Toronto Rock at Vancouver Warriors
I have never been to a lacrosse match before, so when my colleague generously offered me a pair of tickets he couldn’t use, I was more than happy to take them off his hands.
Hosted at Rogers Arena, I was already familiar with the stadium’s processes and set up? due to previously attended Canucks games. I won’t be recapping the actual match, but will list all my observations as a first time attendee.
For those unfamiliar, lacrosse is the game that uses nets at the end of sticks to catch and throw a ball from one end of the field to another, with the goal to shoot and land said ball in the opposing team’s goal/net. Like scoop ball with the travelling of soccer and the rules of hockey.
Players wear hockey-like jerseys with the matching helmets and gloves, but run back and forth in basketball shorts, wearing cross trainers. The goalie is fully padded, almost an inch more all around, than that of a hockey goalie. They looked like a sumo wrestler standing before their regulation sized hockey nets.
Our row 8 seats in the lower bowl gave us a great vantage point for all the nonstop action. The game is played as intensely as any other sport. But for those not to engaged in the match, the sporting event is like a giant party from the first scrimmage to the final seconds of round 4.
For starters, in hockey, when the puck drops the stadium is quiet. If you are close enough to the ice you can hear the coaches shout and the players banter. But in lacrosse, the lively music used to amp up the crowd in between plays, sounds on. Through the moment of pause to deliberate on a decision, to a switch in line up, and even during face off.
Given that the modern pop, dance, and classic punk rock tracks are nonstop, it makes sense that there is a house DJ. And that the house DJ performs on a stage. And if there is a DJ and a stage, there should be an audience. Thus introducing the Party Zone at each lacrosse game. The Party Zone is where tickets are inexpensive, seating is standing room only, and if you are lucky you can claim a high top table to lead and linger around.
And at this roped off end of the field, attendees of legal age can drink with careless abandon and dance their hearts out. Partying to the non stop music, alongside the Vancouver Warriors’ cheer/dance team. A battalion of dancers and merry makers are on site each game to keep the energy flowing. They bob and bop flanking the DJ’s booth as the match progresses. During intermission they are mingling with the crowd and encouraging them to cheer for free swag or “make noise” to be featured on the jumbotron.
And like football, lacrosse has a half time. During this time the cheer team and dance squad perform for those left in their seats. There was also a potato sack race, and tee shirts being tossed into the crowd from the back of a Ford pick up.
And just like their intermissions, each lacrosse goal is celebrated as ornately. Flashes of light, burst of smoke, and the ability to scream your head off.
But like with all other games held at Rogers Arena, pauses in between periods are the perfect time to grab some or reup on food and drink. Year’s past, Rogers Arena has done much to bring their concession to the modern century, offering more than the basic fountain beer, Hot Dog on bun, nacho chips with melted cheese, and/or popcorn.
Now you can have your hotdog made more interesting with toppings like hickory sticks, strawberry jam, and cheesy perogies. Or indulge in a gourmet grilled cheese sandwich, built with a similarly diverse topping list as with the Hot Dogs above. Today we went to Carve for one of their meat friendly sandwiches.
We were eyeing the Lumberjack Sandwich built with pulled pork, Montreal smoked meat, and beef brisket. However they were out of the pulled pork, so offered a trade. A substantial scoop of the creamy filling that would go into a lobster roll; served on the side with our chips. This was in lieu of one less meaty between between buttery buns, We took them up on their offer and was happy to discover that the lobster mix was a great dip for our crispy, regularly salted chips. As for the burger itself, it at e dry. Even with the aid of the help yourself mustard bar, the sandwich was dull.
But for those who rather not do the shimmy out of the isle, you can just as easily get a beer by way of travelling concession. Hail one of the attendants supporting an iced tray of beverages around their neck, for a can or two.
In closing, this wasn’t the sporting event I had envision, but something so much better. If you are are looking for a fun venue to have a great and memorable night at, I would recommend and suggest that you try partying at a lacrosse game. After all, where else can you find a venue where the staff try this hard to get the crowd going, and to keep them constantly amped. Crossing another off the bucket list.