Since the birth of lacrosse, stick stringing has been an outlet for lacrosse players to become closer to the game they love. It’s the most fundamental way to personalize your game and has been used as a tool to bring teammates and friends together. On most teams throughout the years there has always been one or a handful of guys that were exceptionally talented at stringing and would string up sticks for their cohorts. In the past decade, social media has brought the world of stringing to new heights as amateur to professional stringers now have a platform to share their work. Whether they are stringing up a project to be framed as art or testing out new techniques to bring your game to the next level, the stringing community online has exploded.
That is one of the many reasons why we are kicking off a new Stringer Stories series to showcase some of the amazing work these stringers are coming up with but also allow them to share their story and how stringing has become such a passion for them. To kick off this series, we would like to introduce you to Neil (@cardinallacrosse) and George (@flstringer & current @stringleague contestant) who will first explain how they got into lacrosse and will follow up in the coming weeks with a few of their latest projects. Enjoy!
Neil playing for Western Guilford High School
What’s up guys, Neil here from @cardinallacrosse and the @laxnerds podcast, along with my good friend George (@flstringer). We are excited to be working with LACROSSE.COM to release some stringing content for you guys, and if you stick around, some of these heads will be given away at the end. First, a little background on us:
We are not lacrosse experts. We are just lacrosse lovers, like all of you. George and I were talking about our “story” and about why Cardinal Lacrosse even exists in the first place. As usual, George offered a perspective that I hadn’t considered: “Our story? We are just a product of the growth of the game.”
I remember having some idea of what lacrosse was by the time I made it to Western Guilford High School, but no real knowledge of the game. That all changed in 2001, my sophomore year, when a friend helped create a team at my high school. What started as a group of 6 guys meeting after school twice a week to play something we thought was lacrosse with our $30 complete sticks and a table sitting on its end as a goal, turned into a state championship winning program in just six years.
Even though I wasn’t part of that NCHSAA Championship team, it is one of my proudest accomplishments that a program I helped build was able to reach that level.
After high school, I went to Harding University. They had just started an MCLA team the year before I arrived. Much like at Western, Harding’s team grew by leaps and bounds in just a matter of seasons. Unfortunately, I ended up leaving Harding prematurely. This is where I began my 7-year wander through the lacrosse wilderness. I joined the Air Force and was stationed in Mississippi, New Mexico and then back in Mississippi. Two places that have almost no lacrosse.
In 2012, after returning from Afghanistan, I was in Dick’s Sporting Goods when a young kid walked in wearing a lacrosse uniform from the next town over. I immediately ran home and got in contact with the head coach, and was fortunate to be able to coach both the Varsity and JV teams for the only high school program in the entire state of Mississippi.
Harding University MCLA squad, where Neil introduced George to lacrosse
(George): Neil and I became roommates during the spring semester of my freshman year, and I went to his first home game with a bunch of our friends to support the team. Within two minutes of the first whistle, I clearly remember sitting back and thinking, “I have to play this game.” Of course, I knew that wasn’t possible because of the specific skills it required, and because I was late in being introduced to it.
Still, after the game I told Neil about it and his immediate response was “You should play.” My response? “Yeah right, we both know that’s not possible.”
But from that moment on, I got the same genuine response from every guy on the team. “You should play.” That’s what made me fall in love with this sport, because every single person who played lacrosse wanted to share it. Neil strung my first stick, a Brine Cyber on a red Warrior Kryptolyte shaft, and I’ve been stringing ever since.
Because of this game, I’ve had the opportunity to play in multiple MCLA national tournaments across the country, coach at a competitive varsity program in south Florida, and string at the world games in Denver. I did not do anything to earn these amazing opportunities. The Creator, the game, and my friends who shared it with me brought me into the lacrosse family.
#Repost @flstringer ・・・ Face shot of the ‘hawk-it pocket’ #stringleague @955matt @rockitpocketlax @redstarlax @stringleague @stxmlax Make sure to check out @laxallstars this Friday for the announcing of the winner. #Lacrosse #custom #stringleague #stx #lax @eastcoastdyes @stxmlax @redstarlax @laxallstars @Stylin_strings @throneofstring @stringleague
(Neil): Then two years ago, George and I found ourselves on the fringes of the game. Both of us had moved away from the teams we were coaching in order to go back to school full-time and we missed it. One day I was talking to George about how I wished that there was more lacrosse content that was dynamic and engaging. “Well, why don’t you make that content?” he responded.
And with that, Cardinal Lacrosse was born.
We are here to share information, our passion for the game, and pass on the gift of lacrosse to as many people as possible. We have connected with some amazing people through this game. We are excited to continue to watch and to help grow this game that has given us so much.
So that’s our story. It’s not impressive, but it’s lacrosse, and that makes it beautiful. We love lacrosse. We are going to string some sticks for you guys to try to highlight some of the things that we do to make them work for us, but what’s great about lacrosse is that you can take our stringing with a grain of salt. Learn what you want from it, but ultimately put your own spin on it to make it work for your game.
And maybe (hopefully), this will, in some small way, help someone to grow their own love for lacrosse.
If you have any questions, please get a hold of us through www.cardlax.com, or send us a message through Instagram.
Neil and some of his players
You may also comment below with any of your thoughts and questions for Neil and George. Stay tuned over the coming weeks for more highlights of their latest stringing projects and as always check out the selection of stringing supplies at LACROSSE.COM.