For 57 years, this man has crafted wooden lacrosse sticks by hand

first_img Published on April 15, 2018 at 10:45 pm Contact Matthew: [email protected] | @MatthewGut21 His shoulders, fingers, wrists and back hurt after he logs six- to 10-hour days. Jacques said he makes about 200 sticks per year now, down from about 11,000 in 1972. In the 1960s and 1970s, he made sticks for many Syracuse, Cornell, Siena and Cortland men’s lacrosse players. He learns more about the stick creation process every time, and often tells people who buy his sticks that they’re “the best stick I’ve ever made.”“Each stick is a work of art,” said Jacques’ sister, Freid. “He never hurried up so he could make more and make a lot of them, so he could make more money. That’s never the purpose. It’s to make an excellent stick.”Since many traditional stickmakers have died or retired, Jacques is running one of the last old-school stick-production joints in the country. He works in a shed with a few lights, alongside cats named Obama and Michelle, on a wooden bench he built with his father in 1969. His father, Louis, introduced lacrosse to him, setting him on a path to become a star at nearby LaFayette High School.In the decades since, when traveling to games and conventions, he’s had a front-row seat to the rise in the game, which he correlates with the rise in plastic heads. He maintains an appreciation for the innovations that drove a stark decline in demand for wooden sticks. He has no hard feelings, because he said it’s what brought lacrosse across the country and world.“If we had relied on Indians making wooden sticks,” Jacques said, “the game wouldn’t have grown as big, as fast.”The Syracuse men’s lacrosse team has not visited Jacques’ workshop, he said, but visiting teams sometimes do on their trips to play the Orange. Notre Dame and Virginia have watched him make sticks. Last year, UVA head coach Lars Tiffany looked back to his time growing up on a ranch in LaFayette — near Onondaga Nation — by busing his entire team to Jacques’ barn. Players packed into a back room.“The Onondaga Reservation reminds us all of the beauty of this game,” Tiffany said. “Alfie’s stick-making is at the core of lacrosse.”Alexandra Moreo | Senior Staff PhotographerThe foundation for the best-quality lacrosse stick begins about a year before it’s even used in a game. Tree selection is not paramount — Jacques said all steps are integral — but finding the right tree is make-or-break. The living nature of the tree is believed to transfer into the lacrosse stick and the person using the stick. A bad tree makes it impossible to construct a stick, said Jacques, who surveys forests in the LaFayette, Cortland, Cazenovia, Ithaca and Oswego areas.There can be no knots or limbs for the first 3 meters. The tree must be at least 100 years old. Each log costs about $50. Sometimes, he’ll pick five hickory trees out of 200. He cuts them down himself, and he brings seeds and plants new trees.Then Jacques splits the tree into eighths using a wooden mallet, axes and wooden wedges. He uses a knife — made in 1832 and passed down to him by his father — to remove bark and to carve the stick to its final form. He straightens the handle, balances the piece and puts final trims on.There is no playbook or measuring tools, just his own estimation that comes from 57 years of experience. The drying process alone is about six months. He completes each stick by sanding it, burning his logo, dating and stamping.As a large green belt-sander hummed last week, Jacques sat on an old wooden bench and carved a stick. He paid special attention to how the knife traveled. He explained that you don’t just pull the knife along the wood. A defining characteristic of a good stick lies in the handle. Don’t minimize the handle.“It’s therapeutic,” Jacques said. “You have a wood stove on, pot of coffee, just make chips all day. When you’re done, the floors are covered with chips. It’s a relaxing thing to do. Everything you do in this work has purpose to the end product. There’s no gravy. You don’t just cut for cutting sake. You cut with purpose. You saw with purpose, carve with purpose, drill holes with purpose.”Alexandra Moreo | Senior Staff PhotographerHe’s crafted wooden sticks for nearly six decades, factoring in his introduction to stick-making. Back in 1960, his family couldn’t afford a stick, which went for $5, so he and his father cut down a hickory tree in the backyard and made a stick without much background knowledge.Since then, a lot has changed. The game of lacrosse has blossomed. Many fellow stickmakers have died. Lacrosse fans have come from far beyond the edges of Onondaga Nation for his sticks. As the internet boomed, he never felt the urge to have social media or advertise on a website. There may even be a few thousand more sticks in his future, though he looks forward to scaling back in retirement.His sticks, at that workshop at the bottom of the hill, have remained a constant through it all.“This is what I live for,” he said. “This is what I can do all of the time, every day. This is my life.” Comments As steam formed inside a rusty oil tank, Alfie Jacques crafted wooden lacrosse sticks at a barn down a dirt driveway on the Onondaga Nation reservation a few miles south of Syracuse University.The tank in question measures a few feet wide and about 8 feet long. Its temperature was set so high that steam shot out of the 1,000-liter drum filled with water. Jacques, 69, stuck a piece of wood into the tank, pulled it out and bent it.“This boil starts steaming like hell,” he said. “The wood doesn’t just bend. You have to muscle it.”A few dozen logs sat under a tarp on the grass behind Jacques. About 15 yards away is his barn, home to what he believes is the best stickmaking in the world. The air smelled of wood. There is no plastic, no music, no TVs, no signs of assembly-line production. There’s just Jacques, his wood, his equipment and his devotion to a technique — a way of life — that has lasted nearly six decades. It has spanned the United States and Canada, and created more than 100,000 one-piece wooden lacrosse sticks, each made by hand.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textKevin Camelo | Digital Design EditorSeven days a week, 40-something weeks a year, Jacques wakes up at his Fayetteville home and drives his red van to a spot on the Onondaga Nation reservation that doesn’t show up on Google Maps. He opens up shop, crafts some sticks and locks up in the evening. It’s a no-frills operation that begins with selecting the best shagbark hickory trees and ends by fusing a message onto the stick, along with a trademark stamp. The inscription is often custom, especially if the stick serves as an award or gift. A stick he recently made reads: “Leader, friend.”“This is the Creator’s Game,” he said. “It’s a lot more than people think. People think of the Native American as a savage, godless creature that’s out to kill people. They say we’re poor, uneducated, on a reservation, totally controlled by the white people. That’s how they like their Indian. We’re always fighting against that kind of prejudice. So we embrace one another and the game of lacrosse.”Because of an extensive drying process, each stick takes 10 months to make and sells for about $350. Yet he maintains a drive for his craft because for Native Americans, lacrosse is sacred. Men are put to rest in a casket with a lacrosse stick.Many of his sticks are made for people living on the Onondaga Nation reservation, where lacrosse is used to heal and lift the spirits of community members.“Lacrosse is who we are as a people,” Jacques said. “And this is the mecca of lacrosse. People come from all over to watch the old Indian guy make lacrosse sticks.”center_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

