Editor’s Note: Please welcome senior goalie and captain, Jake Springer of the Alabama Lacrosse team to MCLA Fan. He will be shedding some light on all things Tide Lacrosse throughout the season. Find out more on Alabama’s lacrosse program here and see of all Jake’s contributions here.
It’s a phrase my high school football coach used to berate us with constantly on the field. It’s a phrase my friends back home still use jokingly. But it’s one that I’ve truly come to understand here as a lacrosse player at Alabama.
Back in 2010, I was one of 17 freshmen on our team. We were three years removed from a 0-13 season, and two years removed from a 1-10 season (both in the MCLA’s Division 2). Our archrival Auburn had beaten us 22-0 and 22-4 in those seasons.
My freshman year we beat Auburn 9-5 for the first time in years (because of some shoddy record-keeping, we literally didn’t know how long it had been since Alabama defeated Auburn). Despite some early growing pains, we finished with a seven game winning streak and a 9-7 record. Since then, the team has continued to flourish. We’re now beating teams like Georgia Tech and Tennessee, two programs that blew us out in 2008 and 2010. Moreover, last season marked out first SELC tournament berth since 1996.
Yes, the last time Alabama Lacrosse was in the postseason, “The Macarena” was a Billboard #1. Terrifying.
But personally, this growth hasn’t come easily for me.
Five games into my sophomore season, I tore my ACL in practice. I watched as Georgia Tech, a team we’d beaten in our first game, won the playoff tiebreaker and made the SELC tournament instead of us.
And then there’s the coaching carousel. In high school, I was privileged enough to play for Rick Brocato, who won an MIAA championship in 2010 and coached in the Under Armour All-American Game in 2011.
At Alabama, I’ve played for three different head coaches; one of whom resigned three weeks before this season.
Of those 17 freshmen in 2010, 16 are no longer on the team; leaving me as the only senior.
What the 2013 Alabama team lacks in experience, we compensate with talent and drive. Our current head coach Michael Walker is a military guy. Our first week of practice, we played lacrosse for roughly 40 minutes in 4 days. The rest was spent conditioning and forging a discipline that we’ve never had during my four years here.
Last year, we endured a 17 game gauntlet of a schedule. In the month of February alone, we played seven games. This year we’ve taken a more patient approach, taking time to build chemistry and before our February 16th opener against a bitter rival: LSU.
We’ve had a month and a half to prepare for the Tigers. The team is hungry, motivated, and eager to prove that we belong in the SELC tournament every year now. We will be chronicling our “business trip” to New Orleans with a mini-documentary. My hope is to provide everyone with a behind the scenes look at Alabama Lacrosse (think low-budget “Club Ball” with a southern twang).
The last time an Alabama team played LSU in New Orleans, it was for the BCS National Championship. Alabama won 21-0.
I have a feeling our game will be a lot closer, but I’m ready to embrace some sudden change.
About Alabama Lacrosse
The February 16th game against LSU is one of many to be played in the All-State Sugar Bowl Classic. For more information on the Crimson Tide, please visit TideLax.com, like us on Facebook at Alabama Lacrosse Club, or follow us on Twitter at @TideLax.