If you’ve attended the NCAA Lacrosse Final Four the decade or so, or even followed it on TV, what we are about to say should hardly come as a surprise.
But you won’t hear it from those with blind allegiance to the sport’s age-old, tradition-rich and proud home base of Baltimore.
We get it. It’s a natural tendency for many to cling to the past. To do what’s comfortable and convenient.
However, the hard fact is that lackluster attendance for the NCAA Final Four and championship game in Baltimore makes this abundantly clear to anyone who is objective enough to see it: It’s time for the Final Four to move beyond Baltimore.
The traditionalists who have their own Baltimore-based agendas will never say that.
We just did.
Those traditionalists will always stubbornly — and, in fact, delusionally — cling to the past. They will resort to issuing desperate, awkward and clumsy pleas for fans to attend the Final Four in Baltimore in hopes of maintaining its once-strong grip as host site for the showcase event of the nation’s fastest growing sport.
News flash. The sport has grown beyond its traditional roots.
It’s time to leave the past behind and go where the action is — and where the players are.
And that’s the New York/New Jersey/Connecticut tristate region.
Just look at the numbers, folks.
Between finalists Duke and Notre Dame, 36 players hailed from the tristate, an area with a population of well over 12 million (compared to 600,000 for Baltimore).
Numbers don’t lie, just as the lackluster attendance figures for Final Four weekend in Baltimore show.
And facts are stubborn things.
So the only question now is where in the tristate should the Final Four be held?
Met Life Stadium (formerly Giants Stadium) is a natural. Those who advocate playing the event on a college venue may throw out Army’s Michie Stadium, or even Syracuse’s Carrier Dome, though it is outside the immediate tristate region.
Either are excellent options.
Some have supported playing the Final Four at another time besides Memorial Day Weekend. We disagree. Playing the Final Four over Memorial Day Weekend makes the Lacrosse Final Four the signature sports event of one of the biggest holiday weekends of the year.
One thing is clear. It’s time for the game to move to where the action is — the tristate region — and not cling to its past, no matter how glorious it was.
The last time we checked our calendar, it read 2014, not 1964.
Baltimore will always have an important place in lacrosse. But as a marquee venue for its showcase events, its time has passed.
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Posted In: College lacrosse