina from UMass Lacrosse Team wants to know: Dear Jack, we actually have a few questions we would like to have answered. We have learned a lot from you through the years from playing alongside you on the battlefield. Do you still wear your sunglasses in the training room before your MLL games? And if so, why? Why do you insist on wearing a black "jock" instead of the traditional Boyden-issued white "jock"? This next question is a three part question. Who do you think is the best midfielder you have played with? (Brian Jacovina? ;-) best LSM (Dan Whipple? ;-) and best goalie? (Doc Schneider? ;-). And last but not least, whose tattoo would win in a fight? Your gorilla, Doc's lizard or Whipple's minuteman?

I still rock the sunglasses and it is because I feel I am better able to reflect on my preparation going into a game. I like the color black because I think it represents someone who is on his way to work, the blue collar lunch pail attitude. Best midfielder would hands down be Brian Jacovina; his large physical presence was a pleasure to watch. Dan Whipple would get my vote for LSM because his girlfriend treats me so well and Doc was OK but I still think he almost cost us that Maryland game. As for the tattoo, I am pretty sure we all know the answer. Obviously Lord Farquaad (Whipple's tattoo bares no resemblance to the Capital One Bowl Mascot of the Year runner-up Sam the Minuteman) on Whipple's shoulder would beat both the lizard and the gorilla, though in a cage match I might have to give the gorilla the advantage.

Marc from philadelphia wants to know: What does it feel like to be a professional lacrosse player? Has this been your dream since you were a kid or were you just doing something you love and something remarkable happened?

Playing professionally is a great opportunity that developed as my career progressed. I remember watching Mario Lopez playing in the MLL when it started my senior year but never did I plan on playing until opportunities actually began to develop.

Zach Smith from Rochester, New York wants to know: Do you think you will see a lot of playing time this season with the Knighthawks?

The organization has provided me a great opportunity to learn the game and is going to give me a chance to show what I can do in some games early in the season. It will be up to me to earn regular playing time but I think I have progressed well to this point. As the season progresses I think I can contribute and help the K-Hawks win.

Knabber from The ROC wants to know: Jack, you've now had a taste of the Rattlers Rowdies and the Knighthawks Krew in Rochester. 1) Besides a few of us accidentally calling you Jake for the first couple of Rattlers games, how do you compare the fans in Rochester to other cities you've experienced in the NCAA, MLL and NLL? 2) Do you have any intent to head north next summer and sharpen your box skills in the Ontario Lacrosse Association during Rattlers season as Regy and Scott have done?

The Rowdies treated us very well last summer and I am hoping as people hear more about our new stadium their attendance will continue to grow. When Patek Park is filled like it was on the opening night it is a great place to play. That being said the fans at UMass are some of the best in the game and make Garber Field one of the most miserable places to visit as an away team. As for traveling to play up north, it is not in my plans currently but I wouldn't go so far as to say it would never happen. A lot would depend on the situations and my ability to make the travel.

Kevin from Holden, Massachusetts wants to know: I was wondering if you could recommend any exercises for d-men for the upcoming season?

Hit the jump rope, speed ladder and agility drills like the Princeton drill.

Fred Fame from madison, CT wants to know: I heard you shred the guitar like you do your opposing attackmen. Is that true?

Shred might be a bit of an overstatement, but I have been trying to learn and expand my musical capabilities. It is a process and an exercise in learning how to be more patient.

Jamie from Va. wants to know: Who do you think is harder to cover in a one-on-one situation, Matt Ward or Sean Morris?

Without question Sean is the more difficult of the two. His athleticism and skills make it difficult to stop him one-on-one and his willingness to share the ball makes him a complete player. There were not many defensemen that could be successful without face guarding him.

Dick Murtaugh from Manahawkin, NJ wants to know: Hey Snake! Congrats on the Minutemen's season last year! Well, let's talk about indoor. How much of a transition is it for you to go form the wide outdoors to the narrow confines of indoor lacrosse? What types of adjustments do you need to make to your style of play? Good luck this season and take it easy on the Philadelphia Wings will yah!?

The snake is Jake Deane.

Colin Kerr from Amherst, NH wants to know: What is the tattoo on your calf and is there any meaning to it? It is a gorilla wearing a UMass helmet. I got it because I wanted to be able to incorporate something that identified the sport of lacrosse with a meaningful and historic element to it. The gorilla was an icon of the UMass program for years under head coach Dick Garber and it is a respected animal in the wild. I thought the concepts brought together everything I wanted in a tattoo.

Clarence Thomas from Alexandria, Va. wants to know: The first question is a toss-up question, but when people hear a name like Jack Reid do you think it strikes fear into their hearts? And second question, with the bruising style that you have, how did you also learn to develop great footwork and stick skills?

I doubt highly that my name strikes fear into anyone. I think if anything it motivates people to want to come out and play their best. The footwork took a lot of time in the gym with squatting and agility drills and I attribute the stick work to the countless hours I spent with the stick in my hands growing up through high school.

Jongh Hung Hong from Japan wants to know: Jack, we lacrosse players over here in Japan love your style of play. We all gathered to watch you in the final four in our brand new arena in Tokyo called the Thunder Dome. Where did you learn to become that physical and hit people so hard?

I was always a big football player growing up and my favorite part of that sport was the contact. I think my favorite position was the year I spent playing on the offensive line. That definitely contributed to my desire to want to play physically on the lacrosse field.

George from Virginia wants to know: When you are on the field, what do you think are the most important things to hear from your goalie?

I feel that knowing where the ball is the most important because it helps you set up your positioning and lets you concentrate on your man while still keeping track of your team responsibilities. Also, I love hearing the "check" call when there is a pass coming into the crease because then I know it's time to swing from my ankles.


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