Parity? We're talking about parity?
Editor's note: Each week, 2005 Tewaaraton winner and four-time Major League Lacrosse all-star Kyle Harrison and former Virginia Cavaliers All-American and MLL all-star Brett Hughes will use this space to debate their thoughts on the sport. And these Southern California roommates have a lot on their minds.
Kyle Harrison: So, Hughey, I took a look at the rankings the other morning and I saw everyone is talking about the parity in men's lacrosse. I want to start by saying I'm not a hater, nor do I appreciate people who hate hate hate all the time. But with that said, does anyone else have a problem with Notre Dame being ranked No. 3 in the country? Outside of North Carolina, which top-five teams, or even top-10 teams, have the Fighting Irish beat? They've put together an undefeated regular season against OK competition, but I don't see them walking over a Maryland, a North Carolina, a Duke, a Cornell or a Virginia.
I don't want to call Notre Dame a pretender yet because I haven't seen the team play live yet (film coming this week). But come tournament time, I think the fellas are going to have a rough go at it.
Brett Hughes: I'd love to disagree with you, Harri, but I can't. What I will say is the regular season has been more fun because it isn't six teams trying to beat each other. I believe so many more teams have a chance to sneak up and beat these top-tier teams. But like the NBA playoffs or college football, you basically know who is going to have a chance at being the top team in the country from the get-go. The Irish, as you said, Kyle, do not have the body of work that makes me think they are among the top three teams in the country.
I have no problem with them being in the standings, because they should get credit for putting together a good season. But in the end, parity has not come to lacrosse. It will -- and I am happy to see it starting to show itself in regular season -- but for at least the next five years, I bet I can call two or three of the Final Four teams and one or two of the teams that will be in the final. But hey, I have been wrong before.
Speaking of me being wrong, I might have to switch my Cinderella team. I had chosen Harvard a few weeks back, but I'm switching to Brown simply because of coaching and Jordan Burke. I finally got to see Burke play, and this kid is great. The Bears have a couple of huge games coming up against Princeton and Cornell, but I'm sliding my chips that way for the team to make waves. Problem is, the Bears need to get to the tournament.
KH: Brown?!?!? No chance. Unless, of course, the Bears are planning on bringing back Chazz Woodson ('05) and having him jump over people to dunk the ball a bunch. But I don't see that happening.
I'm sticking to Hofstra, man. I know it just took a loss to a talented UNC team, but I'm not sure there's a harder-playing group of kids in the country. Do I think they've got the most talent in the country? No. But I do believe they've got kids who give all they've got every time they step on the field and they've got one of the best young lacrosse minds in the sport in coach Seth Tierney. They're a dangerous team because they always play like they've got nothing to lose.
BH: Oh, I get it about Brown that's why I went outside the top 10 to pick a Cinderella team. I'm a fan of Hofstra, and Coach T knows what he is doing, that's for sure. I just think that team should be even higher up than it is.
And call Chazz to see whether he has any eligibility left -- I'd be more comfortable with my pick if he was still playing for the Bears.
KH: OK, random question of the week: If you could be one athlete (past or present) for only a day, who would you be and why? It's a tough question, I know. For some reason, initially, my mind went to Mike Tyson when he won his first heavyweight title and how cool it would be to feel the power that guy had in his punches back in the day. But, after further thought, that's an awful choice. I think I'd have to go with Michael Jordan as he hit the game winner over Byron Russell in the 1998 NBA finals. Talk about a storybook ending (kind of ).
BH: MJ is almost too easy, man. I think I'd probably go with former Detroit Lion Chris Spielman. He has been right up there with MJ, Lance and Ali my whole life and was the first guy I met face to face who really made me want to be the complete athlete. So I would be Spielman on just about any Saturday when he played for the Ohio State Buckeyes, because everyone knew that every weekend he was going to bring it like nobody else on the field. He also left the game for a year to support his wife when she was battling cancer, so it seems like I would be rewarded being this guy on any day.
Brett Hughes is the lacrosse editor of ESPNRISE.com, ESPN's high school sports site. Check out his blog.