The History Behind Syracuse’s Iconic Lacrosse Team
The Syracuse Orange men’s lacrosse team is synonymous with greatness. As one of the most storied programs in the sport’s history, Syracuse has won 11 National Championships and remains a perennial powerhouse today. The basis of Syracuse’s sustained dominance? An unwavering commitment to innovation.
In the 1970s, Syracuse coach Roy Simmons Jr. pioneered an up-tempo, fast-break style of play predicated on speed and ball movement. To fully unlock this progressive style, Simmons sought a lacrosse head that enabled quicker passing and more accurate shooting on the run. Enter the Mark 2.
Developed by Brine in 1972, the Mark 2 became an immediate sensation. The head featured an open sidewall design that dramatically decreased weight compared to traditional heads. This enabled faster handling, quicker release on shots, and superior ball control even at high speeds.
Simmons immediately adopted the Mark 2 for his team, exploiting the technology to empower his run-and-gun tactics. The match was a revelation, as Simmons refined the Orange’s signature brand of transition lacrosse throughout the 70s and 80s. Behind early adopters like Gary Gait and local heroes the Powell brothers, the Mark 2 became synonymous with the Syracuse program.
The Innovative Technology Behind the Mark 2’s Design
So what made the Mark 2 such a quantum leap forward in lacrosse head technology?
Firstly, the head’s sidewalls utilized an open design, constructed from durable nylon cord laced through holes along each side. This removed excess weight while retaining ball control and pocket depth. An aluminum frame provided lightweight structure and durability.
Secondly, the head’s narrower width – only 5 inches across at its widest point – allowed for quicker handling and tighter cradling. With such a responsive head, players could whip the ball around at high speeds with ease.
Thirdly, the Mark 2’s pocket design promoted surgical shooting accuracy. A precisely contoured scoop and defined channel focused each shot, while the head’s stiffness provided excellent energy transfer from stick to ball.
Combined, these enhancements unlocked game-changing speed and ball control for an entire generation of Syracuse lacrosse legends.
Why Top Players Still Swear By the Mark 2 Head Today
With such advanced heads available today, why do elite players still gravitate to the Mark 2?
Many purists consider the Mark 2 the pinnacle for superior shooting. The head’s defined channel and stiffness promote incredible ball velocity and pinpoint accuracy. Modern heads often utilize more flexible materials that “whip” during shooting, reducing control.
The Mark 2 also retains unique advantages in ground ball situations. The head’s narrow profile slices smoothly through turf, while the minimal sidewall mass eases scooping. Ground balls almost magnetize to the Mark 2.
Additionally, the Mark 2 breeds an old-school toughness lacking in many modern players dependent on flexible heads. Controlling the ball demands focus and technical proficiency from using a stiff head with an unforgiving traditional pocket.
Of course, the Mark 2’s iconic status among the sport’s legends cements its cool factor. Junior players emulate their heroes by adopting the classic Syracuse gamer.
The Pros and Cons of Using the Mark 2 Lacrosse Head
The Mark 2 lacrosse head has undeniable strengths, but also some inherent drawbacks when compared to modern heads.
- Superior ball control and handling
- Ultra-accurate shooting
- Lightweight yet durable construction
- Provides a traditional pocket and “old school” feel
- Excellent at scooping ground balls
- Lacks some of the flexibility of modern heads
- Difficult stringing and break-in period to form the pocket
- Less forgiving on off-target shots
- Narrower width takes adjustment for some players
- Not legal for high school or youth play in some areas
Ultimately, the suitability of the Mark 2 comes down to a player’s style, skills, and preferences. An elite, traditionalist midfielder or attackman will appreciate the head’s benefits even today.
Adjusting Your Game to Master the Mark 2 Head
Playing with a Mark 2 lacrosse head requires adjusting some techniques from modern heads.
During shooting, players must move their bottom hand lower on the stick to account for the stiffer head and higher pocket placement. This provides maximum leverage for extra velocity on shots.
Cradling demands a tighter grip and more purposeful motions to retain control. Players will need minimal, efficient stick movements honed through repetition.
Scooping ground balls becomes easier with practice. The key is tilting the head flat to maximize the surface area contacting the ball, then clamping down to capture possession.
Passing and catching also requires refinement. The Mark 2’s compact width means players must be precise with their passes and handle catches cleanly. No sloppy play allowed!
With dedication and practice, players can adapt to master the unique feel and unlock the Mark 2’s full potential. The rewards of control and accuracy are more than worth the effort.
The Mark 2 lacrosse head transports players back to the sport’s roots. While vintage, its advanced design and craftsmanship make it incredibly effective in the right player’s hands. The Mark 2 leaves a lasting imprint on the game through the generations of iconic Syracuse alumni who pioneered the beautiful, fast-paced style of lacrosse recognized worldwide today. For players seeking to elevate their game through precision, skill, and finesse, the Mark 2 delivers an old school experience that still feels cutting-edge, decades after its debut.
