I am convinced that there is a curse in the lacrosse world. A curse that brings down great programs from National Champ status to sudden pretenders. This curse is when a program is called a Dynasty.
EXAMPLE 1: The Chesapeake Bayhawks had incredible success between 2010 and 2013, winning the championship in each year except 2011. After their final Championship commentators deemed their team “The Bayhawk Dynasty” and sealed their fate for the coming years. After 4 years of being the league bullies, all the sudden the Bayhawks struggled to win. 2014-2016 have failed to have Chesapeake reach the playoffs and at one point was the worst team in the league other than Charlotte. Now, they’re on their way back up with acquiring Myles Jones and now Lyle Thomson. (Sidenote: am I the only one who thinks that those two trades were beneficial for Atlanta and Florida too?)
EEXAMPLE 2: The Rochester Knighthawks won three Championships in a row. Dynasty. Theeeeen they missed the playoffs. I would like to comment more, but I need to follow the NLL more closely.
EXAMPLE 3: Duke. Oh Duke. I feel like everyone knew the success couldn’t last. 8 straight finals fours and then 3 National Championships in 2010, 2013 and 2014 is flat out amazing. And if SOMEONE (coughEamonMcAnaneycough) had not called them a dynasty after their third championship then maybe they would not have this curse. They lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament each year following Jordan Wolf and that amazing senior class’ graduation. Duke still manages to get top tier talent but this is the first time I have ever seen them so low on the Top 20 list and sometimes not even on it since I started watching lacrosse. It’s pretty crazy if you ask me.
All of this being said, these teams do have some bright sides to look on. The biggest is that these slumps usually just need some changes. Loyola (MD) was in a trouble after Joe Fletcher and Mike Sawyer graduated but have recovered with the addition of Pat Spencer. Chesapeake was very close to the playoffs after collecting some new talent and Lyle Thompson might be the final piece to success. Duke continues to collect high level recruits and have one of the best coaching staffs in the game.
Curses don’t last forever. I expect each program to make a great rebound. Although the Knighthawks currently sit at 4-8, Chesapeake was a win away from making the playoffs in 2016 while Duke, in typical fashion, is improving over the season after a rocky start and sit at 7-2.
A curse only controls you if you let it. Take control of what you can control and move forward.