‘Madden NFL 20’ ratings have players upset: ‘Put some respeck on my name’

first_imgPlayers voiced their anger on social media; some were upset at the overall rating while others had complaints in specific areas.’MADDEN NFL 20′: List of top players at each positionWhile I’m sure several players feel they deserved a 99 overall rating, that special club was reserved for just four stars: Aaron Donald, DeAndre Hopkins, Khalil Mack and Bobby Wagner. There are 72 players with a 90-or-above rating, including seven quarterbacks, eight running backs and 12 receivers. Kyler Murray took the top spot for rookie quarterbacks with a 73 overall rating, followed by Dwayne Haskins (72) and Daniel Jones (63).But enough breakdowns, let’s take a look at how players reacted to their rating.MORE: Explaining 5 odd traits from Madden 20 player ratingsGiants players#Madden20 ratings are here 🚨We revealed the @eamaddenNFL ratings to our guys and you don’t want to miss their reactions 😂 pic.twitter.com/vB3L8XXGit— New York Giants (@Giants) July 15, 2019Bills playersThe #Madden20 ratings have arrived. @TreWhite16 and @Micah_Hyde have some thoughts… 😂Check out our @EAMaddenNFL team ratings: https://t.co/z5mjtBG1Rq pic.twitter.com/O7bd4Kw1SO— Buffalo Bills (@BuffaloBills) July 15, 2019Keenan Allensafe to say Keenan isn’t happy with his Madden rating 😂 pic.twitter.com/vZwn4ZNeZl— Los Angeles Chargers (@Chargers) July 15, 2019DeMarcus LawrenceHOLD UP @EAMaddenNFL you not just going to disrespeck me like that with an 89 and get away with it….PUT. SOME. RESPECK. ON. https://t.co/ndDkGvo7gx.UNTIL THEN COWBOYS NATION IS ON MADDEN STRIKE! RT @dallascowboys Nation show em we ain’t playin bih. pic.twitter.com/okVXyooI3l— DeMarcus Lawrence (@TankLawrence) July 15, 2019Takkarist McKinley78.. @EAMaddenNFLLol I can’t be that weak 😂— Takkarist McKinley (@Takk) July 15, 2019Kyle Van NoyGood thing I don’t play madden or I’d be mad with my 77 rating 😂😂😂 !— Kyle Van Noy (@KVN_03) July 15, 2019Eric EbronMadden on that Bull 💩 I see..— Eric Ebron (@Ebron85) July 15, 2019Damarious Randall86 on madden 🤦🏾‍♂️— Damarious Randall (@RandallTime) July 15, 2019Jalen RamseyGod’s Child 🙏🏾.. through it all, He continues to bless me & for that, I want to let his light shine through me! He gets all the glory!! Thank you! Have a great day & year! https://t.co/OzZVJfNR2T— Jalen Ramsey (@jalenramsey) July 15, 2019Adrian AmosPeople worried about their overall rating on madden I just be tryna find out what my speed rating is every year so I can put myself at Kick and punt return 😂— Adrian Amos (@_SmashAmos31) July 15, 2019Marshon LattimoreLol https://t.co/ZExNcAdb0Q— Marshon Lattimore (@shonrp2) July 15, 2019Anthony LevineI don’t even play madden or videos so I can really careless about it….BUT my son do sooo @EAMaddenNFL I’m faster than that an get my rating up IM A DAWG!!