How the Mark 2 Lacrosse Head Became a Legendary Piece of Equipment
The Mark 2’s innovative design made it an instant game-changer. But it took the right partnerships and promotion to cement its status as a lacrosse icon.
Syracuse coach Roy Simmons Jr. was an early believer, integrating the Mark 2 into his program as his young team developed their signature shoot-and-run style. The match was perfect, with Simmons refining Syracuse’s strategy throughout the 1970s to take advantage of the technology.
Brine had created a revolutionary piece of equipment. Now they needed the right athletes to showcase it. Enter the Gait brothers, Gary and Paul, local legends from nearby Victoria, Canada.
Gary Gait joined Simmons’ Syracuse program in 1985, with Paul following in 1987. The Gaits were transcendent talents, and their skills were amplified by the Mark 2 head. Gary utilized the head’s quick release and accuracy to terrorize goalies, setting NCAA scoring records.
The Gaits also pioneered unorthodox, almost balletic shooting styles like behind-the-back and over-the-shoulder shots. The Mark 2 gave them the control and precision necessary to attempt such risky moves. Their creativity and excellence made the Gait brothers the sport’s first superstars.
Through the late 80s and early 90s, the Gait brothers led Syracuse to three straight national championships. A generation of young players watched in awe, inspired to play the game creatively and without limitations.
The Mark 2 became forever linked with the Syracuse brand and style, as Brine marketed the head heavily using program alumni.
Next, Brine targeted younger players dreaming of following in their heroes’ footsteps. They promoted the Mark 2 as the head serious players needed to raise their game. The copy spoke to players’ aspirations of skills mastery and greatness.
Aggressive outreach expanded accessibility, as Brine made the Mark 2 widely available across North America. Now players from hotbeds like Baltimore to remote towns had access to the coveted head their idols used.
Brine also partnered with camps and coaches to get Mark 2s in players’ hands early. Young players developed crucial skills using the pro-grade equipment, forming brand loyalty.
Simultaneously, Brine worked to make the Mark 2 synonymous with lacrosse culture. They sponsored tournaments and all-star games at all levels to showcase the head. Elite players won championships with the Mark 2, further cementing its reputation.
Brine integrated the Mark 2 into their cultural outreach in Native American communities critical to lacrosse. This honored the sport’s indigenous roots while expanding mainstream accessibility.
Through meticulous promotion and partnerships, Brine made the Mark 2 the must-have head from youth to college. A generation of legends has now played their entire careers with a Brine Mark 2.
Even players sponsored by other brands often still use Mark 2 heads, or newer heads crafted in its image like the Brine Legacy. Its balance of cutting-edge technology and traditional feel creates a timeless, iconic appeal.
Today, the Mark 2’s reputation and legacy are unmatched. It remains a rite of passage for developing players and symbol of the sport’s roots. The Mark 2 lacrosse head transformed equipment design, strategy, and skills development. Its story is now interwoven into the larger narrative of the sport itself. For elite players, breakthrough innovators, and those who aspire to both, the Mark 2 will remain hallowed ground.
The Mark 2’s advanced engineering empowered generations to realize lacrosse glory. Its unmatched feel and response connected it to the soul of the game. No piece of equipment will ever quite compare to the Mark 2. It didn’t just improve performance – it changed the trajectory of lacrosse forever.
The Technology Behind the Mark 2’s Innovative Design
The Mark 2 lacrosse head was revolutionary when first introduced in 1972. Decades later, its advanced engineering and meticulous construction remain unmatched. What exactly makes this vintage head so special?
The roots of the Mark 2 trace back to aircraft design. Brine’s engineers applied aerospace manufacturing techniques to craft a lightweight yet durable lacrosse head. This started with the aluminum alloy frame.
Brine utilized aluminum alloys developed for aircraft to maximize strength while minimizing mass. The Mark 2’s frame weighed mere ounces but provided rigid stability for handling and shooting. Small details like relieved sidewalls further trimmed excess weight without sacrificing structure.
Brine also borrowed aviation concepts for the Mark 2’s novel sidewall design. Nylon cord laced through aluminum grommets formed an open lattice. This acted like aircraft netting, optimizing airflow and reducing weight.
The Mark 2’s sidewalls contained just 3 ounces of nylon cord. Compare that to over 5 ounces for a traditional wooden sidewall! This allowed faster head speeds for quick stick work and shots.
Brine engineers also developed a proprietary processing method to weatherproof and strengthen the nylon cord. This prevented deterioration from moisture and UV rays. The result was a head built to last through years of harsh lacrosse action.
The scoop and channel delivered groundbreaking ball control. Brine digitally modeled subtle contours and radii to refine the head’s ball handling capabilities. This was cutting-edge in 1972!
