NCAA

Paul Carcaterra’s Final Four Moment

For me, this weekend isn’t about the 42-year-old broadcaster going to work. Championship Weekend started for me 32 years ago, when I was a 10-year-old boy watching the NCAA title game in 1985 between Syracuse and Johns Hopkins. It was then, that I immediately got hooked on a sport that was fast, creative, and most importantly expressive – in the true athletic sense.

I have seen Larry Quinn hold Syracuse to 3 goals in 1985, Gary Gait jump from behind the goal twice in the semifinal vs. Penn in 1988, Andy Moe bring Princeton its first title in 1992, Connor Gill go bonkers as a freshman in 1999 for Virginia, Mike Powell propel Syracuse to a win over Navy in 2004 despite the 50,000 fans rooting against the Orange, Paul Rabil pass his way through Duke in 2007, CJ Costabile score the greatest goal in Championship History for the Blue Devils in 2010, and Chris Cloutier erase 25 years of heartache for Carolina last season with one flick of the wrist.

Lacrosse is like no other sport in the world. Our fraternity is the strongest. Our core does not have boundaries. Our future is limitless. Championship weekend is a celebration for all of us. The 10-year-old boy in the stands, well…he is next. He watches in amazement as his idols perform on the sport’s biggest stage.

In 1985 I had no idea that I would be contributing to the sport in the fashion that I am today. My youth was a very curious one, one in which I absorbed as much information on the sport as I possibly could in an organic way. Each videotape I watched, every media guide I read, and every older and wiser player I encountered, was the best form of prep for what I call “work” today. That 10-year-old boy from a small town north of NYC (that had an Indiana Hoosiers lacrosse feel to it) gave me the greatest tools to succeed in this sport. The tools to this day remain the same: endless passion, ability to connect old with new, and curiosity. A storyline will develop before our eyes whether we know it or not.

I need to thank my 10-year-old self and thank my parents for fueling a passion when a new sport entered their home that they had no clue about. To this day, if you asked my dad how to score on a fast break, he couldn’t tell you. When you meet my mother in heaven, ask her to name an offensive dodge and she will laugh. The smiles after games, the car rides we enjoyed, and the lacrosse people we met along the way – well, they can capture all of those with ease.

When I put my earpiece in and grab my microphone this weekend, the more I can embrace my past and become that 10-year-old boy again, the better I will be. As I prepare to drive up to Boston alone, I will reflect on my journey and what this sport has meant to me. It continues to be an amazing journey with no destination. This weekend a young boy will be watching the Championship weekend for the first time. There may be a magical moment that he remembers for a lifetime. But more importantly, the people and the culture of the sport will fuel his passion for more. Thank you lacrosse. Thank you for making a 10-year-old boy in 1985, a 42 year-old kid today.

About Paul Carcaterra

Paul Carcaterra joined ESPN for the 2010 lacrosse season as a game analyst and sideline reporter. He has had appearances on ESPNU’s The Experts: College Lacrosse and several Sector SPDRS College Lacrosse Season Shows. Additionally, he works sidelines on ESPN’s college football coverage, teaming with the Beth Mowins and Joey Galloway.

Carcaterra – a native of Yorktown, N.Y. – graduated from Syracuse University in 1997 with a bachelor’s degree in political science. A four-year letterwinner in men’s lacrosse as a midfielder, Carcaterra helped guide the Orange to the 1995 national title and was named a 1997 All-American. He was also a member of the New Jersey Pride, a former Major League Lacrosse team, and represented Team England in the World Lacrosse Games in 1998.

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