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MLL Championship Weekend: Awards and More!

  Having a lot of fun with this road trip. And a good night for the Launch too. Tom Mariano named Coach of the Year! Tucker Durkin named Defensive Player of the Year! Kieran didn’t win his category and Denver’s Jack Kelly mentioned that Austin Kaut did deserve a nomination. Retiring MLL Commissioner David Gross is stepping down and there was some nice video tributes to him.  I was able to talk to Rob Wallace of LSN and we are close to receiving their affiliate marketing proposal and that will be a relationship we hope proves long term and fruitful! Got to spend some time with MLL founder Jake Steinfeld.  His son was at the ACC Coaches Showcase in Parkland back in January and we got to catch up some on family.  The first time I met Jake we had a lot of fun swapping stories of our youth.  We’re the same age, grew up two towns apart on the Island, we’re both strong Islander fans and in a funny twist I found out he was a bouncer at the night club on Long island I frequented the most, OBI West in Island Park.  If memory serves properly (this is 40 years ago . . . ) the first Nathan’s was down the street. I brought my two posters/prints with me, the Tewaaraton Trophy one and one of Native American players ready for battle, along with the silver and gold pens.  Was able to add Rob Pannell last night to the Tewaaraton one and hope to get Kyle Harrison and Peter Baum too this weekend.  Added Jake to the other and John Grant Jr is a target too for the NA poster.  That makes 5 Tewaaraton winners so far, and yes, I’d love to get the Women winners too! The Launch contingent included Team President Brian Clinton, Coach Mariano, Tucker and Kieran . . . and Kieran’s girlfriend.  Dylan Molloy couldn’t make it for Rookie of the Year . . . Josh Byrne was pretty much a lock for that one.  Former Launch player Kevin Clausen was there to present an award and Casey Powell continued his streak of being at every event I attend, as he also was a presenter that night.  He’ll be holding his Beach Event next weekend at Siesta Key and we discussed some ideas for spreading Speed Lacrosse going forward.  The Speed Lacrosse approach is starting to really catch on and might well be the way that the sport gets its’ place in schools for intramurals and PE, assuming schools still do that. The stadium where the game will take place today is absolutely a perfect venue,  12,000 seats, all under air conditioning.  The only headache is that the parking is a bit of a hike and this is outside Dallas, Texas, not 2 miles from the ocean like I’m used to.  Ford Center at Frisco.  Frisco is RAPIDLY growing.  Even on Saturday morning I was able to turn 360 degrees and see at least half a dozen buildings with construction crews working.  It seems like Dallas is laid out with a bunch of roads that lead out of downtown and go to these mini-cities like Frisco.  Many housing developments are sprouting up and on the way back to the hotel last night I passed Frisco High School, with the ‘Friday Night Lights’ lit up on the football field . . . frankly if I wasn’t on fumes by then I might have stopped and taken in the game.  Given the Cowboys training facility is basically a mile or two away it would have been fun to see.     Of course, Odessa would have been far too long a drive so that was out, but I am still playing in my mind driving over to Southfork on Sunday morning for that pilgrimage, so we’ll see . . . I stand firm that JR Ewing is the best TV character of all time.     Today we will have a youth event starting at 1:00pm, Fan Fest at 4:00pm and the gate open at 4:30, with game time scheduled for 6:00pm CST, and that will be on CBS Sports Network!  I’ll be tabling the normal Tommy B. look in favor of the black polo with the FLN logo.  Pains me to do so but it’s time to get serious with the web site as a business. Everyone should catch the game or at least DVR it!  We’ve got a couple of Florida connections going.  Ohio’s Jake Bernhardt is a Lake Brantley graduate and Max Adler of Denver, if he dresses, is a southeast Florida original and Denver has GM and Assistant Coach Tony Seamen looking to win another championship with the Outlaws.  Last night I was also able to have a nice conversation with Outlaw head coach BJ O’Hara, a fellow Statesman from that great college in Geneva, N.Y. The game itself is a rematch of last year’s tremendous final, where Denver took advantage of a 90-minute rain delay to stage a remarkable comeback and will Ohio be able to gain revenge? Stay tuned . . . and watch tonight!