Maryland/Johns Hopkins lacrosse games are on this list as well. The series known as “Lacrosse’s Greatest Rivalry” always produces memorable moments, but there’s something about Maryland/Hopkins at Homewood Field that’s even greater than a game at Byrd Stadium or M&T Bank Stadium. That likely has something to do with the fact that when these teams get together at Homewood Field, you couldn’t possibly find an empty seat.
This was the case again Saturday night, as there wasn’t a seat to be had at Homewood Field. Not only was there not a seat to be had, but there were PLENTY of people who wandered over to University Parkway looking to a buy a ticket and were sadly turned away. I had thought about writing something about how the rivalry was too big for the games to be played at Homewood Field anymore, but just being reminded me that the games there were simply better.
It was indeed a magical night Saturday night. There was Baltimore sports royalty in attendance like Ravens coach John Harbaugh, as well as a who’s who of area lacrosse coaches and former players. The close proximity of the two programs who are amongst the most significant in the sport allowed for a “split” crowd and a veritable “high school football” atmosphere in the stands. No matter what happened on the field, half of the roughly 10,000 fans in attendance would go crazy in celebration.
There was jarring between fans. There were chants for both teams. There were violations of fire codes everywhere you looked. (I mean everywhere, too. I saw fans sitting in places where I’m not totally certain there were actual places.)
On top of everything, there was a hell of a lacrosse game. The Blue Jays jumped out to a 6-3 lead early in the second half and appeared to be en route to another dominant performance in the history of the series. That changed quickly, as the Terrapins used a brilliant defensive performance over the course of the final 27 minutes to win 9-6. It was perhaps the most significant victory in the young tenure of head coach John Tillman in College Park, and it was an experience fans in attendance will talk about for years to come.
It was a magical night at Homewood Field. It’s just a shame some people who think they know Baltimore sports would have no idea how to explain it. It’s a shame some people were more concerned Saturday about the results of a NHL team from out of town than they were an incredible sporting event going on in their own backyard.
(That’s not a shot at Baltimoreans who root for the Washington Capitals. I root for the Phoenix Coyotes. Neither are local. But my love of the ‘Yotes would never get in the way of me experiencing something special about Baltimore sports.)
And this isn’t a shot at everyone who skipped Saturday night’s game. It’s much more a reminder that if you’ve never experienced it, you’re missing out. And for those of you that want to “dominate the market”, you should probably start by understanding what makes us special.
(Thanks to Inside Lacrosse for photo.)