by Bill Tanton | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter
For the life of me, I couldn't understand how the U.S. lost to Canada for the world championship this summer. All those fantastic players the U.S. had, all those great coaches — I thought the U.S. was unbeatable.
And then I had a talk with Tom Marechek that proved to be an eye opener.
Marechek needs no introduction in any lacrosse publication. He's one of the most decorated players in the game's history. He's in every Hall of Fame possible, including the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame.
There's something else that gives him a different slant on this: He's Canadian.
Marechek came to America from Victoria, British Columbia. He played at Syracuse when the Gait twins, Paul and Gary, made the same trip a quarter century ago. They're all in their mid-40s now.
“The U.S. did not play as a team. Nobody playing for Canada took it on himself to be the man.”
Everyone knows by now that the Canadians slowed it down in the FIL world championship game to win 8-5, perhaps to the disappointment of the 11,861 spectators expecting an exciting show July 19 at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo.
Marechek stated with pride that the Canadians were "very unselfish, very tactical" in limiting Team USA to five goals. The U.S. averaged 17.83 goals per game up to the final.
"What Canada did in slowing it down reminded me of what coach Bill Tierney's Princeton team did to beat us (Syracuse) in the NCAA championship game in 1992," Marechek said. "That's why it seemed a bit hypocritical when Tierney said on national television during the world games that international lacrosse needs a shot clock."
Marechek, who played for Canada in 1990, 1994 and 1998, believes the U.S. and Canada had very different approaches in Colorado.
"The U.S. did not play as a team," he said. "Nobody playing for Canada took it on himself to be the man. Paul Rabil is a great player, but he's not the whole game. We were taught when we were learning the game back in Victoria that if you didn't play two-way lacrosse [to include defense], you weren't going to play on that team."