An Epic Trip from CaliforniaOwen Edwards, Age 11, Danville, CA
For my birthday, my mom gave me a ticket to see an MLL game. We live in California, so we knew wherever we went to see an MLL game, it would be a cool trip. We decided that the best would be to come and see the All Star game, as a ton of my favorite MLL players would be playing for either the MLL All Stars or Team USA. Now, having gone to the game, I can say it was amazing and let me tell you about how cool it was!
We flew in on Wednesday from San Francisco so that we could go to the player practice that night. We arrived early and checked out Harvard Stadium, as I just couldn’t wait to be there! We weren’t sure exactly where to go, and the first people we met were Marco Rosa from MLL and Tom and Tim from LAXDIRT (the guys who do MLL Radio). They were so great and said that the All Star Players would be here shortly…I was so excited! Within minutes, I met Mike Simon and Joel White…they were so nice! I couldn’t wait to see the guys start with practice. We headed over to the practice field, where I met the Coaches…Dave Cottle and Joe Spallina.
I met Joe Spallina’s boys too. His son Joey and I are the same age, so we hung out during the practicewhich was cool. We went out and got to shoot on the goals! Then the players came….I was passing with Kevin Crowley and Drew Westervelt….this was awesome! I did faceoff drills with Anthony Kelly and John Ortolani. I shot on goal with Steven DeNapoli, Mike Manley, and a bunch of the other players. Everyone that I met from the MLL All Stars were SO nice! I’ve seen all the players on ESPN3 or on YouTube, and meeting them in person was like a dream come true! The Team USA players practiced at Gillette Field, so I’d have to wait until the big game to see them the next day! If game day was anything like practice, it was going to be awesome!
I won a Brine shaft when I spun the wheel at Lacrosse.com! I set up my “locker” on The Locker.com. The Rabil Challenge was awesome….shooting to see if you had the fastest time to go on the field at halftime. I did pretty good for an 11 year old…55 miles and hour. We then went to check out the U15 and U13 Massachusetts All Star that will be going to Denver this year. I don’t know if they have that in California, but it was really fantastic!
Finally, we were getting close to game time! We headed over towards the stadium entrance, and they said that Team USA would be coming out. We videoed all of the Team coming out of the locker room and head to the field for a last practice before the game. It was awesome seeing Drew Snider, JoJo Marasco, and all of the Team USA players! We raced to get into the stadium to get our seats and watch the warm ups!
We sat next to a former MLL player, Ryan Hurley, he was really nice! He told us that we had to watch at halftime with him as his friend Zack Dorn won the Rabil Challenge and he would be on the field. Sounded cool, and we were impressed that he qualified with a 107 MPH shot! We got burgers and a cool Boston Cannons sweatshirt (I’m a huge Steven Berger fan….so this was a must to go with my Berger jersey!) to stay warm for the evening! The practice ended and then the show started! The teams were announced and ran onto the field in their new uniforms, the Star Spangled Banner was sang, and the Cheerleaders did a routine…..finally, the game could start!
The game was super exciting! Team USA and the MLL All-Stars were well matched! I was particularly excited to see Joe Walters get a hat trick, and Matt Danowski get two goals, but my favorite was seeing Marcus Holman score an awesome goal!! He’s a North Carolina grad, and I’m a UNC fan!! I have watched a lot of games on the ESPN3 and You Tube, but it is so much better to see in person! The pro players are so fast and to watch the play set up in front of you is great! I was happily surprised how evenly matched the whole game was….tied going into half time, and with Team USA pulling out a 10-9 victory with only 6 seconds left in the game!
Even half time was awesome with the accuracy and speed contests! We were especially excited to watch to see what would happen during the speed contest, since Zack headed to the field about 10 minutes before the end of the first half. The first four players went up to make their shots, with the fastest being 112 MPH. When Zack got up there, his first shot was 114 MPH….tying Mike Sawyer’s record…wow!! And then his second shot, 116 MPH…..everyone went crazy, including us!! It made the start of the 2 nd half pretty electric! The crowd was super happy and the rest of the game was awesome to watch!
When the game wrapped, we headed for the Autograph session. I hadn’t gotten any signatures the day before at the practice, as I was just busy having fun with the MLL All Star players….so this was my chance, and I got a bunch! The first was Mike Simon, and from there I got lots of others…Rob Pannell, Paul Rabil, Lee Zink, Matt Abbott, Marcus Holman, and many others! I’ve got to be honest….all of the players were so nice and really cool! They made my trip to come and see the MLL All Stars and Team USA play just an epic trip!! Best couple of days ever!
The next morning, we did go by and see the MLL offices and down to the New Balance / Warrior store the day after the game. Marco showed us where the “magic” happens! Where they do the website and all things MLL! It was so cool to check out all the historical jerseys, helmets, and such! It was also great to check out all of the Warrior gear! Before heading out that day, I told Marco that they need to get a team back out in California….actually, Northern California!! That would be awesome!! I can say, that we’ll be back to see more MLL games!
Huge thanks to everyone I met in Boston at the All Star Game!!
Thank YOU Owen for being such a great MLL Fan!