Lacrosse has been on a steady rise in the sports world for the last 10 years and if it hasn’t sunk in yet, it will when, comes out during spring 2012.
Having covered the game since going to high school at Sachem and college at Hofstra, I’ve been surrounded by lacrosse oriented communities for over a decade. Almost two years ago I spoke to movie producer Todd Harris through a mutual lacrosse connection about a potential project called “Crooked Arrows.”
I liked the idea, the chance to see a film about a game still fighting to be at the main dinner table. Saturday I stood on the set of “Crooked Arrows” and endured the bridging of the gap between where lacrosse was and where it’s headed – to the big screen.
“Crooked Arrows” is your typical underdog sports movie – think Mighty Ducks – about a ragtag high school lacrosse team that plays under the same name as the title of the film. They play a dynasty-like school called Coventry in a championship game, which is what was filmed Saturday at
Only time will tell if you’ll see my mug on camera, but I stood by in multiple scenes that were filmed, notepad and pen in hand, as a journalist extra. Look for the guy with the blue polo shirt, sun glasses and a press pass around his neck. That’s me.
As hundreds of fans were instructed to stand and cheer at times, I did as I always do when reporting at a game, I put my head down in my pad and recorded what I just saw. It was nothing new for me.
It was an eye-opening experience to be around a movie set. There is far too much down time compared to my hectic pinball type day where I’m bouncing around from one assignment and task to another constantly until I hit my pillow. For 13 hours they shot multiple scenes from the championship game.
What struck me was the legitimacy of the lacrosse action. They brought in Mark Ellis from Sports Studio, which has helped produce many of the major sports films in the last decade, including “Miracle,” “Jerry McGuire,” and “Any Given Sunday,” among others.
Producers also brought in former Johns Hopkins and current Washington Stealth player Jameson Koesterer as an advisor.
“Sports Studio is legit,” Koesterer said. “We try to make it as authentic as possible. Mark Ellis is the best in the business.”
Adding to the authenticity of the film, the championship game footage also included cameos of Virginia coach Dom Starsia, Syracuse men’s coach John Desko, Syracuse women’s coach Gary Gait, Harvard coach Chris Wojcik, Tufts coach Mike Daly, Brown coach Lars Tiffany and West Genessee High School coach Mike Messere. Producers wanted to create the same affect as the movie “The Blind Side,” which featured a handful of famous college football coaches.
Yes, I spoke to Messere. I reminded him about 1979 when Sachem beat his Wildcats in the New York State championship. He remembered, but didn't have to remind of the 15 state titles he's won since.
Starsia, a Long Island native, joked about being asked to appear in the film. There’s nothing funny about his Division I record 329 wins and four national championship rings.
“I’m glad to be still in the game so I can be a part of this,” he said.
The film stars Brandon Routh, who is most known for playing Superman in the last film about the man of steel. He’s not a lacrosse nut by trade, but has learned to love the game.
“It’s a small niche sport," he said, "which, hopefully in the process of making this movie, is going to grow across the states.”