Editor’s Note: IU Junior Midfielder Mike Shagi talks about new state of the team.
As Mr. Helfrich mentioned in our first post, my name is Mike Shagi and I’m a junior from the beautiful Wilton, Connecticut. I’ve been playing lacrosse most of my life thanks to Long Island where 64% of infants are born with a stick in their hands. If you don’t believe that take a look at your next census, they ask it near the top. But that’s enough about Strong Island because my family moved up to Fairfield County in 4th grade.
Like most kids my parents told me I had to choose one spring sport. I think I decided I was sticking to lax minutes after I struck out for the last time. Then we moved. It turned out to be the best decision I ever made because little did I know everyone in Wilton played lacrosse and the small town had a rich lacrosse tradition.
IU is at a “LacrosseRoads” (see what I did there?) right now. With Coach Karweck leaving last year we made a huge move in hiring Coach Tumbas. The great thing about Coach Karweck was he wanted to win and he expected us to win. In his short time at Indiana he revamped the atmosphere and the team became much more competitive.
Then, from behind a steel curtain, Coach Tumbas arrived on campus and things have only gotten better. Playbooks? Recruits? Jingle Jangles? To be honest jingle jangles is a pretty normal conditioning aspect to practice. But having a playbook and hearing about recruits visiting were not things I associated with being on a club team. But from my experience, playing on a club lacrosse team is what you make of it. I’m really glad the team is going in the direction it is because it makes me want to commit to absurd practice times (11:30 p.m. on Mondays and Thursdays so we can play indoors) and 12-hour bus rides.
I say we’re at a cross roads now because this team is in a unique position and maybe not one many people would want to be in; we get to build something here. When you think Indiana University, do you think lacrosse? No, you think of this man.
We’ve lost some people because we’re in a transitional phase. Why not be a virtual varsity? Why not try to compete at the highest level possible with what’s available to you? That’s why I’m glad Coach Tumbas is here building on what Coach Karweck started. He is operating the team behind the scenes in the same way successful MCLA teams have done before us. Being part of the first team to take on a tougher schedule and to make more of a commitment is not for everyone.
Besides being part of a team that’s changing the culture here at Indiana, I’m most excited about the teams we’re playing on the road this year and in the future. We have to play against the best to see the level they are playing at. We can’t expect them to come to Bloomington right away. I wanted to play D3 lacrosse but I really wanted the state school atmosphere. Can’t have both. Couldn’t be happier to be here though, second best decision, right after sticking to lax. Couldn’t be happier we’re facing stiffer competition, something I was afraid would be lacking by playing in the MCLA. Obviously the competition isn’t going to be as strong as some of the best D3 conferences, but I know the next two years are the closest taste I’m going to get and I’m more than excited.
Back to tradition. Wilton High School has won 21 state championships and 13 FCIAC (our conference) championships. We thought we would win both of these and we were expected to win both of them. Not only did I not win either in my 3 years as a varsity player, I never even participated in a championship game. Disappointment. Getting called out by alumni. Boosters taking our BMW’s back to the dealership. That never happened, but I did accept a tee shirt towards the end of my junior season but only because everyone else did so it was legit. So what I’m getting at is I never have had to start something like this before. But the only good coming out of me never winning anything besides a semi finalist is I learned tradition means nothing if you don’t add to it or if you didn’t play harder than those who came before you. I know we’re going to try and start something special here and leave the team better than we found it. I want to make it to the MCLA National Tournament and if I don’t I want to know I helped set the kids up who come after me so they can make it.
You can’t assume you’ll win because of the name on the front of your jersey.
You can’t assume you’ll win by watching other people make plays.
If I knew they were giving these out I would have been playing wall ball so much more in high school.
Jake Reed Blue Chip Camp gift, not that I would have gotten invited anyway.
It’s Friday, you’re halfway there. I’ll normally be posting on Wednesday and posting tracks to get you through the rest of the week. Or until Thursday for some of you. We’ll take it easy today with Eyes Closed by Kanye. Good luck trying to get it out of your head.
Are you a fan of LAS on facebook? Why not? here
You’re not a fan of 412? You serious Clark? here
And obviously, become a fan of IU Lax here
Interviews with board members of MCLA, D3 players and some gear you absolutely positively will only see here first.
The MCLA rankings are almost as bad as the BCS. Yeah, I said it.
There are quality lacrosse players from Illinois and dare I say Indiana? I didn’t know either until I got here.