Brine also designed the sidewall stringing to create optimal pocket depth and ball retention. Custom jigs held stringing angles to tight tolerances for consistency. It took master craftsmanship to actually string the heads.
Throughout the entire design process, Brine emphasized playability feedback. Company engineers played with each Mark 2 prototype and provided detailed input. This ensured optimal performance for every aspect of passing, cradling, scooping, and shooting.
Brine manufactured each Mark 2 head by hand right in their New York factory. Skilled technicians personally inspected and adjusted every head to maintain uncompromising quality control. This precision explains why 30+ year old Mark 2’s still play like new.
The Mark 2 combined aerospace manufacturing, custom tooling, obsessive refinement, and hand craftsmanship. This pushing of lacrosse technology set the bar for every head designed since. Engineers today utilize CAD, FEA, CFD, and 3D printing to enhance performance. But 50 years later, the Mark 2’s bespoke precision remains the gold standard.
Brine’s Mark 2 engineering team consisted of just a handful of people. Their vision and dedication to advancing lacrosse ushered the sport into the modern era. Every player since owes them a debt of gratitude. The Mark 2 will forever remain a shining example of pioneering design changing the game.
Why Top Players Still Swear By the Mark 2 Head Decades Later
With so many technological advancements since the 1970s, why do elite lacrosse players at all levels still seek out the vintage Mark 2 head?
Make no mistake, modern lacrosse heads offer significant performance benefits. Advanced materials like composites allow for increased flexibility and decreased mass. Precision molding creates intricate geometries impossible in the Mark 2 era.
However, many top players believe the Mark 2 provides two key advantages unmatched by newer heads.
Firstly, the Mark 2 delivers superior shooting accuracy. Its precisely defined channel and scoop shape form a ball ramp into the pocket. Combined with the head’s stiffness, this focuses each shot with sniper-like precision.
Newer heads utilize more flexible materials across the entire head. This “whip” helps increase shot speed but reduces shooting accuracy. For clutch shooters like Zed Williams, the Mark 2’s precision shooting is essential.
Secondly, the Mark 2 excels at ground balls. Its narrow width parts turf smoothly, while the minimal mesh sidewalls prevent snagging. Ground balls almost magnetize to the Mark 2.
Newer heads’ wider designs and complex stringing impede ground ball scooping. The simple yet refined Mark 2 still dominates in gritty scrambles for possession.
There’s also an intangible quality the Mark 2 provides. Mastery of its traditional pocket requires true lacrosse skills earned through repetition and finesse. Younger players develop a gritty toughness lacking with forgiving modern heads.
The Mark 2 connects you to lacrosse’s roots. Legends like the Gaits, Powells, and Browns used the Mark 2 to win championships and transform the game. Using the same tool provides perspective on how far the sport has come.
Lastly, the Mark 2 just looks and feels cool. Ask any seasoned player – the Mark 2 simply has an aura about it. Its striking all-black cosmetics and perfectly weathered leather translate your passion for the game.
For clutch midfielders, scrappy defenders, and precision shooters, the Mark 2 lacrosse head endures as a timeless weapon. Yes, newer technologies exist. But legends recognize the magic in a fifty year old piece of hardware that plays like it was made yesterday. The Mark 2 feels broken-in yet responsive, vintage yet cutting-edge. That’s an unbeatable combo.
The Pros of the Mark 2’s Superior Ball Control and Accuracy
The Brine Mark 2 lacrosse head provides players an unparalleled blend of ball control, quick handling, and pinpoint shooting accuracy. Let’s examine the key benefits driving top players to the Mark 2.
Firstly, the head’s precisely engineered scoop and channel focus each shot with sniper-like precision. The defined ramp shapes a perfect ball release, while the stiff aluminum construction provides energy transfer for high velocities.
Newer heads use more flexible materials that “whip” during shooting. This sacrifices control for power. For clutch shooters, the Mark 2’s superior shooting accuracy is a must.
Secondly, the Mark 2’s responsive feel and expert stringing enable elite-level ball control. The head moves fluidly even through complex stick work thanks to its minimized mass. An optimally crafted traditional pocket cradles smoothly.
Newer heads’ advanced stringing and flexible sidewalls dissipate some feel. The Mark 2 connects players directly to the ball for mesmerizing handling. Legends like the Gaits proved stick skills reach new levels with a Mark 2.
Thirdly, ground balls stick to the Mark 2 like glue. Its narrow profile slices through turf, while the tight nylon sidewalls prevent snagging. Ground balls magnetize to the Mark 2.
Newer heads’ complex geometries inhibit scooping. For tough defenders and scrappy midfielders, the Mark 2 provides an extra possession edge.
Fourthly, the Mark 2 breeds an old-school toughness. Its unforgiving traditional pocket demands focus and repetition to master. Younger players develop grittiness and technical skills using the stiff alloy head.
