Lacrosse didn’t take me anywhere as a player, but it has taken me to some great places as a media member. The most recent experience was a trip to Denver to see the RMLC Championships on Saturday and then hitting the Denver Outlaws game on Sunday. It was a fantastic trip. It’s probably safe to say that most people who follow lacrosse in Utah know what an MCLA game has to offer and what they’re all about so I won’t spend time writing about the RMLC games, but you can read about Utah State here and BYU here.
What I will write about is the Denver Outlaws game day experience. Steve Nelson accompanied me on this trip which meant it was full of puns and interesting working title headlines for the recaps he wrote which is what you would expect from an English teacher.
For those who haven’t been to our neighbor to the East, you should go. Denver is a great city. It has a great downtown scene with a little bit of everything for everyone. Steve and I landed at Sam’s No. 3 (as seen on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives) for an excellent lunch then headed to the stadium.
Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium
Kind of a mouthful, but awesome none-the-less. Right when we arrived the two parking attendants we met were smiling even though it was windy with a small drizzle. They were as happy to be there as we were. I had been to Mile High once before so it wasn’t as awesome as the first time from the outside, but the inside journey was a little different. The first time I went, my wife and I climbed to the very top to witness the Broncos get hammered by the Raiders. This time, Steve and I entered the stadium through the press tunnel and made our way to the press box. I had been in a fair share of press boxes but this takes the cake. It took up at least a fourth of the fourth floor, was two rows deep and had offices and dining areas in the back as well. For comparison, the largest press box I had been before was at Rice-Eccles Stadium which I’m guessing is five to six times smaller then the Mile High press box. Side note: As we walked by the NFL replay booth there was a huge sign that said, ‘Absolutely No Visitors’. We got a chuckle out of that.
Steve and I then went down to the field through the bowels of the stadium. As you would expect, everything was blue and orange. The walls, the carpet, everything. We came out of the tunnel and it was an intense feeling. The field was dug up after the football season and the game was the first time it was used for an event so it looked like carpet.
Denver Outlaws v. Charlotte Hounds
This was my first MLL game and I’ve met a few players over the years but the first thing that stood out to me was the size of each player, both in height and muscle mass. With a few exceptions, each player was my height (6’3″) or greater and toned with muscle. It makes sense, they are professional athletes after all. The actual game was phenomenal. [Read the recap with video highlights here]. There were a few things that stood out though:
1. Orange ball – I liked the orange ball. It was easy to follow through a camera lens.
2. Music – They played music/chants over the loud speakers throughout the game which isn’t necessarily bad, it was just something I’m not used to.
3. Challenge flags – After Jeremy Sieverts scored an amazing back handed low scoop shot, the Hounds challenged. Just like in the NFL, the refs waited for the reply and it came back that it was actually a play that wasn’t challenging. Still interesting though. Obviously this would be hard to carry down the ranks due to technology availability.
4. Level of play – Passes were super crisp and with pace. Shots were on target most of the time and were well placed. It was exactly what I expected.
5. Four officials – The game featured four officials instead of the typical three. It certainly helped keep things under control. This would be a great thing to have at the collegiate and high school levels, but we’re already short on stripes.
After the game ended, some of the players stuck around and signed autographs. Ken Clausen was kind enough to talk to Steve about the game. Ken is the Warrior/Brine rep for Utah so he was happy to help.
So, should you go to an Outlaws game? Absolutely. It is a great lacrosse experience. If you watch the travel sites you can find cheap airfare and hotels are always available. You can also pair it with a Mammoth or Rockies game which makes for a great weekend. If you’re looking for a 4th of July trip, head over the divide and catch the Outlaws game that features fireworks and 20,000+ fans.
To buy tickets, go here. You can also see the Outlaws hotel deal here.
A special thanks to Ted Tseng and his staff for helping us get in the game and providing Steve and I with this opportunity.
Here are a few of the gems from the game.