Total Lacrosse Magazine
I have been friends with Lance Crafton for several years! We first met on social media and then we met in person at the Shootout For Soldiers California event in the Summer of 2015. Lance is a military veteran with 10 years serving in the United States Marine Corps. The 1st game of every Shootout For Soldiers event is the Veterans Game. Being that this was the 1st time Shootout For Soldiers held an event in California, there were not as many veterans playing in this game as the following year and each year after that. So, they asked me and a few other civilians if we wanted to play, and I gladly took them up on that opportunity! I started at Close Defense for the STARS & Lance Crafton started at attack for the STRIPES! I had my hands full playing defense on the former MLL player Lance Crafton. Lance took me 1 on 1 several times that game, and he scored goals on most. I did land a good trail check at the right time to stop one of his shots from following through though. The next day Lance & I were teammates on the Temecula Relics. Lance played on my team, Total Lacrosse Club in the Sin City Box Classic(SCBC) in January of 2016, Hawaii Lacrosse Invitational in 2016. Lance Crafton made a positive impact on the sport of lacrosse & is a great ambassador for the sport! I am proud to have Lance Crafton as a member of the Total Lacrosse Hall Of Fame, Class Of 2018!
JV: What age did you begin playing lacrosse?
JV: What drew you to the sport?
LC: The skill and finesse it took to handle the ball and how physical the game was.
JV: What was your experience like playing in the early years of Major League Lacrosse(MLL)?
LC: I played club ball after college and clubs were growing everywhere with hotspots like Vail and Placid being the showcases for the best clubs. The United States Club Lacrosse Association/ American Lacrosse League (USCLA/ALL) was pretty much the best stage for post- collegiate field lacrosse at the time. There was great talent in the league but it didn’t have the marketing that the NCAA could provide. When the MLL came around, I thought it was just going to be a new ALL, with a lot more sponsorship money and the best names in lacrosse. It started with just 6 teams in two divisions along the east coast. Lacrosse was exploding and college ball at the time was considered the elite platform for field lacrosse but, your favorite players only had four years in the spotlight. The NLL (MILL when I was in school) was the only professional avenue for lacrosse after college but, it was box style. The MLL gave lacrosse fans the opportunity to see the best of college lacrosse continue to play on the outdoor field although sometimes not everyone could make every game due to their day jobs or travel issues.
JV: Talk about your military career; how many years have you been in the military?
LC: I spent 10 years in the Marine Corps where I traveled all over the world and several trips to Iraq and Afghanistan. I was a Combat Engineer attached to infantry battalions, so I would lead patrols looking for Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and specialized in demolitions for breeching. My career was cut short from being blown up three times in Afghanistan that had me do an entire year of physical therapy before the Marine Corps retired me and I decided I would start coaching lacrosse and the eventually started playing old man lacrosse.
JV: What are some of the Club teams and tournaments you play in and have played in?
LC: Umm… A LOT! Haha! Rec ball was the big thing when I was a kid. Summer was for clubs and camps. Adult clubs were Total Lacrosse Club, Mt Washington, Dewalt, Bud Light, Guiness, Fast Mamas, Goldmembers, Flinchy’s, Chaos Elite, and I’m sure there’s a few I’m forgetting. Masters clubs after the Marine Corps consist of Kooper’s, Shock Top, Rockfish, Wolfpack, Rocket Mesh, Shredded Cheddar, and of course the Canadian team, Antikis.
JV: How does it feel to be inducted into the Total Lacrosse Hall Of Fame Class Of 2018?
LC: It’s a great honor to be among such great players as well as sharing the field with them. Lacrosse is definitely a part of my daily life whether I’m playing, coaching, or watching. The love I have for the sport will never slow down, even though my legs will, and I will dedicate my efforts to guiding the next generation of lacrosse players and passing on the lessons and knowledge that I have been given or learned along the way. I believe it’s called, “The Medicine Game” because of how it heals the soul and it should always be played with heart. The Creator’s game is growing every day and it’s our responsibility to make sure it lives on long after our legacy. Thank you for this recognition and I look forward to seeing you on the field!