Finally, the Mark 2 just feels and looks cool. Legends recognize the magic in its vintage style and dialed-in playability. The Mark 2 plays like a dream right out of the box.
For players seeking the ultimate competitive advantages in ball control, shooting accuracy, and feel, the Mark 2 delivers. Its balanced yet responsive performance remains peerless decades later. The Mark 2 lacrosse head is quite simply the gold standard.
The Cons of the Mark 2’s Stiffness and Narrow Pocket
While renowned for elite-level performance, the Mark 2 lacrosse head does have some drawbacks compared to newer designs. Let’s examine the tradeoffs players accept by choosing the vintage Mark 2.
Firstly, the Mark 2’s stiff aluminum alloy construction lacks the flexibility of modern heads. Newer composites and synthetic materials “whip” to increase shot speed and power.
The rigid Mark 2 provides pinpoint accuracy but less velocity. Shooters focused on power over precision may prefer more flexible modern heads.
Secondly, the Mark 2’s traditional narrow pocket takes substantial time to string and break-in properly. The stiff synthetic mesh and precise stringing tolerances make forming the ideal mid-to-low pocket a labor of love.
Newer heads feature pre-strung options with molded sidewall stringing. Players can simply string the shooting strings and customize further from there.
Thirdly, the Mark 2’s defined channel and shooting ramp leave little margin for error on errant shots. The head provides mesmerizing accuracy when shots are placed perfectly.
However, off-target shots can sail wide or bounce out compared to more forgiving modern heads. Shooters must be dialed in to capitalize on the Mark 2’s precision.
Fourthly, the Mark 2’s narrower width requires adjustments for some players. Cradling demands a tighter grip and more efficient motions. Players with larger hands may prefer wider modern heads.
While mastering the Mark 2 lacrosse head requires dedication, true students of the game recognize its irreplaceable blend of quickness, control, and shooting capability. For those willing to put in the work, the rewards are game-changing.
Mark 2 vs Modern Lacrosse Heads – How Do They Compare?
The vintage Brine Mark 2 lacrosse head remains renowned for elite-level performance. But how does it stack up against the best modern heads?
In terms of materials, modern heads feature significant advances. Space-age composites like ABS, X5, and Scandium Titanium alloy enable maximized strength-to-weight ratios. This allows for decreased mass and increased flexibility.
The Mark 2’s hand-laid aluminum alloy frame can’t match composites’ strength per gram. But its bespoke construction provides tuned stiffness for pinpoint shooting accuracy.
Regarding geometry, modern heads feature intricately molded sidewall stringing, adjustable channels, and ergonomic face shapes. These complex shapes are impossible with the Mark 2’s basic stick construction.
Yet the Mark 2’s simple, hand-crafted contours promote beyond-elite ball control. Its simplicity elegantly hones fundamentals in a way high-tech heads can’t replicate.
In pocket design, newer heads offer adjustable stringing systems like channnels, straps, and shooting strings. This allows unlimited customization for any player’s preferences.
The Mark 2’s traditional leather and nylon mesh pocket demands expertise and patience to craft. But once dialed in, it becomes an extension of your hand.
Modern heads excel at power and versatility. Their advanced materials and construction generate maximum ball speed. Adjustable features customize performance.
The Mark 2 shines when precision shooting and ball control are paramount. It connects players to lacrosse’s roots through finesse mastery. Different tools for different players.
In truth, comparing the Mark 2 to modern heads is an apples and oranges scenario. Newer technologies make heads lighter, more flexible, adjustable, and customizable.
But 50 years later, the Mark 2 remains sought after for its tailored feel, shooting accuracy, and sublime ball control. It provides an elite precision experience simply unattainable with other heads.
The Mark 2 and modern lacrosse heads will continue pushing the sport forward together. Each has advantages that benefit different players and positions. No matter your head preference, respect your lacrosse elders who laid the groundwork!
Tips for Stringing and Breaking In a Mark 2 Head
Mastering the vintage Mark 2 lacrosse head starts with stringing and breaking in the pocket properly. Here are some essential tips for optimizing your Mark 2.
Choose a traditional 10-diamond top string for best ball retention. Synthetic nylon cord locks the ball in securely while providing responsive release during passing and shooting.
Utilize harder mesh, like traditional hardened polyethylene, for the pocket. This shapes a defined pocket once broken in. Softer mesh won’t provide the same structure.
String the diamonds tighter up top to create a mid-pocket. This provides control while still allowing some hold below the ball. Keep 1-2 diamonds loosened at the scoop for smooth feeding.
Set precise pocket placement in relation to the scoop. A mid-pocket about 3-4 inches down from the scoop is ideal for most players. This balances control and hold.
