fulcrum (n.) —  The support on which a lever moves when it is used to lift something

This site has used a number of metaphors to describe important showcase games which have helped define not only the seasons of the participants involved, but for the greater landscape of the sport.

We’ve witnessed a number of these, from the inaugural interstate matchups between Emmaus (Pa.) and Voorhees Eastern (N.J.) in field hockey to several iterations of lacrosse between Ellicott City Mount Hebron (Md.) and Moorestown (N.J.) to larger events such as field hockey’s National High School Invitational and the girls’ lacrosse Gains for Brains showcase, the latest iteration which takes place in a couple of weekends.

But today, there are two matches featuring Top 10 sides. At noon, our No. 1, New Canaan (Conn.) travels to Long Island to take on No. 2 South Huntington St. Anthony’s (N.Y.). At 12:30 p.m., last year’s No. 1, Darien (Conn.) takes on No. 8 Owings Mills McDonogh (Md.) in a game being played in Hillsborough, N.J.

Each of these games has rosters chock full of tremendous players who will, undoubtedly, excel at the next level. There are going to be great storylines involving individual matchups as well as the collective efforts on the offensive and defensive ends, as well as the draw teams.

I think, however, there is one factor that goes far, far beyond the bounds of the 120-yard pitch. It is a double fulcrum — a double pivot-point for this season. Both of these games feature a public school against a private school.

There has been some unease in lacrosse circles (if not the entire scholastic sports community) as to the power and influence of private schools in the game. This is not new, for sure. But there are increasing countermeasures over the last several years. In many instances, there has been an outright ignoring of each other’s spheres of existence over the years, and schools in the same small town would never play each other.

In the last few years, the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) pulled all private, charter, and parochial schools out of the state tournament and gave them their own Non-Public bracket or brackets. One year ago this week, Charleston Bishop Fenwick (S.C.), the odds-on favorite to win the state championship, was ejected from the postseason for using an ineligible player. Last summer, the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association ruled that Peabody Bishop Fenwick (Mass.) was to be ineligible from any and all postseason competitions for the current academic year.

And now, you’re seeing at least one national publication separating public and private schools in their national rankings of girls’ lacrosse teams.

Now, I can understand why some people are wary of private-school teams. “They recruit,” some people say. “We can only pick from one district,” other say.

Thing is, all girls’ lacrosse teams, from Maine to Hawaii, from Minnesota to Mississippi, all have two things in common. Each team can only put 12 players on the pitch at one time, and each has a coach with the ability to motivate the team to work together and succeed.

It’s why this site has never discriminated between the public and private spheres when making national rankings. We look at the players on the pitch, and nothing else. The team that is able to put goals on the board, whilst preventing the opposition from doing the same, wins. It doesn’t matter whether it is a showcase game, or a local derby in what is seen as a non-traditional area.

I think there will be a lot of talk after this day if both McDonogh and St. Anthony’s win, or if both Darien and New Canaan win. But the games are the thing. I invite you to give some attention to these two games, both of which are scheduled for livestreaming.


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