Every sport has a pinnacle event that concludes the season for the year. Whether it is the Super Bowl in football, March Madness for Basketball or The Stanley Cup for hockey, sports are taken to new heights and seasons end with memorable stories and unbelievable highlights.
Despite there being MLL and NLL championships during the year, college lacrosse remains the focal point for the 'pinnacle event of the year' - and during the month of May all focus turns to preparing for the NCAA Tournament season or 'May Madness'. Starting the first week in May, brackets are made and throughout the month, teams compete for spots in the D1, D2, and D3 National Championships. This battle for the chance to play on Memorial Day Weekend often bonds lacrosse players to their teammates for life.
What can you expect from the weekend? You can expect A LOT of LACROSSE! Four Division I teams play during Championship Weekend. The two semi-final games are played on Saturday back-to-back with the Division I National Championship being played on Memorial Day. On Sunday, both Division II and Division III National Championships are played where to the two best teams from each division battle it out to obtain ultimate glory and honor. In this three day span, players dreams are realized in once in a lifetime ways. But for the lacrosse community, it's a whirlwind opportunity to see some of the best lacrosse you are going to see in person - all in one intense weekend.
Championship weekend is like Christmas morning for lacrosse players of all ages. Besides the teams and the games, championship weekend offers an opportunity to connect with the passion the lacrosse community has for the sport.
As a backdrop, the games are always played in a major arenas such as Gillette Stadium, Lincoln Financial Field, or the Baltimore Ravens field in Maryland. Setting aside the experience that players themselves get playing in these types of venues, to walk into these stadiums and see the vast number of crowds that gather and enjoy a sport that has been around for hundreds of years is truly breath taking. What is even more special about championship day weekend, is the unifying passion that each person in the audience has for lacrosse. The commitment to the game is truly palpable when you sit in the stands. You are almost guaranteed to end up, at some point during the weekend, sitting next to a player who actually competed against the team on the field, or to stand on line with the parent of a player on the field. The passion that these people have for the sport is self-evident and makes the weekend even more special.
Outside the stadium, there are tons of fun activities to do! I recommend arriving two hours before the first game to have enough time to participate in everything that is offered. Some of these activities available to fans include shooting competitions, accuracy competitions, obstacle courses, mini lacrosse and so much more. There are even chances to meet professional lacrosse players and get autographs and pictures. Big name lacrosse companies showcase their latest gear and often offer amazing deals on equipment! Of course, tailgating is popular with people who traveled from all over the country, and often the college teams host parties and give out food to fans. And you can count on there being a mini lacrosse game being held in the parking lot that you can jump on into!
Championship weekend is truly a special weekend for lacrosse lovers. It has competition, activities and so much more that make wonderful memories easy to be had. I personally recommend taking at least one trip to Championship Weekend if you are a lacrosse lover like myself, but be warned, it is addictive and you will want to go again and again for many more years to come.