Rogowski Blog: Outlaws Camp Opens

So, this is my first crack at this whole player blog thing, maybe I should take a second to introduce myself. My name is Greg Rogowski, I played my college lax at D2 Merrimack College in North Andover, MA.

After college I’ve played for a few different field and indoor professional/ semi-pro teams including The Vermont Voyaguers, Charlotte Copperheads, Boston Rockhoppers and Rochester Rattlers.

I was picked up in the 2014 MLL supplemental draft by the Denver Outlaws so naturally the purpose of this blog is to give In Lacrosse We Trust a little bit of insight as to what went down this past weekend in Denver at the Outlaws training camp. The weekend prior the Outlaws held open tryouts out in Denver and picked up a few players out of that tryout. It was great to be able to play again with the best fogo I have ever played with at Merrimack in Nick Maggio, who was picked up out of the open tryout. Nick was a freshmen when I was a senior at Merrimack and he played a vital role in our 2009 season which ultimately landed us a spot in the NCAA D2 final 4. Nick more than held his own over the course of weekend against some of the stiffest competition in the league in Anthony Kelly and Steve Robarge. After getting into town and getting some rest Friday night.

We started out the weekend on Saturday by heading over to Mile High Stadium to take care of some housekeeping in the form of physicals, photo shoots, practice gear being distributed and precautionary concussion testing. After getting all that taken care of we got back on the bus and headed over to Dicks Sporting Goods Park for our first practice sessions of the weekend. We started out with a nice long stretch and got the blood flowing with some agility ladders right into outlet passes from the goalies. It was apparent from the get go that this team has one goal in mind, The Steinfeld Cup.

All the passes were right on the money and sloppy play stood out like a sore thumb. After some more warm up stick work we got right into some fast break transition drills, followed by some 6v6 work and a short scrimmage. Lunch was then provided to us in the form of Illegal Petes burritos, I was a little skeptical at first for a couple reasons. First off I’m a huge Chipotle guy and I will say that Illegal Petes was right up there with Chipotle on the burrito scale, not an easy task to accomplish. Secondly, was this burrito going to sit in our stomachs like a ton of bricks for our next session? Luckily they provided us with some “mini” burritos which were actually just the right size along with some chips and guac and salsa.

Alright, alright you get the idea, I love my Mexican food! Now back to laxin. We started off the second practice of the day with another great stretching session and then got into some shooting drills. After some shooting we went over some X and O’s and played 6v6 for a bit before splitting up into teams and scrimmaging for the rest of practice. While there’s always some rust to knock off in the first get together of the year for any team, it was apparent everyone came ready to play.

The coaches echoed what was obvious to anyone watching our practice, in that the level of play was some of the best they had seen in a training camp. After training camp it was back to hotel and from there we had a little downtime before a team dinner at Earl’s. Great food, great people and great conversation, after Earls it was back to the hotel to rest up for Sundays practice. With it being 70 and sunny on Saturday I’m sure I wasn’t the only one a little surprised that Sunday’s weather was 35 and raining/ snowing. Luckily I had checked the forecast and packed some cold gear to stay warm. After bundling up we headed over to Denver University for our final practice of the weekend. Another nice stretch and some warm-up stick drills were followed by 1 on 1s. Then we got into some 6 v 6, man-up, man-down and scrimmaged for the rest of practice.

Even with the rain and snow, which I don’t think stopped at all during the course of our practice, the intensity level picked right back up where it left off the day before. After practice we were able to head over to the lobby of DU’s beautiful athletic facility to warm up and get out of our sopping wet clothes. After a team debrief of the weekend by Coach O’Hara we headed back to the hotel to shower up and pack up our stuff for our flights home. For me personally the level of play was probably the highest level of field lacrosse I have ever been a part of, this team is loaded from head to toe. I think throughout the course of the weekend each and every player showed the coaches something to prove that they belong on this team.

However at the end of the day it is a numbers game, while the rosters are somewhat flexible throughout the course of the season only being able to dress 19 players and have a few more on the practice squad makes the decisions for the coaches tough. I couldn’t be thankful enough for the opportunity to be able to participate and compete within this great organization.