“We’re playing for our playoff lives right now, that’s the reality of the situation,” Swarm Assistant Coach Aime Caines said matter-of-factly earlier this week. “Every game from here on out is a playoff game to us. That’s the hole we’ve dug ourselves and to get out we need wins. It all starts Saturday night at the Hive.”
If you take a look at the East Division standings you get a sense why Caines and the rest of the coaching staff and players feel the heat. Five games into the season, the Swarm is 1-4 and looking up at the rest of the Division. Since the new playoff format dictates that only three teams in each division make the postseason, the time is now to increase the numbers in the W column. “We played our best game offensively last Saturday against Colorado,” Caines adds. “The 12 goals we scored were easily the most all season and we juggled a few things on offense and it made a difference. We expect it to make a difference Saturday too.”
Last Friday night, for the first time all season, the Swarm went out as a team for a team building night. No lacrosse talk… just a chance to get to know each other better, something that’s critical to success on the turf. “Since training camp we’ve dispersed, gotten back together for games, then dispersed again,” says Caines. “It’s so important to build friendships with the guys you play with. You want to work harder for your teammate when you know he has a wife and kids. When you know his work situation… the personal stuff is so much more important sometimes than the lacrosse stuff.”
Last Friday night’s event… bowling. Imagine 20 guys and the coaching staff putting on funky shoes and bowling. You know there are some funny stories from that night. Here are a few… see if you can guess who’s who.
· The best bowler on the team bowled a 150… halfway to a perfect game. While he’s no Earl Anthony (Google him), that’s a pretty good number. The gold medal goes to… Aime Caines.
· The second best bowler last weekend is also a coach. His 140 was almost good enough to beat Caines. The silver medalist… Joe Sullivan.
· The gold medal winning best bowler among the players is a second year defenseman… he’s from Ohio State and apparently bowled quite a bit while a Buckeye. The answer… Brock Sorenson.
· This Swarm player bowled the fastest ball among all the players. Notice I didn’t say the most accurate ball. The gold medal winning fastest bowler, launching the ball in the mid 20 miles per hour is… David Earl (Notre Dame must have had a bowling team)
· And finally, the most improved bowler. His first game he bowled a pedestrian 63. That’s pretty brutal. But the second game he miraculously more than doubled that score bowling a 130. That man… Bobby Keast.
With that newfound feeling of camaraderie, the Swarm played well but not well enough against Colorado. Saturday night, back at the Hive, the team needs to put it all together against a solid Calgary Roughnecks team. “This is a good team,” says Caines. “They lost in overtime to Colorado last weekend but we match up very well against them. We need to shut down their big guns (Dane Dobbie tied for 4th in the NLL in scoring with 16 goals and Jeff Shattler-12 goals), keep our offense clicking and take care of business at the Hive. We’re angry at how we played in the home opener against Philadelphia. We took it personally… look for a very strong performance this Saturday night at the Hive.”
We’ll be there!
The Toyota Professor