Monday, April 16, 2012

"The Hinterland of the Game:" Michigan Lacrosse in the 1980s

Fred Opie scoring in a 1985 championship game
 loss to John Hopkins at Brown University
I played high school lacrosse in Michigan which, in the 1980’s, was the hinterland of the game. Back then, ESPN only showed the national championship on tape delay and that was all the DI lacrosse we’d see all year. With VHS tape rolling, I sat in front of the TV to watch the 1985 Syracuse vs. Hopkins NCAA Championship. Early in the game, an SU longstick named Fred Opie came down the field on a quick transition and passed it to attackman Tim Nelson. Instead of turning and heading to the box, he kept going toward the net. A quick pass to the crease and BANG! The longstick puts a behind the back shot in the net. Fred’s goal was an inspiration to me and countless other young lacrosse players. It showed creativity and courage. From that point on, I approached the development of my sticks skills as a defenseman in a different way. Gone was the premise that defenseman don’t really need to know how to handle the ball. With Hopkins winning the game, 11-4, Fred’s goal is somewhat lost to history. For at least one lacrosse player, it made all the difference in the world. Fred went on to represent his country and even wear the God awful bike shorts in the MILL. To me he will always be that SU longstick with the sick stick skills. Even today when I throw around with my kids in the yard, I shoot one behind the back in Fred’s honor.

Guess Blogger Sean Higgins.

*If you are interested in being a guess blogger, please send your story to me, Fred Opie, on Facebook I am especially interested in Syracuse lacrosse stories and photos during my playing days.

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