Lace the sidewalls tightly, with attention to consistent diamonds and stringing angles. The Mark 2 won’t forgive sloppy stringing like newer heads.
Wrap hockey tape on the handle around the inside edges of the sidewall stringing. This reinforces the sidewalls against premature wear.
Once strung, break in the pocket by hand, not on the wall. Finger roll to soften mesh while maintaining pocket shape. Breaking in on a wall risks overstretching.
Apply leather conditioner to the shooting strings during the break-in process. This weatherproofs and softens the leather for a tuned feel.
Check pocket depth frequently during break-in by placing a ball at rest inside. Adjust diamond tensions gradually to form the ideal mid-low pocket depth.
Expect at least a week of frequent break-in sessions to get the pocket dialed in. Rushing the process will leave the pocket too stiff and tight.
Take the time to master stringing your Mark 2 head. The payoff will be exquisite shooting, pinpoint passing, effortless feeds, and buttery ball control. Your patience will be rewarded!
The Best Way to Scoop Ground Balls with the Mark 2
The Mark 2 lacrosse head excels at giving players an extra edge in ground ball battles. What’s the secret to scooping up hungry ground balls with the vintage Mark 2?
Success starts with positioning your top hand out in front of your body as you approach the ball. This allows you to guide the head flat to the ground.
Upon contact, angle the frame flat or slightly toe down to maximize the surface area of the head touching the turf. Avoid digging the edge of the scoop in initially.
Drive your top hand and shoulders down through the scoop to lift the ball up into the pocket. Think low-to-high motion throughout the scoop.
As the ball enters the upper third of the head, snap your wrists to cup the frame around the ball and secure possession.
Throughout the process, keep the head moving upfield. This helps impart momentum to funnel the ball deep into the pocket.
With the ball captured in the pocket, clamp down by squeezing your hands and cradling tightly across your body. Keep the head low to shield ground ball thieves.
The Mark 2’s tight nylon mesh helps prevent the ball spraying out on contact. But you still need a clean initial scoop for success.
Practice both stationary and on-the-run scooping. Mastering ground balls requiresSCOOPINrepetition to dial in proper technique.
Focus on exploding through the scoop and finishing each ground ball with a vice-like cradle across your body. Own the ground ball with authority.
The Mark 2 gives you an edge over opponents thanks to its smooth, responsive scooping. Put in the work, and you’ll dominate ground ball battles at any level.
Shooting Technique Adjustments to Master with the Mark 2
The Mark 2 lacrosse head’s pinpoint shooting precision demands proper shooting mechanics. What adjustments should you make coming from modern heads?
Firstly, move your bottom hand lower on the stick, nearer the butt end. This provides maximum leverage for the stiff Mark 2 head during shooting.
Keep a light grip with the top hand; power comes from the bottom hand. This prevents the Mark 2 from twisting on off-center shots.
Slow your shooting motion initially and focus on follow-through. The Mark 2 responds best to smooth acceleration into the shot release.
Aim for the corners when shooting overhand. The Mark 2’s defined channel leaves little room for error so placement is key.
Follow your stick through towards your target on every shot. Even slight adjustments affect accuracy with the Mark 2’s precision pocket.
Practice sidearm and underhand techniques like the question mark shot. Varying your release points maximizes the Mark 2’s versatility.
For behind-the-back or over-the-shoulder shots, shift your hand position slightly down to account for the extreme angles.
Develop touch by shooting from your knees or sitting down. Mastering delicate shots improves overall feel.
always warm up your shooting arm before games and practices. Cold muscles reduce shooting control.
Relax your upper body and get your shoulders over the ball during shooting motion. This enhances fluidity.
Mastering the nuances of shooting with the Mark 2 provides unmatched precision. But it requires practice and patience. Stay focused, and your sniper shooting skills will thrive.
Iconic Syracuse Players Who Used the Mark 2 Head
Many all-time Syracuse lacrosse greats used the Mark 2 head to power their legendary careers. Let’s highlight some icons who utilized the Mark 2.
The Gait brothers, Gary and Paul, defined an era of Syracuse dominance in the late 1980s. Their box lacrosse-inspired moves dazzled fans, terrorized goalies, and popularized behind-the-back shooting.
Roy Simmons Jr. built his fast-break offensive style around the Mark 2’s quick-release capabilities. His teams exploded for massive goal totals, led by snipers like Tom Marechek.
SU’s first-ever Tewaaraton winner, Mike Powell, controlled games with awe-inspiring ball handling. His vision and precision passing utililzed the Mark 2 perfectly.
Joel White patrolled midfield for the Orange through the 2000s, scooping up ground balls with ease thanks to his perfectly strung Mark 2.
Legends like John Zulberti, Brad Kotz, Tom Nelson, and Charlie Lockwood all won titles thanks to the Mark 2’s versatility and reliability.
