The National Lacross League (NLL) all-star game was on NBC today. NBC! Lacrosse on a national American broadcast!! Not much else to show with the NHL in a coma, I figure.

The NLL is a good watch, though. I’ve never been to a Toronto Rock game, but I’ve caught a few on tv and they’re entertaining enough. All the intensity of hockey but with more goals and, um, less ice. This was even more evident today, during the all-star game. All-star games, in any of the professional sports, are boring affairs. You watch a bunch of over-paid athletes play soft with each other. Whoop-dee-doo.

But this game was different. There weren’t any fights or anything too physical, but the intensity of the game was there You could sense that winning actually mattered to the players; unheard of during all-star games. It was exciting, intense, physical to a degree (saw some dude get cross-checked in the back), and extremely competitive — ending in an overtime goal by one John Tavares.

One of the reasons for this intensity is that all the players compete for the love of the sport. They have to, because they aren’t making millions off of it. In fact, most of the players have day-jobs to support themselves, ranging from firemen to teachers. Even the “Wayne Gretzky” of the NLL, the previously mentioned John Tavares, has a day job. After the post-game interview, one of the commentators said he’ll celebrate with his team and then go back to his school teaching position on Monday. How can you be down on a professional sport like that?

The thing about John Tavares is that, well, he was a teacher at my high school. I can’t remember if he was there when I was attending, but he definitely was teaching when my sister was still going to that school. He even subsituted for some of her classes.

And that’s really what seperates the NLL from the NHL. After scoring three goals in the nationally broadcast all-star game, he returns to a high school to teach some teenagers math. Is there any wonder as to why nobody is missing the NHL?

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