CALGARY, AB — Most people find balancing their work, their family, and their life a difficult endeavour.
For athletes in the National Lacrosse League, it’s entirely more difficult.
They have families whom they need to spend time with, they work 9-to-5 jobs during the week, they train every day, practice as often, and go to school among other things.
For defensemen Mike Carnegie, who has been in the league for eight seasons, having a wife who supports him is extremely important.
“You’ve got to have a good wife who is understanding when you’re gone all the time,” Carnegie said. “I think time management is the most important thing. When it’s time to get the training in, you’ve got to get your training in. I’ve got a full-time job outside of this, so that takes precedent. When you’ve got a weekend off, you’ve got to make time for the family. Even tonight when I had an appearance scheduled, I came late because my kid had soccer. Its things like that you have to balance in life.”
Defensemen Garrett McIntosh feels that lacrosse is not a job — it’s a passion.
Lacrosse becomes a getaway rather than a chore and that makes it easier to put in the necessary work to stay at the highest level.
“It’s definitely a little strenuous,” McIntosh said. “Sometimes I’m thinking about lacrosse when I should be thinking about work. When lacrosse comes, it’s a nice little break. I love the game. I’m playing for passion. It’s an escape, more or less. It’s not really a job because when you do something you love, it’s not really work at all.
“I work hard for the other job and then work hard on the weekend and throughout the week for the Roughnecks.”
While Carnegie and McIntosh live in Calgary, those that mix in travel every weekend find things even more challenging.
“It’s tougher not living in Calgary,” said Roughnecks star forward Shawn Evans. “It’d be nice to live in Calgary, but I have a job here and family here. It would be nice to be able to interact with the fans and be doing things around the city because it is my weekend home. I enjoy it and the fan base because it’s growing every year.”
Another Roughneck from outside Calgary, Karsen Leung spends his weekdays in Victoria, BC.
At times it feels like he doesn’t have a life between lacrosse and everything else, but being able to play the game he loves with many of his friends makes it all worth while.
“It’s quite a bit to be honest,” Leung said. “During the season it feels like you don’t really have a life. Just with working on the week days and flying out on the weekends. A lot of my friends are on the team and I really enjoy flying out to meet them and play lacrosse. I wouldn’t be doing it if I didn’t enjoy that.
“It is a tough life style, it’s really on the go and sometimes you don’t feel like you have any down time, but having the enjoyment of being with your friends on the road, it makes the experience that much more memorable. I don’t think I’ll ever forget playing with the Roughnecks.”
For the youngster, things are simpler because of his bachelor lifestyle. Still, he recognizes how hard it must be for some of his teammates who have families.
“Right now, being young, it’s a lot easier on me than some of the guys who have kids and families,” said Leung. “Those are some of the guys who – I don’t know how they do it. I can imagine that it would be really tough.”
Evans, living in Peterborough, ON, has three young children, a wife, and a job that takes up most of his time. Balancing those aspects of his life and lacrosse can get tough for the former NLL most valuable player.
However, for Evans, the real MVP is his wife.
“Most of all my wife, she holds down the fort here with three kids,” Evans said. “Being able to balance everything out, it does get tough at times, but having her at home making sure everything goes smoothly and the kids are where they are supposed to be and letting me perform on the weekends and enjoy the game that I love to play. I’m fortunate that she does that and helps out.”
While trying to balance all of these things can be tough, Evans recognized that there are people in the world who have bigger problems than he does.
Keeping things in perspective helps him stay level and focused on
“At times it gets tough trying to balance it with work, I’ve got job here too,” Evans said. “Lacrosse, kids, and such, we’ve got to suck it up and take a deep breath and keep on moving because there are a lot of people that are going through a lot difficult things than we are. We’ve got to keep that in mind, keep pushing, and stick together.”
While doing this crazy balancing act called life, there was one thread for all of these athletes.
They do it for the love of the game.