Lacrosse: When money is the goal |

Lacrosse: When money is the goal

Daily file photo/Preston UtleyTeam Colorado was among 101 teams who competed for the title in this years Vail Lacrosse Shootout. The tournament attracts thousands of players and fans, who pump hundreds of thousands of dollars into the local economy.

VAIL Spend a few early morning hours sitting quietly in the Vail Cascades lobby during the Vail Lacrosse Shootout. The silence you hear is snoozing lacrosse players.A tired kid is a well-behaved kid.Theyre very polite young men, said Rachel, a front-desk worker at the Cascade, one of the many hotels that host lacrosse teams during the shootout. Theyre exhausted, and that helps. They get up at 7 a.m. and play lacrosse all day; then they come back and sleep.Lacrosse players arent the only ones scoring during Vails annual July Fourth Shootout.Some of that cheering you hear comes from local merchants when players and their families wander in and make their cash registers sing.This years event brought 101 adult teams to town, along with a couple of thousand fans and family members who pumped a mountain of money into the local economy. Dozens of youth teams, whose players accompanied by their parents and coaches, were in town. The kids might be old enough to be on their own, but their parents arent about to let them because they remember what kind of mischief they dreamed up when they were the players ages.About the only problems we have is that theyre all large groups, said Ian Anderson of the Vail Valley Chamber & Tourism Bureau. We sometimes have challenges finding accommodations for them. When the adult tournaments start, we get more individual reservations.

Jim Soran a real estate attorney with Montgomery, Little, Soran, Murray and Kuhn is the head honcho with International Lacrosse Promotions, which Soran says is a big name for a small group that puts the shootout together every year.The most amazing part of it is not that it attracts so many people with disposable income to dispose of but that the whole thing is put together by volunteers. Sorans paralegal, Connie Strich, stayed home when she had her third child. Soran gave her about six months to settle in, then called to ask her if she wanted to do a little work from home.Im lucky in that I come from a large family, Soran laughed. Ill look around and see my nieces and nephews staffing the tables.The tournament originated in Aspen in 1973, and Soran didnt get to play in it because an infection nailed him after he got his wisdom teeth.Aspen had stored some goals for them. They went up there a week or so before to get set up and discovered their goals had been cut for scrap pipe. Two fields, one set of goals you do the math.The event moved to Vail in 1976, played over Labor Day weekend and shifted to July Fourth in 1978 with eight teams playing.Its not so much by design but by fate that it continues to grow, Soran said.Now they even have Super Masters, a euphemism for players older than 50.They keep telling me they want to retire, but their families have so much fun coming out to Vail, they wont let them retire, Soran said.Originally the Super Masters played their tournament in three days, but the players whined that they didnt want to play two games in a day even though their games during pool play are shortened considerably.Their families didnt want to stay at the field all day, Soran said.Now the Super Masters tournaments last four days, and the players are booking five- and six-day stays.

Occasionally a player misbehaves, so Soran struck a deal with the Vail Police. If one of the players is involved in an incident and shows up in a police report, they dont touch the field again. They make that clear in all the correspondence with teams and players.So who was the first transgressor? Not a 19-year-old kid happy to be in Vail for a holiday.The first one was a Super Masters player, Soran laughed. He had a little too much to drink and put his rental car through a garage door. We had another Super Masters player get a little too close to the edge on a curve and run his Escalade down an embankment.Vail, Colorado

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