We’ve all been there, standing next to our counterpart on the other team and not knowing what to say. Small talk is a difficult but vital life skill that sooner or later you will have to perfect. Playing close defense or attack can lead to long boring stretches of the game with the ball on the opposite side of the field leaving you just watching your teammates have more fun than you. But it does not to need be this way, some of my favorite lacrosse memories are the strange 30-minute friendships formed in this initially awkward situation. I, Teague Whalen, have complied a foolproof list of 5 topics of conversations for you and the guy on the other team to talk about. While I do not guarantee immediate friendship with the opposing player, these are a great place to start.
It’s a small world. You guys are presumably in the same league, at the same age range, and both playing lacrosse. You probably know someone or of someone from one another’s hometowns. This is an excellent way to start a conversation that can go places. There are many follow up questions to be asked regarding someone’s hometown that can lead to quarters worth of conversation time. You have no idea how many possessions it will be before you see the ball again. So, go for it! Ask him about the historical monuments his town has to offer or the caliber of play in his high school lacrosse league. You can brag about that one time you held that kid you know who went D1 to only 3 goals and 4 assists. Try to learn something about a different place in the world and expand your horizons. Lacrosse IQ is important but regular IQ is arguably even more important.
This is sure to throw your opponent for a loop. Works best during night games. Just straight up ask the guy, “Hey man you ever see a UFO?”. This conversation can lead you guys into a crazy rabbit hole that could change both of your lives forever. If you have a UFO experience/ encounter/ abduction you should definitely share it, even he seems disinterested. I’m sure he’ll love it anyways. This could lead you into a conversation about The Flat Earthers, Sasquatch, Mothman, or any other crazy conspiracy you happened to see on Reddit the night before. You could always use a second opinion on your controversial and brave beliefs so hey why not see if your opponent can become your ally. If not, you totally just threw him off his game and he’ll be too confused and scared of you to think about lacrosse anymore.
3. What’d You Guys Do Last Night?
This one probably works best for club guys. Talking about the party scene of your school and where the best bars in town has happened in just about every single club game I have ever played in. It’s just fun to see what life is like at other schools and that’s why visiting high school friends at their schools is always a good idea. This ice breaker will give you an opportunity to tell a story about the cool thing that happened to you guys, like when one of your close defensemen had a little too much fun the night before and tried to run a few miles in Washington, D.C. from the bars to the National Mall at 3am. All teams have wildcards like this and that is a totally normal thing that happens the first time somebody goes out in D.C. Anyways enough about me, this article is about you and your new friend on the other team. If anything, this topic can be used to show how cool you are and how much beer you drink.
4. The Catfishes that are All Over Tinder
This topic may be more relatable than you think. Is it just me or is everyone else on Tinder seeing way more obvious catfishes and bots? Maybe your counterpart agrees with me. Ask him his strategies on dating apps and how he is able to stay away from catfish. He probably has a method on how to optimize Hinge, Bumble and Tinder to achieve maximum likes and exposure. Does he pay for Tinder Gold? Is he going to flex on you and let you know that right off the bat? Maybe he has been Catfished! Maybe he was on the show! Wow is your attackmen famous? Who knows, you sure won’t until you ask him. If for some strange reason he has a girlfriend, ask him if she has any friends who like washed up close defenseman, like yourself. Could this be the game that somehow ends in you getting a girlfriend?
5. Complain about Your Teammates
This one on one conversation is an excellent opportunity to vent all your frustrations about other members of the team to another person who knows something about lacrosse. It’s like a free therapy session with your opponent as your lacrosse aware therapist. You guys can bond over how poorly the middies play defense or how goalies often do let in soft goals. Being a good teammate is all about lifting your team up and not criticizing them. But seriously what’s this kid going to do? Tell the kid you’re whining about what you said? Yeah right, he would never. There is a certain code that must be followed on the lacrosse field and that definitely goes against it. So, wear your heart on your sleeve and complain all you want about how in practice the attackmen dodge against you every single time and give 110% but in the games, they never want the ball and turn it over constantly. Your secret is safe with him.
No matter which one of these topics you choose remember lacrosse is a game of networking at the end of the day. Well not really, I just made that up but it can be. I urge you to take a chance and make that possession you have no impact on what so ever a little more fun in your next game. Maybe this guy has a good-looking sister or his company is hiring your specific role. Take chances people who knows what will happen. One final note, for all the defenseman. There is no better feeling in the world than lulling your attackman into a false sense of security by making jokes and talking to him and then absolutely slashing the shit out of him on the next possession. You didn’t pick up that pole to make friends. You did it because you enjoy causing turnovers and breaking loser attackmen’s wrists. Good luck out there and have fun!