The NLL (National Lacrosse League) is a lot like hockey with carpet instead of ice and a different type of stick. And like NHL players, NLL players occasionally drop the gloves and throw their fists in fights governed by codes both unofficial and official — in the NLL’s case, written in exquisite detail (see the rules in PDF). Sometimes, those fights get so out of hand that they migrate from the lacrosse blogosphere to Deadspin.
Everyone involved was punished, though the “game misconduct” penalties might not mean much with all of this happening so late in the game. The Boston Blazers-Philadelphia Wings box score duly notes it all.
Also noted in the box score – this approach seems to be working. Attendance for this game in Philly was 11,241. That’s not an outlier — last year’s league average was a shade over 10K, squarely between indoor and outdoor soccer, not too far off arena football. The league survived a labor impasse a couple of years ago, maybe not too surprising since some of the players spend more time on airplanes than they do playing and practicing. (See my 2007 interview with goaltender/Ontario teacher Anthony Cosmo.)
In an era of media hand-wringing over anything and everything, it’s surprising no one has made a fuss over lacrosse fights. Hockey fighting rarely leads to injury — fighters can’t get much leverage on their punches while they’re standing on ice. Lacrosse fights are basically bare-knuckle brawls on an unforgiving surface. Listen to the commentary in this clip, and you’ll hear someone giving a shoutout to backyard brawler-turned-UFC fighter Kimbo Slice:
A “Kimbo Slice uppercut” would be something like what you’ll see at the 1:24 mark here:
Given all this, should we be surprised that UFC legend Randy Couture has taken an interest in lacrosse and had a few fighters, er, lacrosse players training at his gym?