— Co Cap™️ (@ALevine41) July 15, 2019Budda BakerWhat’s a brotha gotta do to get his strength up in madden?? I mean i had 100 plus tackles last year in only 14 games hahaha @EAMaddenNFL— Budda Baker (@buddabaker32) July 15, 2019Taylor LewanI recently found out that I’m only a 81 rating on @EAMaddenNFL I don’t play the game but I do feel extremely disrespected.. I will not forget this #NoBadDaysStill— Taylor Lewan (@TaylorLewan77) July 15, 2019Donnel PumphreyHow the hell is Carson Wentz a 82 ? & don’t tell me because injuries … https://t.co/OALm0IZu0T— Donnel Pumphrey Jr. (@Pumphrey6K) July 15, 2019Adrian PhillipsDawg Madden is hilarious 😂they gotta do this on purpose— Adrian Phillips (@Phillips_17) July 15, 2019Quandre Diggs77? pic.twitter.com/W3prPx7ugf— Nino (@qdiggs6) July 15, 2019Don’t follow me now @EAMaddenNFL we ain’t got NOTHING to talk about!— Nino (@qdiggs6) July 15, 2019Kenny Moore😂 @EAMaddenNFL silly goose you. That was funny but put the real ratings up now!— Kenny Moore II (@KennyKennyMoe3) July 15, 2019Darius SlayOnce again madden u disappointed me🤦🏾‍♂️ https://t.co/Pzhh7Xo3e6— Darius Slay (@_bigplayslay23) July 15, 2019 EA Sports has released its player ratings database for “Madden NFL 20,” and several NFL stars aren’t too pleased with their virtual selves.If you’re new to Madden, every player is given a rating: 99 is the highest, 0 is the lowest. The rating is based on several factors including speed, strength, awareness and position-specific traits such as throw power, catching, tackling, etc. Most players feel like they’re the best at their position, so naturally several of them were upset with their “Madden NFL 20” ratings when they were released.last_img read more

Ice rebound after collaspe to blast Blazers 10-2

first_imgBy Daily News StaffSimilar to the way the Team Canada Juniors turned gold into silver at the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships last week in Buffalo, NY, the Kootenay Ice let one slip away.Thompson Blazers played the role of Team Russia, scoring five third-period goals en route to a 7-4 victory over Kootenay in B.C. Major Midget Hockey League action Saturday night in Nelson.Kootenay rebounded Sunday, blasting the Blazers 10-2 behind the Felix Larouche led the comeback for the Blazers, scoring twice in the frame.Paulsen Lautard of Midway, Nolan Taylor of Nelson, Castlegar’s Jesse Knowler and Luke Bertolucci of Trail scored for Kootenay, which held period leads of 3-1 and 4-2.Jarrod Schamerhorn of Kelowna was in net for the third-period collapse of the Ice.Sunday it was all Ice as Kootenay jumped to a 5-0 first period lead en route to the lopsided win.Derek Georgopoulos of Cranbrook led the Ice with two goals with singles going to Jake Lucchini of Trail, Riley Ostoforoff of Castlegar, Jacob Boyczuk and Scott Davidson of Trail, Taylor, Lautard, Bertolucci and Nelson’s Dryden Hunt. Christian Pickles had an easy time in the nets for Kootenay.The weekend split foiled an opportunity for Kootenay to climb the BCMMHL standings.The Ice, 6-14-6 on the season, trail North Island Silvertips for ninth in the 11-team league Vancouver Northeast Chiefs by eight points in the race for the final playoff spot.
Kootenay travels to Chase to meet the fourth-place Cariboo [email protected]last_img read more