Travis Love is a former Goalie for the Towson Tigers Men’s Lacrosse Team. From Westminster, Md. Love was a three-year varsity team captain at Winters Mill High School, where he was named All-American, Carroll County player of the year and helped lead the Falcons to 19-0 record and state championship.
The old saying about how things get sweeter with time could not be more wrong when I think about my first lacrosse stick. I have yet to see a cooler stick produced since, and if this thing was really as awesome as I remember, there will never be one. My first lacrosse stick was a bright blue, STX High-Wall, complete with soft-mesh and a painted white aluminum lacrosse shaft. This thing was a goal-scoring machine. Well, at least the way I remember it.
I was 6 years old playing on one of the Gamber Smallwood tyker teams. I am the oldest boy in my family, but recreational programs for girls hadn’t been introduced yet, so my older sister played boys lacrosse and stole my limelight. She was faster, and more skilled, and had a blonde pony-tail hanging out her helmet. I wish I could say I was embarrassed to have her on my team, but I think it was the other way around. She didn’t think I could hang, mostly because I couldn’t, but that’s beside the point. I was playing up an age group, since there wasn’t one for six year olds yet. I had a pretty deep understanding of the game for being so young though. Get the ball and throw it toward the goal. That was my whole game plan.
It took me a little while to really catch my stride. Once, I did though, I don’t think anyone would have been able to stop me if it hadn’t been the last game of the year. I remember it like it was yesterday. Our game was at Cockeysville, it was sometime in the second half of the game and I was on a fast break. (I use the term fast very liberally.) But anyway, I was barreling down the field, with the entire other team gaining on me every step I took. Right when I was about to shoot, some faster less coordinated kid tripped me from behind. I fell down and the ball squirted out in front of me past the goalie for the first goal of my illustrious career. Some may argue it was an accident, I know the truth though. My electric blue High-Wall was a machine. The best thing I can compare it to is the tuxedo from the film, “The Tuxedo” starring Jackie Chan. Even though the movie was just okay, the magical tuxedo that gave anyone that wore it special powers was an awesome storyline. My stick was something along those lines. Granted it didn’t make me run faster or jump higher, it single handedly scored the first goal of my career. It was like a reflex, or something in the sticks subconscious that slung the ball toward the net.
After that season, I had my magic wand for a couple more years before it broke during a ground ball drill of all things one cold day. I don’t remember if I ever got to say good bye. It’s one of those classic love stories where you really don’t appreciate what you have until it’s gone. While I know I will never get to see it, touch it, or hold it again, the respect and love I have for that stick will live on. I will always be thankful for the times we had together. It sparked the fire that still burns today bringing me back to the game every time I get a chance.