Current SU stars like Tucker Dordevic, Stephen Rehfuss, and Jamie Trimboli grew up idolizing Orange alumni. They proudly carry the Mark 2 tradition forward.
Syracuse goaltenders faced the Mark 2 daily in practice, helping an amazing lineage like Ric Beardsley, Jay Pfeifer, and Dom Lamolinara reach elite levels.
Simply put, Syracuse lacrosse and the Mark 2 are forever linked. Every generation of Orange stars utilized the Mark 2 to drive championship success.
Young players today still feel the magic of Syracuse greatness when they string up a vintage Mark 2. The head instantly connects them to legends who paved the way for the sport’s growth.
The Mark 2 Head’s Lasting Impact on Lacrosse Culture
The game of lacrosse has evolved tremendously over the past few decades. Equipment innovations, strategy shifts, and increased athleticism have altered the sport’s complexion. Yet one piece of equipment still holds a special place in the hearts of longtime laxers: the Mark 2 lacrosse head.
First introduced in the 1970s by Brine, the Mark 2 became an instant classic. With its wide, flat scoop and pinched-in sidewalls, the Mark 2 offered unprecedented ball control and passing accuracy. The head perfectly complemented the methodical, pass-first style of legendary teams like the Syracuse Orange under Coach Roy Simmons Jr.
For many, the Mark 2 triggers instant nostalgia. It hearkens back to the sport’s roots, before specialization and showboating took hold. The design demands fundamentals like cradling, feeding, and selfless team play. Using a Mark 2 forced you to concentrate on lacrosse’s nuances. You couldn’t rely on flash or brute force. Precision mattered above all else.
“The Mark 2 was an extension of your hand,” said Michael Evans, a two-time All-American midfielder at Johns Hopkins in the 1980s. “It became part of you. When that ball hit the pocket, it just stuck. You could do anything with it – feed, shoot, anything. But you really had to work at it and know your stuff. There were no shortcuts with the Mark 2.”
Of course, advances in materials and manufacturing ushered along newer, “better” designs. Offset heads offered new shooting angles and quicker releases. Scoops became more pinched, sidewalls more angled. Features like the Mark 2 became relics from a bygone era.
Yet loyalists continued using their beloved Mark 2’s. The head allowed for creativity without overshadowing fundamentals. Younger players used the vintage model to polish their skills and learn the game’s subtle nuances.
“I always tell the kids on my high school team to try a Mark 2,” said Coach Pete Evans of Summit High School. “It teaches you so much about spacing, handling, and touch. You can’t just lower your shoulder and bull-dodge; you’ll lose the ball immediately. Footwork, vision, patience – those are the lessons the Mark 2 drills into you.”
Many college programs emphasize using vintage heads for exactly this purpose. The Mark 2 forces players to elevate their stick skills and lacrosse IQ. Relying solely on modern equipment’s shooting and handling advantages hinders development. The simplicity and demands of the Mark 2 build a solid foundation.
“We mandate the freshmen use traditional heads like the Mark 2,” said Syracuse head coach Pat Murphy. “It really challenges them and shows who can play the game the right way. If you can make things happen with a Mark 2, it proves your skills are refined.”
Of course, most players quickly switch back to offset heads before facing live competition. The Mark 2 seems archaic compared to pinpoint precision of newer designs. Yet the lessons and practices stick, no pun intended.
“I only used the Mark 2 for my first fall ball, but it changed my approach,” said Syracuse sophomore attackman Jared Pine. “Having to cradle and feed perfectly made me value every possession. I still rely on a lot of those fundamentals years later.”
While the Mark 2 no longer dominates lacrosse bag setups, it remains interwoven in the sport’s fabric. It shaped generations of players through its unique demands. And it still impacts modern stars, even if only briefly during their developmental phases.
So when you see a young player fiddling with a vintage Mark 2, don’t write it off as a meaningless novelty. That’s the head Roy Simmons Jr. used while leading ‘Cuse to multiple titles. It’s the tool that polished some of lacrosse’s legends into well-rounded players. The Mark 2 may seem obsolete, but its legacy still impacts the game today.
Where to Buy a Mark 2 Head New and Used Today
The Mark 2 lacrosse head conjures up memories of the sport’s glory days. With its flat scoop and pinched sidewalls, the Mark 2 offers unmatched control and accuracy. Generations of legendary players used the vintage model to hone their skills. So where can you find this iconic piece of gear today?
New Mark 2 heads do still exist, though in limited quantities. Brine, the original manufacturer, offers an updated version known as the Legacy. It stays true to the Mark 2’s dimensions and specs. You can find the Legacy model at most major lacrosse retailers like Dick’s Sporting Goods, Lacrosse Unlimited, and Lacrosse Monkey. Expect to pay between $70-90 for a new Brine Legacy.
