For anyone who has not played lacrosse (men’s) before, a brief introduction: 1) Yes, you can hit each other with the sticks. 2) No, the pads aren’t as big as football pads. 3) The ball is hard rubber. It bounces. It hurts more than a bouncy ball to get hit by one.
Now that that’s out of the way, I’ll deal mostly with intro number three. I played on a college club lacrosse team. We had a coach that no one liked very much and the dedication of team was questionable at best. Still, we didn’t miss a chance to go on a road trip, stay in a hotel, and drink beer.
On the team of questionable dedication, there was a debate amongst the players as to whether or not maximum amounts of protection were necessary. Some claimed said protection slowed them down, some complained of chaffing, and some of us said no way will I set foot on that field without a cup. This was mostly the defensemen – we all averaged taking a few shots per game to the body.
Personally, if I am hit by a shot, I want it to be in the head. I’m wearing a helmet – this is most protected part of my body. The chest or arms will also work if needed. I would prefer to spare my throat, knees, and shins if possible. The area protected by a male-supporter is to avoid contact at all costs. The best way to approach this is to employ aforementioned cup.
The debate remained hotly contested amongst team members until the fateful day. We were on a road trip (see above about beer) playing an early morning game. One of our midfielders, Tex, was back on defense guarding the ball when his man winds up and shoots – and the ball disappears. And Tex slowly crumpled to the ground.
Normally, when a player is hit by a shot, there is an audible noise from a short distance away. A loud ‘thwack’ from a helmet shot, a dull thud from the torso, a sort of slapping sound from legs or arms. This shot made no sound. It was simply absorbed by soft parts not meant for contact. Everyone on the field did a half cringe and thanked whoever is up above that it wasn’t them.
And the female trainer came jogging out, knowing only there was an injury and nothing else. She reaches Tex and asks what happened. He was mostly concentrating on breathing and not losing the remaining contents of his stomach so someone else informed her of the situation. And she smirked. And told him to walk it off. And there was no debate on the team after that.
Being slow or chaffed will never outweigh black-and-blue and swelled up testicles, not even if it means the cute trainer will hold ice on your groin for you.