10 Man Ride: We Wrote a Book
When the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic, the PLL was forced to pivot. Instead of a second tour-based, summer-long season, plans were outlined for an isolated, three-week tournament.
But big questions remained:
How could everyone be in one place for an extended period of time? Could you make testing frequent to keep everyone safe? Could a season be compacted into less than a month?
We wrote a book, PLL Island, to tell the untold stories of everyone involved in the planning and execution of that tournament: The equipment managers who churned through 30-35 loads of laundry daily; the trainers who designed an eight-week, at-home workout program for players without weight rooms; Tyler Warner, who started his first semester at Harvard Medical School halfway through the tournament; Zed Williams, who left his family at home and found a new family in his Whipsnakes teammates.
In typical 10 Man Ride fashion, let’s use 10 bullet points to cover the whole field and preview some of the book’s chapters. CLEAR! Let’s ride...
1. An oral history of the Grant Ament-to-Ryan Ambler game-winning goal
At the time, my only words were “What?!” and “How?!” Actually, those are still the only words I can conjure when I watch that goal. So, I leaned on those involved in the play to share their perspective. Ambler, Ament, and the rest of the Archers give the backstory of the goal, the catch, and the drill that made that type of catch feel like second nature for Ambler.
2. The COVID Committee
Back in March, there was no preexisting blueprint for a successful quarantined tournament. To host nearly 300 people for three weeks and play 20 games without a single positive test required a ton of planning from Courtney Ellis, Rachael DeCecco, Dr. Catherine Logan, and the COVID committee.
3. Redwoods Roast
Clout police officer Nick Ossello dipped the pen and humbled a few of his teammates. If you follow Nick on Twitter, you know that nobody’s safe. His ego checks had me howling. And we only edited out one of them.
4. PLL Stats
PLL Stats expert Jake Watts will be doing a deep dive on some of the tournament’s statistical anomalies. Does the high volume of shots in the PLL somehow help goalies by allowing them to find a rhythm? It might for at least one: Blaze Riorden. Jake caught up with Blaze about his technique, his historical performance, and how his offensive game helps him in cage.
5. Never-before-seen photos
A picture is worth a thousand words. The team in Utah captured some powerful moments of celebrations, scuffles, teamwork, and heartbreak.
6. The Joys of #LaxTwitter
Remember watching those #PLLAfterDark games as a lacrosse community? We were united with lacrosse fans for the first time in months, and all of us were ready to tune in. 11:30PM faceoff? No problem!
Tari Kandemiri wrote about the joy and the human connection we found in our virtual community viewing these games from outside the bubble.
7. Inside Look at the Media Team
Katie DeFeo shared her top five moments from inside the bubble. Katie’s insight gives a glimpse of life behind the scenes. Vibes were at an all-time high. Gatorade flowed like water. Editing sessions lingered late into the night.
Whipsnakes LC attackman Zed Williams wrote about his experience first-hand. He discussed the difficulties of leaving his family for three weeks. The bonds formed with new teammates made the trip worth every second for Zed.
9. Cherishing the opportunity to compete
Chaos LC midfielder Mark Glicini reflected on what the opportunity to compete during uncertain times meant. He outlined the lessons learned from an 0-4 start and the adjustments made during Chaos’ run to the championship game.
10. Inside the Booth
NBC color commentator Ryan Boyle brings you inside the broadcast booth with him and Paul Burmeister. He talks about preparing to call multiple games per day. His preparation process covers everything from individual matchups to schematic strengths and weaknesses to team-specific tactics. Nobody strikes a balance between lacrosse analysis and Superbad references better than Boyle.
Thanks for reading!
Spread the word, submit any questions you want to see answered in this space to me on Twitter (@joekeegs), and I’ll talk to you next week!