• ReLaxing Luke

The New York Riptide Experience


The New York Riptide are the new kid on the block...

Early December, ocean tides rose. Ships sunk. Cruises were cancelled. Long Island suffered a historical tsunami. What happened? The New York Riptide arrived. In 2019, NLL commissioner, Nick Sakiewicz, announced the formation of two brand new franchises. The Rochester Knighthawks (does this even count?) and New York Riptide.


Attending university in New Jersey, I was pumped. NLL lacrosse an hour away? Sign me up! With my own collegiate lacrosse responsibilities, academic work, and required girlfriend time, it’s been hard to attend games. Finally, last Saturday, we didn’t have an early morning practice. I could stay up Friday night. What happened Friday? A Riptide game. I proposed date night to Valerie, my girlfriend. She was down. I went online and purchased tickets.


Friday came and we were off to a slow start. Opening faceoff occurred at 7:30. Lacrosse practice ended at 5:30. Luckily, my girlfriend arrived on time (to my dorm). After brushing my teeth and changing, we left at 6. I typed directions into my phone and uh oh. Our estimated arrival was at 7:30. A typical one hour drive increased thanks to rush hour traffic.


Speeding, I shaved off some minutes until we hit the George Washington Bridge. Ugh. I assumed Siri would take me around New York City. Not through. What can I say? I’m from Colorado. In Colorado, there’s roads around Denver. You don’t have to go through major cities. I used my Coloradoan driving tactics to tank through traffic.


We approached Nassau Coliseum with ten minutes remaining. But then, Siri announced our arrival. We couldn’t find parking. Our ten-minute buffer quickly disappeared. Thankfully, Valerie suggested another route and we found a spot. Parked, we bolted to the door. I relaxed. We barely made it on time. But fate was against me. I loaded my Stubhub tickets, but alas, they weren’t there. Feeling defeated, I wanted to call it a night. Thankfully, Valerie was by my side. She suggested we go to the ticket office and ask if they could find them. I talked to a friendly ticket manager, who quickly searched our names and printed two tickets. Boom. We were in.


And thank god we were. It was worth every penny. Riptide games are a blast! Even better, I got to share my love of lacrosse with Valerie (who’d never seen an NLL game). We quickly took in our surroundings (more on those later) and lunged toward our seats. We missed opening faceoff by two minutes. Sorry guys, I tried so hard to arrive early. I wanted to provide insight on Riptide pregame ceremonies. Regrettably, it wasn’t meant to be (until I return).


The score was 1-0 New England. Almost immediately, I noticed how nice New York’s jerseys look. The combination of Riptide’s blue with New England’s orange was aesthetically pleasing. I was surprised by New York’s speed. The ball movement was crisp. They didn’t look like a one-win team.


Our seats provided premier viewing. I could see everything. The $25 tickets were a steal. Thankfully, I didn’t buy expense seats. As much fun as we had, you couldn’t ignore the empty seats. I’ve been to Saskatchewan Rush and Colorado Mammoth games. On game days, the arenas are packed. Not so here. It was sad.


Our view...

Attending fans were attentive but quiet. Lots of older folk. New York needs some crazy fans. Following Riptide goals, smoke and fireworks blasted out. The crowd cheered with golf claps. No screaming. No over-the-top drunks. No fire. The Riptide DJ, who did a fantastic job, tried to rally the crowd. There were “let’s go Riptide” cheers every five minutes. I shamelessly made Valerie do them. I looked around. It seemed we were the only participants. So quiet.


The Riptide DJ deserves a special shout out. The guy was hilarious. He constantly cracked knockout jokes. My favorite? He told New England they couldn’t deflate lacrosse balls. Lots of Tom Brady trash talk. He had another shtick where he’d grumpily provide stats after a New England goal. Extremely well played. Give him a pay raise!


Our only critique? Too much remixed EDM in the first half. Valerie pointed it out. During the second half, the DJ played more classic rock. With a seemingly older fanbase, play songs we know. Every franchise plays EDM, but mix it up some. Five EDM songs in a row is too much. We preferred the classic rock. Call me old fashioned.


The Riptide mascot, Eddy, reminded me of Gritty. A funny looking wave mascot. I loved him. Valerie hated him. I proceeded to dump her (just kidding). I think he’s a hit with kids. The Riptide dancers were extremely talented. Probably the best NLL dance crew I’ve seen. For the amount of practices they hold (not much), the routines were impressive. Valerie loved their outfits. The girls cheered like maniacs. They danced in the Sandbar and in between play. I could see them cheering and taking pics with fans. Great representatives of Riptide nation.


The Sandbar...

The Sandbar is a special viewing area. Here, fans sit/stand at floor level. They crowd around the boards and watch. Food and games are provided. The Sandbar is where the action is.

At halftime, Val and I visited the concourse. Here, I bought her a cute Riptide long sleeve. We snagged some free goodies (phone gear, mini schedules) at one station. We got some yummy burgers and enjoyed the second half.


Unfortunately, New England won 12-8. A scoreless third quarter doomed Riptide. There’s talent, but not enough. Ultimately, I believe the squad’s losing streak hurts attendance. A new product needs to provide something. No one wants to pay for games Riptide consistently lose. Being consistently competitive is the next step. I was shocked Myles Jones wasn’t incorporated into the offensive game plan. I believe he could be utilized as a screen. In the offseason, Riptide should look at signing more big-name field players. Sign a guy like Rob Pannell. Get big names people want to see. Signing Myles Jones and Connor Farrell is a start.


Overall, attending New York Riptide games is a must. You owe it to yourself to experience one. So far, we’re a small, but loyal fanbase. There’s room for more. Here’s a chance for New Yorkers to grow something special. The family friendly event differentiates itself from other sporting events. Long Island is the mecca of lacrosse. I know New York should have higher attendance. Having an NLL team in Long Island is a privilege. Let’s show the league we’re in it for the long haul. There are better days ahead. If you aren’t already, get behind New York. Here’s a chance to build our own tradition. The Riptide play Georgia Friday March 6. I only have one question. Will you be there?


A successful date night...

Conclusion


Are you a Riptide fan? Have you attended a game? Plan to? Whatever your thoughts, air them by connecting with me on Twitter or Instagram. You can comment directly onto this article by subscribing. By subscribing, you’ll be notified whenever I publish a new article. Any and all support is appreciated. Regardless, thank you for reading. Go Riptide!

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