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  • ReLaxing Luke

Why the Denver Outlaws Experience is Outstanding

The Outlaws stunned the Atlanta Blaze with a buzzer beater goal from Zach Currier. Final: Denver 18, Atlanta 17

On a blistering July 11th, I experienced something new. The city of Denver is home to multiple professional sports teams. The Denver Broncos, Colorado Rockies, Denver Nuggets, and Colorado Avalanche have huge followings; however, the team I witnessed is lesser known. Ironically, while less notorious, this organization is the only Denver sports team in the midst of a dynasty. I’m talking about the Denver Outlaws, the defending Major League Lacrosse champs. The Outlaws have won two of the past three championships and are currently tops in the 2019 MLL standings. In a city filled with mediocre teams, the Denver Outlaws are a diamond in the rough.

Originally, I planned to make the drive from Colorado Springs to Mile High Stadium for the Outlaws’ July 4th special fireworks festival. Admittedly, I spent too much time celebrating America’s birthday on July 3rd in Fort Collins and was not up for another hour-long drive. I shamefully stayed home and watched the game on television. Sadly, mother nature was not kind to the Outlaws as it forced three lightning delays. As I sat on my couch, bummed I was missing out, I swore to myself I would attend the next match.

Backstory aside, I dragged my mother and little sister to their first professional lacrosse game. Sadly, we didn’t anticipate the dreadful traffic on I-25 and missed out on opening faceoff. Such a bummer! On the bright side, that’s all we missed. It took a bit to reach our seats as we loaded up on our favorite stadium snacks. We didn’t miss anymore of the game because Mile High broadcasts the game on screens across the stadium. A very nice touch!

The view from our seats...

When we reached our seats, the score was 7-3 Denver. The Outlaws were dominating. It was here I scanned my surroundings. The crowd looked good. There was an abundance of children. A kiddie camp must have attended, as kids didn’t finish filing into their seats until the third quarter. If you watched on stream, you didn’t see them. They had seats in the upper bowl where there was shade. They couldn’t have handled the sun full-tilt.

Attendance was announced at 5,000 plus. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting the crowd to be this good. For a mid-day game on Thursday, I was pleasantly surprised. If the Outlaws draw this many fans while most are working, how many do they draw on weekends?

The crowd size definitely attributed to the atmosphere. And let me say, the atmosphere was amazing. The PA announcer was informative and kept the crowd engaged. There were competitions and prizes handed out during intermissions. JoJo the War Drummer was pounding on his drum whenever the Outlaws were on defense. I loved this. It built suspense as the shot clock ticked down on the Blaze offense. JoJo also blew a conch. I assume it represents a battle cry, but all I know is I want to blow that conch.

The Outlaws dance team nailed their routines. They give the Dallas Cowboys’ cheerleaders a run for their money on being the best-looking spirit squad. Seriously, they were as fun to watch as the game. When the temperature is already hot, it should be illegal for them to come out. Whenever they ran out, the temperature spiked.

Stix, the Outlaws’ mascot, was cute. He’s a raccoon and constantly engaged the crowd. Stix rocked, but I have an issue with him. In fact, it’s my one complaint of the game. When the spirit squad was throwing free t-shirts, Stix stood in front of our section. He made our section cheer against another to see who was loudest. Ask any witness, I was clearly the loudest, and I saw Stix looking right at me. He knew I was the loudest; yet, in the snub of the century, he tossed his final t-shirt to another section. What the heck? I will never forget this Stix.

Trevor Baptiste, starting faceoff specialist for PLL Atlas, was in attendance. Yours truly got a picture with him. He was supporting MLL Denver alum. I know some fans cheer against one league or the other, so it was nice to see players from separate leagues supporting each other. Both leagues deserve strong support as they’re both figures in our tight knight lacrosse community.

Me with Trevor Baptiste at halftime.

Oops. I almost forgot to write about the game. In short, the game was epic. We sat right behind the Outlaws and heard the sideline talk. Both teams had sick jerseys and gear. John Grant Jr., Max Adler, and Zach Currier were my favorite players to watch.

It’s incredible to see a 42-year-old compete at that level. John Grant Jr. is basically lacrosse’s Tom Brady without an offensive line to protect him.

Adler scored one of the game’s biggest goals. Mid-fourth quarter the Blaze took the lead. The lead was short lived as Adler won the ensuing faceoff and scored. He stole all momentum the Blaze had built.

Zach Currier will be remembered as the hero. With two seconds remaining, in a tie game, Currier scooped up a ground ball to score. It was an impressive play. The play happened from a shot that bounced off the post. The ball went right to Currier who quickly took advantage of his opportunity. The goalie had no chance. Great players make big plays. Zach Currier is a great player.

Post-game, the players sign autographs with young fans who yearn to meet them. You don’t see this at NFL/NBA games. It’s an advantage of lacrosse being smaller. Star players are more accessible. Zach Currier gave a post-game interview that was broadcast to fans. It was touching when he stated “technically, lacrosse is my job, but it’s also not.” It was a tribute to how much MLL players love the game. They don’t make the big bucks like other professional athletes. They stayed loyal to the MLL after plenty bolted for the PLL. It’s sad players, like Currier, don’t make as much as they deserve. Fortunately, the future is bright for professional lacrosse.

To conclude, a Denver Outlaws home game is something every Coloradoan should experience. Tickets are cheap and I guarantee you get your money’s worth. You’ll sit in better seats than you would for a Broncos game (unless you’re rich). Games go much faster than a Rockies game and, unlike the Rockies, you won’t see them blow late leads. Broncos and Avalanche fans can have their hunger for physical play satisfied while they wait for football/hockey season. If you’re a Coloradoan looking to experience something new, please give the Denver Outlaws a chance. I promise you won’t be disappointed. The Outlaw experience is outstanding.

Have you been to an Outlaws game? Are you interested in attending a game? Did my article make you not want to attend? Whatever your thoughts, let me know by connecting with me on Twitter or Instagram. You can also subscribe to my website to comment directly onto this article. By subscribing, you’ll be notified every time I publish a new piece. Any and all support is greatly appreciated. Thank you for reading and, as always, I hope you enjoyed!

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