The 44 participants in Saturday night’s Under Armour All-America Boys Lacrosse Game earned their spots via high school accomplishments and expected college success.
Perhaps next year, the selection panel will also have to consider elite celebration skills.
After multiple goals in the game the North won, 18-16, players from each side conducted individual and group choreography.
Here are five of the celebrations, ranked least to most ridiculous.
5. Signed, Sealed and Delivered
Goal: The first of South attackman Alex Trippi’s two scores came at the 2:17 mark in the first period, connecting on a tight-angled shot from the right.
Celebration: The Bullis graduate ran straight into the net. After shedding his gloves, he appeared to grab some sort of writing utensil from the very back of the goal before picking up the ball, autographing it and handing it to the goalkeeper.
Analysis: If he did, in fact, plant a pen in the back of the net with the expectation he’d score, Trippi’s clearly a forward thinker. The North Carolina commit, however, might want to curb his signature habits to avoid future conflicts with the NCAA.
4. The Joyride
Goal: After a restart behind the net, midfielder Nate Buller charged up the field, turned and fired a left-handed shot about five minutes before halftime.
Celebration: One South player lay down on his back with his legs in the air. Another got on his hands and knees above him. Then, Buller sat atop of the latter teammate, putting his feet in the bottom player’s hands and his hands on the bottom player’s feet, and pretended to ride a bike.
Analysis: The execution was impeccable. Each player his position without hesitation and Buller pedaled with a smooth rhythm. Maybe Buller will construct a similar transportation-themed performance involving a boat when he suits up for Navy – or maybe such antics won’t sit well with the Midshipmen.
3. “Get on up, it’s bobsled time!”
Goal: Late in the fourth quarter, attackman Tehoka Nanticoke extended the North’s lead to five with a behind-the-back shot off a dish from attackman Ryan Lanchbury.
Celebration: As Nanticoke jogged behind the net, a bunch of his teammates followed. They lined up and plopped down, straddling their legs around one another before rocking back and forth to mimic a bobsled team going down a track.
Analysis: Per Nanticoke’s insight after the game, the North players brainstormed during halftime. The Albany commit, originally from Canada, was one of the leaders in developing the idea because he wanted to “get the boys laughing.” Mission accomplished.
2. Duck, Duck, Duck, Duck …
Goal: Attackman Chris Gray took a feed from Avanzato late in the second quarter and buried a behind-the-back attempt for the North’s 10-7 advantage.
Celebration: Gray’s initial reaction was to jog toward his teammates until a swarm, including all the players on the bench, bull-rushed him. They sat in a circle in the South’s defensive zone and Gray stood and started to tap his teammates on the head for a game of duck-duck-goose.
Analysis: This shenanigan best displayed the North squad’s team chemistry, as all 22 players had a role. Bonus points for executing it in the first half — which means they must have developed it before the game — and for having the guts to do it so close to the defenders they had just beaten.
1. The sideline RKO
Goal: Maryland commit Cole “Bubba” Fairman somehow managed a slick over-the-shoulder look with a few minutes remaining for the second of his two goals.
Celebration: The nation’s No. 1 recruit’s jog toward the sideline gave no impression the game’s most ridiculous celebration was about to ensue. But then Fairman jumped on a man — who had his back turned to the field but seemed ready for the act — grabbing his shoulders and tackling him. Another actor lay down next to where Fairman made the pin and mimicked a wrestling referee, declaring Fairman the victor.
Analysis: Because of the surprise factor and that he performed the move so well — none of the participants appeared to suffer injuries — Fairman’s move went viral on social media. But it’s easy to imagine Maryland coach John Tillman, who often speaks of his Navy background and appreciation for discipline, grimacing as he watched his soon-to-be freshman’s excessive celebration.