Of course, purists seek out authentic, old-school Mark 2’s from the 70s, 80s, and 90s. These vintage heads offer that true retro feel and the quirks of models from the sport’s earlier era. Finding one takes some savvy sourcing, however.
Your best bet lies with secondary markets like SidelineSwap, eBay, and specialty vintage sporting goods retailers./-/ Used Mark 2 heads in playable condition typically cost $40-60. Heads with cosmetic wear but no warping or cracks tend to sit at the lower end. Those in pristine shape fetch higher prices, sometimes exceeding $100 for a rare gem.
“I search eBay daily for vintage heads,” said Cordell Lewis, an avid collector in Baltimore. “Mark 2’s, Proton’s, early STX models. When you find one in great shape, you gotta pay up. But holding a piece of history is worth it.”
When buying a used Mark 2, carefully inspect photos to verify its condition. Look for obvious signs of damage or overuse. Subtle warping along the scoop and sidewalls indicates material fatigue. Small surface cracks signal the onset of breakage.
“Always ask the seller for extra pics if something looks off,” suggests Michael Jones, founder of The Vintage Lax Shop. “A good wash and some TLC can clean up most cosmetic issues. But cracking and warping mean the structural integrity is compromised.”
To help locate authentic Mark 2 heads, study their unique features. The scoop should have a flat rake with well-defined sidewall pinches. Offset should be minimal, unlike aggressive modern designs. The “bowtie” stringing holes on the scoop are telltale Mark 2 indicators. Brine employed this classic stringing style throughout the entire run.
Your local lacrosse specialty shop may also keep small stocks of used vintage heads. Longstanding retailers with deep community roots like Lancaster’s Lacrosse Den often come across random gems during trade-ins and consignments.
“We set aside any old Brines that catch our eye,” said Mike Watson of Lancaster’s Lacrosse Den. “Mark 2’s always get snatched up fast by the old-timers around here. Lots of fond memories with those heads.”
For the truly adventurous, thrift stores and yard sales present lottery-ticket odds for vintage finds. That tattered tennis duffle bag tossed in a storage closet could contain a 70s-era Brine bonanza. With some luck and persistent digging, bargain bin Mark 2’s await discovery.
“I check thrift stores and flea markets once a month and usually find some gems,” said Kyle Bristow, VintageLax on YouTube. “It takes some real patience. But holding a 40-year-old Mark 2 I scored for $5? Best feeling ever.”
The hunt itself fuels many vintage collectors. Sourcing that perfect Mark 2 or other old-school relic brings its own satisfaction. And players derive extra motivation knowing legends of yesteryear also swung these same heads.
Of course, the vintage Mark 2 presents more than mere nostalgia or novelty. Mastering the precise handling and fundamentals it demands breeds skills transferable to any head. You acquire better feel, positioning, vision, and passing abilities. Even briefly using this retro piece of gear creates positive ripple effects.
So for many reasons, the vintage Mark 2 lacrosse head remains sought after decades later. A balanced mix of history, playability, and challenge keep it relevant. And with some savvy shopping, you can land one of these iconic heads for your own game.
Here is a 1000+ word article on stringing a Mark 2 lacrosse head for maximum performance:
Stringing a Mark 2 Head for Maximum Performance
The Mark 2 lacrosse head delivers unmatched control and feel, but only with proper stringing. Mastering the nuances of stringing this vintage head takes patience and practice. Follow these essential tips to optimize your Mark 2’s performance.
Pocket Placement – Situate the pocket mid-scoop to mid-sidewall. This centers the ball’s sweet spot for carrying, feeding, and shooting. A high pocket sacrifices control on passes and rebounds. Low placement muddies quick releases.
Shooting Strings – Install a U-nylon shooting string to refine accuracy. Nylon provides the right blend of stiffness and snap. For versatility, run the U from the scoop midpoint to just above the sidewall pinch. This catapults shots but maintains a smooth release.
Sidewall Stringing – Traditional double sidewall stringing aligns best with the Mark 2’s handling. Run interlocks or singles from the scoop midpoint to the plastic’s base. This time-tested sidewall style maximizes pocket stability and ball retention compared to channels or triangles.
Mesh Style – Hard mesh optimizes the Mark 2’s snappy sidewalls and precise shape. Medium to semi-soft meshes can warp the head’s defined contours over time. Opt for meshes with thicker sidewall holes like ECD or Stringking Hards for best results.
Pocket Depth – Given its narrow dimensions, the Mark 2 performs best with a mid-depth pocket. Too deep, and balls sink. Too shallow leads to poor control. Medium bags with pronounced mid-pocket definition yield that ideal hold.
Shooting Cord Tension- Moderately tighten shooting cords to generate speed. But over-tensioning deadens the quick release that makes the Mark 2 lethal. When threaded properly, shooters should snap back with minimal slack.
