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Chis Eck


A Perfectionist


Chris Eck has never been shot at by an enemy. He’s never provided cover for a friend. He’s never been deployed, never had post-traumatic stress.


Eck has never served in the military. But some of his closest friends have. The respect and the admiration Eck has for those who protect this country runs deep. So as the 29-year-old faceoff man prepares for his first Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) World Championship, the importance of representing the United States, even on a lacrosse field, is not lost on him. There to remind him of that responsibility is an empty space on the wall of his apartment in Durham, N.C. Next to the framed jerseys from his first college season at Colgate and rookie professional season in Boston is just enough room for a Team USA jersey — and a gold medal.


“I know that the real heroes and the real people who represent our country are dressed in camo,” Eck said. “This is what I can do in my realm of my world to be able to represent our country.” Making the team is a privilege that Eck has fought long and hard for, from battling through Type-1 diabetes and knee surgeries to getting cut from the 2010 squad. He endured a grueling process overseen by 2014 U.S. team coach Richie Meade, and although Eck is thrilled to have made it, he knows the real work has only just begun.


66 LACROSSE MAGAZINE April 2014>> A Publication of US Lacrosse


Eck was the only pure faceoff specialist chosen among the current 30 U.S. players. The last time the World Championship was held on American soil, a 13-year-old Eck travelled with his father from their home in Fairfield, Conn., to Baltimore, where Canada rallied from an 11-1 third-quarter deficit in the final before falling to the U.S. 15-14 in double overtime — one of the greatest men’s lacrosse games in history.


“I was like, ‘I want to do what those guys do,’” Eck said.


Eck returned to Fairfield and dedicated himself to his craft with an enthusiasm and precision rarely seen in a player so young. Andy Towers, now the coach at Dartmouth, recalled being impressed with his technique during a camp when Eck was in seventh grade.


“It was really easy to see, even at that age, that he was just a perfectionist,” Towers said.


The mental aspect of facing off — recognizing opponents’ moves, understanding what moves beat others, telegraphing moves to elicit an expected counter and then countering that counter and so on — is crucial. Eck said Towers introduced him to that facet of the game. It has become Eck’s calling card, a science that sets him apart from nearly every other faceoff man in the world. “He always knew — even more than the coaches — about the technique and what he was going to do,” said Stony Brook coach Jim Nagle, who coached Eck for four years at Colgate. “So much attention to detail and so much passion about being successful at the faceoff ‘X,’ more than anybody I’ve ever coached at any position.” After helping the Raiders win their first Patriot League championship, Eck was the first faceoff man selected in the 2008 Major League Lacrosse Collegiate Draft. The Boston Cannons picked him 38th. On Aug. 9, 2008, Eck made his professional debut in Denver, facing off against the Denver Outlaws’ Geoff Snider. Snider was two years removed from an MVP performance at the 2006 World Championship, where he led Canada to its first gold medal in 28 years. The stocky bruiser had developed a reputation as an antagonist, an enforcer, a villain. But his results were undeniable, which is why so many eyes will be peeled to midfield when Canada and the U.S. face off.


©SCOTT MCCALL


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