Lake Norman lacrosse player draws friends into the sport
Friday, Mar. 21, 2014

Lake Norman lacrosse player draws friends into the sport

Matt Crowell steps onto the field, ready to play lacrosse.

Eight years ago, Matt Crowell started playing lacrosse because his next-door neighbor in The Peninsula played the sport.

“I thought he was cooler than me,” Matt said. “So I started playing to be cool, too.”

Initially, Matt knew nothing about lacrosse.

“My friends used to kid me. Thought I was playing cricket,” he said. “Now the sport has really caught on. All my friends play. Even the ones who were questionable about the sport in the beginning now play and enjoy lacrosse.”

Now a 17-year-old high school junior, Matt recently started his lacrosse season. He plays for a club team. He started the team with several friends and the backing of Carolina Xtreme Lacrosse Club of Lake Norman.

“We have players on our team who come all the way from Hickory,” Matt said.

Matt explained some of the sport.

“It was like they took soccer and hockey and rugby and kind of mixed it into one sport.” He said Native Americans played it on huge fields, sometimes between whole tribes, and the games took several days. Games were played for exercise and religious reasons.

Matt plays the attacker position. “I receive the ball from the midfielders, then confuse the defenders so the middies can score, or get the ball from the midfielders and score myself.”

Matt’s best game ever was last year when he scored five goals. His worst was when he first started playing and wasn’t sure what position was best for him.

“I was playing defense, and got hit with the ball in the femur,” he said. “I had a bruise the size of a basketball. It hurt every time I walked.”

He likes playing lacrosse so much, Matt said, because he started to play “before my friends started, so I was already good at it before my friends started playing. … It’s fun to be physical but not play football.”

Then he laughed, saying that another reason was that “it’s fun to get to hit people with a metal stick.”

When Matt goes to college, he said, he’d like to play lacrosse as a club sport.

“In college, I need to focus on my studies, not on something I won’t be doing professionally,” he said.

He said he plans on majoring in economics or business and isn’t sure where he’ll go.

He does know where he won’t go to college: “Anywhere but Alabama,” he joked. His grandmother was from Louisiana. “She’d roll over in her grave if I went there,” he said.

Lisa Daidone is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Lisa? Email her at

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