Sometimes it’s tough to transition from indoor to outdoor. It was nice to get in there and I felt pretty comfortable. My teammates definitely helped me out. I think it’s definitely a sign of things to come with our team. I think we’re going to start to form the chemistry that we developed last year when we made our run. It’s nice to have everyone back. We’re pretty fired up.
You had 4 goals and 4 assists in your first win last weekend over the Hounds. What was it like coming into your first game and really being a catalyst for your team to get that first win?
It was pretty frustrating watching the first three games that we lost. You could tell that the guys weren’t really comfortable. We had some of the guys that are usually a part of the team and some guys that were filling in. It was nice to get back and become more of a leader and kind of bring everyone together. You could sense before the game at shootaround that the guys were feeling a lot more confident having everyone back. We scored in the first 20 seconds and that kind of gave everyone that sense of “we’re back” and that definitely set the tone for the game. Charlotte played a great game. It was back and forth and I think it was a good one for the league. We’re just happy that we came out with a win because they are a very talented team.
Both the Nationals and the Hounds are at the bottom of MLL tables right now and you all were kind of battling to stay out of last place last weekend. Did it feel like there was a little bit of a rivalry forming before and during the game?
Both teams needed a win. You could sense the urgency. We came out right away. We came out firing and then they came right back. It was like a good boxing match. It was definitely a good game for the fans. It was fun to be a part of. I think it showed the kind of heart we have as a team. We were down by 2 goals in the last five minutes and we fought back and stole that game. I think it shows what kind of team we have and I’m fired up for the rest of the season.
It’s tough when you have an expansion team because you don’t have that team chemistry. You’re grabbing guys from different teams in the draft. I think that Charlotte’s front office did a very good job of getting the right pieces into place. They are a very talented team. We all knew that we couldn’t come into the game thinking we were going to walk all over them just because they were an expansion team. They’re a team full of veterans that have been around for years and guys that are proven players and scorers. We knew they were going to be a tough team for us to face. I think that was new facing a team that is new to the league, but at the same time we all knew the players we were going up against. We all knew who we were playing. It’s key for them to come together. The sooner they can come together and form that team chemistry they’re going to be a team fighting for a playoff spot with us.
You have a lot of experience and success in the league and in your professional lacrosse career as a whole. What is some of your best advice and lacrosse experience that you could pass on to all of the young up-and-coming lacrosse players?
When I was growing up the league was just starting. In high school when the league was doing their first tour and starting up I had dreams of playing in MLL. It’s just key to take one game at a time. You can’t look ahead and more importantly you cant look at what were doing and try to do the same things. We have been playing the game for so long. You cant do what were doing right away. It is very key to work on the fundamentals. I think that’s very important especially for middle school aged kids, focusing on the fundamentals. Master the fundamentals before you jump into the drills. What I would do when I was growing up is I would hit the wall everyday for 15 minutes. I would bring my stick to school every day even in high school. Just having your stick in your hands makes a huge difference, you become much more comfortable with it. It just becomes a part of you and I think that helps as a lacrosse player. I think that’s the one thing that sets lacrosse apart from a lot of the other big sports, like basketball and football. Lacrosse isn’t size related. If you can master your stick work and have a good stick there is definitely a spot for you on the field. Really work on your stick work. You can never do enough. If you spend time on the wall everyday that will definitely make you a better player.
You have quite a few other endeavors that you are invested in, particularly Sharp Shooter Lacrosse. What can you tell us about this project?
Sharp Shooter Academy is my shooting specialty camp. It’s a lot different than most of the other camps where all positions go to camp. I travel all over and people can contact me through my website or my Facebook Fan Page. It’s for 30 students only, so it’s a small group. The great thing about it is that there is no age requirement, you just can’t be a beginner. You have to be able to pass and catch every time easy. You have to have that middle range of experience. When I came up with the idea for the program six years ago, I didn’t want to have it be for 100 kids. I wanted it to be more personal and more hands-on so that I’m the only instructor and I can really focus in on every student. I film the kids throughout the day and we break down the film. It’s important for the kids to not only hear what I’m saying, but to also see what they’re doing so they can learn from that. I am very proud of the program and I love passing on to kids the art of shooting.
If you're interested in learning more about Joe's Sharp Shooter Academy contact him by clicking here or going to his Facebook Fan Page.
LIGHTNING ROUNDWhat is your favorite pump up song?
“Put On” by Young Jeezy with Jay-Z and Kanye West
Favorite Sports Movie?
White Men Can’t Jump
Pregame ritual or tradition?
Favorite MLL memory?
Winning back-to-back MLL Championships in ’08 and ’09 with the Rattlers and then the Nationals.
Another position you would want to play?
The Hamilton Nationals will return home on Saturday, June 9th to host the Rochester Rattlers at 7:30 PM ET. at McMaster University. For ticket information, contact the Nationals Ticket Office at (905) 768-2225.