Top String – A triple top string setup affords maximum adjustability. A straight piece provides scoop stability. Run two cross-laces in the bottom holes to further tweak pocket mechanics.
Leathers- Skinny leathers optimize feel on the Mark 2. They allow for tighter string beds that maximize energy transfer. But too thin leads to premature wear. Find the ideal point between responsiveness and durability.
Pocket Wear-In – Expect a break-in period as you dial in the specifics. Log throw-and-catch reps to shape the mesh precisely. Gradual pre-game pocket pounding refines holding and release points.
“I go through a dozen different string jobs tweaking my Mark 2 each season,” said Duke midfielder Chris Edwards. “Mastering these old heads is an art. But once you perfect your pattern, it’s a thing of beauty.”
String Selection – Monofilament nylon strings allow for tightest string beds and deepest pocket control. Softer multifilament and co-polymer blends can slacken over time. Opt for high-quality nylons from trusted brands.
Throat Configuration – A classic single straight shooter string centered in the throat optimizes feel and control. Double straight and cross configurations change release points. Stick with simplicity for best results.
Top String Tightness – Moderately tight top string tension pulls in sidewalls ever-so-slightly, cupping the ball. Over-tightening throws off throwing mechanics. Err lighter to retain the head’s OG dimensions.
Water Management- Given its leather and nylon construction, the Mark 2 can absorb moisture. Treat strings with water-resistant coatings like Stringking’s Nanotechnology. Keep gloves and towels handy to dry off during games.
String Prep – Take extra time pre-game to shape and straighten shooting strings. The defined U shape is critical for consistent accuracy. Aformed or frayed shooter leads to erratic passes and shots.
With precise stringing and customization, the Mark 2 delivers impressive performance despite its age. But it requires an obsessive attention to detail. Master these nuances through trial and error to unlock the legend of this vintage gem.
Will the Mark 2 Transform Your Game in 2023?
The Mark 2 lacrosse head represents a true vintage classic. Originally introduced in the 1970s, the Mark 2 became an instant hit thanks to its pinpoint control and accuracy. Legends from an earlier era used the Mark 2 to hone their formidable skills.
Yet can this old-school head still impact your game in 2023? Or is the Mark 2 simply antiquated technology, far surpassed by modern equipment innovations?
In reality, the vintage Mark 2 offers timeless benefits that absolutely translate to today’s game. Work ethic, fundamentals, and nuanced technique drive success – not flashy gear. Let’s examine the enduring lessons and skills the Mark 2 teaches.
First and foremost, the Mark 2 demands focus and determination. Simply stringing and tuning this finicky head takes next-level patience. You must meticulously tweak pocket placement, shooting strings, and sidewall configurations to optimize its performance.
This tedious tuning process improves self-discipline and attention to detail. You gain better understanding of overall stick mechanics. Mastering the Mark 2 proves you’ll put in the necessary work to excel.
The Mark 2 also requires flawless fundamentals. You simply can’t rely on a gimmicky head design for easy goals. Instead, you need picture-perfect footwork, head positioning, and shooting form to score with a Mark 2.
Rep after rep, the Mark 2 highlights any subtle technical deficiencies. You’re forced to fix flawed fundamentals that modern heads may mask. Your shooting, feeding, and dodging skills become sharper through this back-to-basics training.
Additionally, the vintage Mark 2 teaches nuanced stick skills most modern heads gloss over. You must expertly cradle and handle this all-leather stick to retain possession. Sloppy play draws quick turnovers.
But master the Mark 2’s unique demands, and you gain an advanced lacrosse IQ. You learn the game’s intricate techniques – edge work, pocket positioning, off-hand play. Things overlooked as the sport increasingly emphasizes athleticism.
Of course, the Mark 2 has limitations. Its wooden design and vintage strings pale compared to cutting-edge carbon fibers and nylons. The primitive scoop and sidewall design make for a cumbersome head by today’s standards.
Yet writing off the Mark 2 solely due to its aged materials and tech misses the point. The skills you acquire through using this vintage piece deliver the biggest benefits.
Could the Mark 2 realistically serve as your everyday gamer in 2023? Probably not. But spending meaningful practice time with this venerable stick offers hidden advantages. You’ll gain work ethic, fundamentals, and lacrosse IQ applicable to any head.
“I make all my players use a Mark 2 at least twice a week in practice,” said Hopkins coach Zach Buonagura. “The amount they improve in just a few months is unbelievable. Their overall game reaches another level.”
The Mark 2’s impact transcends nostalgia. Succeeding with this vintage stick proves your skills stem from dedication and mastery. You win through honing the craft, not chasing gimmicks.
So don’t write off that dusty Mark 2 sitting in your garage as a meaningless relic. String it up and get to work mastering the nuances of this old-school classic. Your fundamentals, technique, and love of lacrosse will grow exponentially. The vintage Mark 2 can definitely still transform your game in 2023.