Last week I was a little late to to my ILA Summer League game but quickly realized Dirtbags (0-3 at the time) had a couple ringers on their team. Mind you, this is two days after receiving an email from the league stating, “you may not bring in ringers.” Anyway, Dirtbags were beating us (Thug Lyfe) by a few goals at the time but it seemed like the game would be more competitive than I thought. After getting into the flow I quickly realized the ringers were carrying the team and scoring or assisting on probably 75% of Dirtbags’ goals. As if it wasn’t enough that the ringers were taking advantage of match-ups against less experienced players, they would brag to each other after goals – “Did you see my sweet cone-drill dodge? That was GREAT!” As a competitive person, I could only take it for so long (about halfway through the 3rd quarter) before deciding I wasn’t out there just for fun anymore – I wanted to win.
Photo via Shawn Carmen
Instead of lollygagging through the rest of the game I decided to start sliding hard, throwing more and harder checks, communicating better and giving more effort to try and steal a win from the Ringers – uhh, I mean Dirtbags. We cut their three goal lead to one with about a minute left but were unable to score an equalizer and ended up losing 13-12 giving Dirtbags their first win of the season (I’m still a little chapped if you didn’t notice).
Anyway, what I’m really getting at is – what does it take for you cross the line from playing for fun to pulling out all the stops and playing to win?
For me it can be any of the following – a high level of competition, a team or person I don’t particularly like, showboating, sh*t-talking, a good opponent, being behind/losing, getting cheap shotted, playing against a couple ringers, getting scored on or just messing up. Obviously the age and skill level of the competition plays into this – I’m not going to start lighting up high school kids or old men if they don’t deserve it but you get the point. This isn’t something exclusive to summer league lacrosse – it could be a pick-up basketball game at the gym, men’s league softball, pick-up hockey, or any type of league game.
What does it take for you to “flip the switch”?