Last week, we let you all in on the fact that the Minnesota Swarm would be hosting a media training event, followed by a game. We heard from a few of you, hoping there would be video and pictures. We assume you want this mostly for purposes of mocking the participants, and we want to honor that request. Please note, however, that any mockery cannot match the amount of ego bruising we already took at our own hands.
On a serious note, a thank you to the Swarm organization, to Callum Crawford for training and talking with us, to Andrew Suitor, Ryan Benesch, Corbyn Tao, Evan Kirk, and Tyler Carlson for helping out with training. It cannot be easy to train such a thoroughly untalented group, and we all appreciated your patience.
The event started with some "Lacrosse 101," with Crawford instructing the media on "the most basic thing in lacrosse," something they call "cradling." If you were to run down the field with the ball flat in your stick, it would be easy to knock loose, so you are to swing your stick back and forth to protect it. We were told to do a "bicep curl with a wrist twist." Upon doing so, every member of the media dropped the ball on the field.
Basic lacrosse failure number one. More to come.
Next, we were given instruction of faceoffs, loose ball play, passing, and shooting. After basic instruction, we moved to shooting stations, where we took shots on Defending the Blue Line's Shane Hudella (he received tips from the Swarm goalies). The shots were, shall we say, not accurate. My three shots went, respectively, five feet in front of me, bouncing into the stands, ten feet in front of me and bouncing into the stands, and after further instruction, directly into the stands.
The event then moved to stations, where we were allowed to practice and hone our new found skills. Ever wanted to get into a faceoff competition with Andrew Suitor? Yeah, me either. We did learn that the back of the stick in used for faceoffs, not the front. There is your knowldge drop from that session.
The passing session went well, as we learned to receive passes "just like the egg thing on Mighty Ducks." If there ever was going to be a reference to get us to understand, that was it. Thank you to Ryan Benesch for that.
Loose ball training with Tao went well, as no one fell down or ran head first into the boards. Yes, those are both wins in an event such as this.
After training, we moved on to the media game itself. The consensus from the game was that none of us have the ability to run from one end of a hockey rink to the other. Please note that a hockey rink is 200 feet. Shifts were long (by long, I mean about a minute and a half), and faces were red. There were a few goals scored, some solid defense played, and more mistakes than a supercomputer could count.
Eventually, the mercy rule was granted, and the game came to an end.
Then it was time for the hardest shot competition. Chris Long from KSTP won the competition with a 66 mile per hour shot. For comparison, when the players shot, no one was even close to dropping below 85 miles per hour.
You want to know how your local Swarm writer did? Well, my first shot went straight up in the air, and landed on the back of my neck. Yes. Really. My second shot registered at 24 miles per hour as it sailed into the stands.
The event was a great time, if it served only to remind we media folk just how out of shape we really are, and to show us first hand just how difficult this game can be. Once again, thank you to the Swarm organization for putting this event on. The lessons learned were valuable, and the ability to laugh at ourselves likely the greatest lesson of all.
In the end, I came up short of the guaranteed sock trick (6 goals), and replacing my name plate with "Grant Jr, Jr" did not have the effect I was hoping for. Though, it did get some laughs, which was its main purpose. No contract on my fax machine yet. I'll leave it on for a few more days. Just in case.
Here is video of Dave Schwartz of KARE11 scoring a goal on Evan Kirk. Please note two things. First, Kirk's attempt to make the save is downright Hasek-ian in its beauty. So close, Evan. So close. Second, note number 98 coming in late to congratulate Schwartz. That, my friends is your friendly neighborhood Swarm writer.
Here is your other video of concern right now, before heading to the Swarm's site for all of the video. This is a bit of role reversal as Callum Crawford interviews me about my game. For reference, I spent the final three or four minutes standing in one place in the defensive zone waiting for play to come to me. I did, however, get a sweet assist on the final goal of the game from my safety zone.
Can't wait for next year when Joe Cinosky gives me lessons on just what defensemen are supposed to do. I'm guessing it isn't stand around.
For all video and pictures, please check out MNSwarm.com