Stoetzer: Maxed out with lax in less than 4 hours

When the weather forecast treats you to a splendid summer day, it’s nice to take advantage and get outside. Which is what I told myself and my fiancee as we contemplated how to spend some of our Saturday morning and early afternoon.

But what to do?


Take to one of the many hiking trails around town? Pick strawberries at Baugher’s? Relaxing on a restaurant patio with a refreshing drink?

Please. I knew the best way to enjoy an unofficial start to summer was to experience youth sports at its finest. And what better option than Lax Max, which the Westminster area is hosting this weekend for a ninth consecutive year?

The annual youth lacrosse tournament made its way to Carroll County while celebrating its silver anniversary. The event seems to always be a success, and I’ve been to several of them in recent years to talk to players, coaches, and tournament officials for stories in the paper so I knew the terrain.

This time was different, though — my niece and nephew had rec lacrosse games to play, and I was free to go support the family. I also figured I’d pitch in and serve as a virtual Uber driver so that my nephew could get to his afternoon game in time (my sister and brother-in-law coach their daughter’s rec team, which was playing its afternoon game almost simultaneously).

We made the short trip to Deer Park Sports Complex to catch the second half of my niece’s morning contest, only to be greeted with the unfortunate news — her team trailed by five goals at halftime.

What my family didn’t realize is that we happened to come bearing gifts of good luck.

A big second half helped my niece’s team forge a tie, thanks to a goal in the final minute. And, as one spectator made sure to point out, a tie is better than a loss.

Although I’d be hard-pressed convincing many of the parents that watched the game.

And they were everywhere — perched in their outdoor chairs, many equipped with awnings to block the sun; sitting under tents and canopies with a variety of food and drink at the ready; or, standing within inches of the sideline to get as close as humanly possible to the action on the field.

And losing their voices before it was all over.

I’d like to think I helped my niece’s team just by showing up, you know, for moral support. But perhaps I needed to scream at the top of my lungs every time I noticed her not hustling to the ball, or not passing to an open teammate.

Isn’t that part of the coach’s job description?

I understand and respect the passion that goes along with rec sports, and when your kid is involved, emotions can rise to a new level. But when parents from each team are arguing about how many players were offside on the same play, and the official lets the play continue because she’s out there trying to teach the girls once in a while, something doesn’t seem right.

I know this, however — I’ll think twice next time about muttering to myself that everyone just needed to relax. I’m pretty sure I saw the whites of one mother’s eyes through her reflective sunglasses.


Sorry, I’ll be shutting up now.

With the girls taking a break between games, we made the trek to Sandymount Park and dropped off my nephew for his second contest of the day.

Once again, the weather was ideal. Sunny but just enough cloud cover, and a nice breeze. And this time, we found the Kona Ice truck that had to be making a killing for the weekend.

Shaved ice and not-too-sweet syrup hit the spot, but I found it funny the line was all but non-existent. I guess there was too much lacrosse going on at once, which also might have explained the “Fear Factor” challenge of using the port-a-john adjacent to our field.

(I didn’t heed nature’s call, but the account I received of the bathroom’s condition sounded like something out of a horror movie.)

The second game wasn’t as hotly contested, although I didn’t make many friends when I declared my nephew’s team the winner despite there being close to 10 minutes to go.

When I joked to one of the officials, who was standing near the sideline during a timeout, to keep the fouls one-sided for the remainder of the game, the spectators nearby predicted a jinx.

What could possibly go wrong with a nice lead and time running out, I said out loud?

The ensuing penalty handed to my nephew’s team a mere moments out of the timeout didn’t help my stance. But the boys held on, and our side enjoyed its second win of the day.

It was right around then, I decided, that my tolerance for lax had reached its max. I’m sure the tournament was running smoothly, and will continue to do so Sunday.

But with parts of our bodies crisping in the sun, and stomachs growling, and some tempers still simmering around the field, it was best to call it a day.

I don’t have children, but I’m well aware of the rec sports experience. It takes a special type of calm to navigate such potential murky waters.

I’m just glad I only had a few hours to try and survive.

Now, time for that refreshing drink.