Waiting is the hardest part.
A second-round selection (15th overall) in 2016, Vaughn Harris had to stay on the sidelines far longer than he had hoped after joining the Roughnecks. Due to a lower body injury, he was held out of training camp and the start of the season. He was cleared to play last weekend against the Vancouver Stealth and was excited to get on the floor for his first time.
We spoke with Harris about his debut, his stick, and more.
On playing in his first ever National Lacrosse League game:
“I was pretty nervous. I was nervous because it was something I always wanted to do growing up, playing in the NLL, it was a childhood dream. It was pretty nerve racking getting my name announced going on to the floor.”
“It was unbelievable. I had a feeling that I’ve never had before. People screaming, the music playing, it was just an unbelievable feeling.”
On his injury:
“It was a let down because I didn’t get to practice or try out in training camp, so coach Mouse didn’t really know what I could do on defence or offence. When I was cleared to play, he didn’t know where to put me. Since I’ve been practicing, he put me on defence.”
“It’s hard coming back, after being off for so long, and getting put into a game like that, a debut in the NLL. It’s hard.”
“Coming off my injury, I didn’t get too many reps, so I felt a little rusty out there, but it’s lacrosse and injuries happen, so I’ll try to do better next game. I’ll be way more prepared for next game.”
On if it was the biggest crowd he’d ever played in front of:
“I believe so. I’ve played in big games, but there definitely wasn’t that many fans.”
On moving to Calgary:
“It’s been a good experience. Since I had my surgery, I decided to move out here and be closer to the trainers and be able for me to get back on the roster quicker instead of being back home. I didn’t want to deal with all the flights every weekend, so I thought I’d move out here instead.”
On who he models his game after:
“I like to believe that it’s my older brother (former NLLer Roger Vyse). He taught me a lot growing up and he was a good role model. I always listened to him growing up and I always watched him play. He was always a positive player on and off the floor. He was always positive with me and always pushing me to get to where I am today. I owe a lot to him.”
On his stick head and strings:
“Right now I’m using the String King M2. I like to use a high pocket, a mid-high pocket with four shooting strings. I like to use the four strings because the fourth string holds the ball more.”
On his favourite lacrosse memories:
“I have a few memories actually. Winning the two championships at OCC (Onondaga Community College), winning a founders Cup for the Six Nation Rebels, and winning two Mann Cups with the Six Nations Chiefs were probably the top ones, too.”
“But nothing is going to beat playing my first game in the NLL.”
On when he started playing lacrosse:
“Well, I’m Native American, so I was born with a stick in my hand. It’s like a religion in my culture. I’ve been playing since I was three years old. It’s just part of my culture and my heritage, so it’s always been in my blood to play lacrosse.”