“It’s a Great Game”

Long Island Pulse: What originally attracted you to the sport of lacrosse as a youth in Manhasset?
Jim Brown:
When I was in junior high, there was a great lacrosse coach [Jay Stranahan] who loved the game. He recruited a lot of us to play. His enthusiasm helped me fall in love with the game. I continued in high school and on into Syracuse.

LIP: Can Long Island remain an incubator for the sport?
I think so. Long Island is unique, alongside the Baltimore area, as a hotbed for lacrosse. With the kind of schools you have, it lends itself. Long Island is made up of all these little towns and rivalries. It provides a great foundation academically and athletically.

LIP: What motivated you to join in ownership of the Lizards?
I’ve been actively looking for a way to get back into the game. I’ve worked with some groups in Florida and knew some guys on Wall Street who played and were interested in investing in the game. The Lizards opportunity was an ideal situation for me—being on Long Island, playing their games at Hofstra, brings back a lot of beautiful memories for me.

LIP: What plans do you have for the team and how involved do you expect to get with the coaches and players?
We’re looking to win! I want to interface, to be a visible presence as much as I can, but not be intrusive. I want to be a positive force to the overall atmosphere for the Lizards, and to help bring attention to lacrosse as a feature sport as much as I can. I think I’m someone the players can identify with because I understand what they’re going through and I can help to keep them motivated.

LIP: You gave the players a pep talk before their game the first week of June, which they won 20–10. What did you tell them?
I told them to apply themselves physically in every way that they could. To be aggressive, so that when the game is over, you don’t regret the things you didn’t do or look back and think of the things you could have done. But I also told them to monitor their play with intelligence. You can’t just run fast and be physical. You have to be a thinker. It’s a combination of physical and mental contributions.

LIP: What advice might you offer today’s players who can learn from your own success as a multisport athlete?
I would say to them, remember the game, remember the tradition of competition. There’s so much emphasis on money now that we lose the value of the game. If you understand why we love lacrosse, it is strictly because of the game. When I played, there was no professional lacrosse. We enjoyed the game and we enjoyed winning championships. Regardless of what level you play, it’s a great game. We can’t let the commercial aspects take away from the fun that we have.

Peter Bronski

Peter Bronski (peterbronski.com) is a Long Island native and award-winning writer from Boulder, Colorado. His book, At the Mercy of the Mountains: True Stories of Survival and Tragedy in New York's Adirondacks, came out earlier this year. His next book, Powder Ghost Towns: Epic Backcountry Turns at Colorado's Lost Ski Resorts, comes out this fall. Bronski's writing has also appeared in Men's Journal, Caribbean Travel & Life, Westchester Magazine, Vermont Life and 5280: Denver's Mile-High Magazine, among many others.