By Eric Dubrow
Elm Staff Writer
This spring, for the first time ever, the “War on the Shore,” the long-standing rivalry between the men’s lacrosse teams of Washington College and Salisbury University, will be aired live on television, as well as by live webcast. Viewers will be able to catch the game on ABC 2 out of Baltimore, or on ESPN3.com. The game will take place on May 7 at the Roy Kirby, Jr. Stadium.
The initiative to broadcast the game stemmed, not from within the college, but from ABC itself, ESPN’s parent company.
“They approached us,” said Dr. Bryan Matthews, Director of Athletics. “A gentleman at channel 2 in Baltimore, he’s been the producer of these channel 2 lacrosse games for over 10 years, and he said he’s always wanted to do the ‘War on the Shore.’”
Adding to the level of excitement is the fact that ESPN focuses almost exclusively on Division I teams, making this level of publicity for a Division III event all the more unusual. Matthews, however, was optimistic that this won’t be a one-off occurrence, and that “we’re hoping it will be every year.”
On game day, the school will play host to a number of tractor-trailers and cameramen, which will contribute to the carnival atmosphere associated with the “War on the Shore.” Matthews was especially curious about the 30-second spot devoted to promoting WC during half-time, saying, “you just can’t buy this sort of publicity.”
Meanwhile, the team itself is taking the news of the upcoming broadcast in stride, though head coach Jeff Shirk affirms that, “they are excited about it. Lacrosse players are not used to playing on TV, and even at the D-I level it’s very recent that they televise so many games. I think they’re excited about it and looking forward to it.”
In terms of preparation, Shirk stressed that the team members would treat this game like every other of the season, and that they would not let the pressure of publicity get to them.
“We’re going to do what we do, try to prepare, not act like it’s on a big stage, and treat it like every other game to where we’re going to prepare as well as we can to give us the best opportunity to be successful that day,” he said.
Hopefully the team will indeed be able to ignore the cameras, because this season’s squad is a young one. Shirk confirmed that there were only four seniors on the roster, but “by that time of the year, we’re going to have so many games under our belt, and we’ll have already played in some pretty big-pressure games, and I’m confident that they’re going to handle it.”
Fans can expect to see a fast and aggressive game that day. Shirk said that “We’ve got strong goalies, we’re athletic, and I think we’ve got smart players, so we are going to stay up-tempo.”
Shirk, who began his time at the school at the beginning of last semester, hopes to bring back some balance to the WC-Salisbury rivalry. While the overall record is fairly even, Shirk conceded that in recent years it has become “lopsided,” with Salisbury having been the victors in the “War” for 10 straight years. With any luck, this will be the year that the Shoremen emerge triumphant.
February 18, 2011
Volume LXXXI Issue 15