He paced the sideline like an expectant father,
sometimes excited, at other times anxious. Even a bit nervous.
Who could blame Jake Steinfeld, though? Friday night wasn't just another
stop in the seven-city, 43-day tour of the Major League Lacrosse Summer
Showcase, the outdoor lacrosse league Steinfeld founded a little over a year
No, this was a little bit bigger for the former Baldwin resident. This was
the first time the MLL, featuring some of the top 40 players in the world, was
being seen on Steinfeld's old stomping ground of Long Island.
"This is just an awesome feeling," said the Brooklyn-born Steinfeld, who
lived in Baldwin from the age of 4 until he was 19. "It doesn't get much better
than coming to a place where I was raised."
Make no mistake about it, the MLL is Jake Steinfeld's baby. So when a crowd
of 5,240 at Mitchel Athletic Complex saw the National squad defeat the
Americans, 21-15, in a game that included 15 current or former Long Island
residents, Steinfeld couldn't help but flash the familiar smile that helped him
become one of the country's most well-known fitness motivators.
When the National's Josh Sims scored the tour's third two-point goal this
summer early in the second quarter(goals from at least 15 yards are worth two
points,one of many innovations the MLL has been experimenting with),no one
cheered louder than Steinfeld.
"Ooh, did you see that?" said Steinfeld, who moved to Los Angeles 22 years
ago and created his Body By Jake empire. "That sounds like when I go into the
broadcast booth with eight minutes to go in the game. All I'm saying is, 'Ooh,
A few years ago, some of Steinfeld's California friends were buying
minor-league baseball teams, but Steinfeld chose to go back to his lacrosse
roots. He was a midfielder at Baldwin High School (Class of 1976) and played a
year at Cortland State before embarking on his career on the West Coast.
Steinfeld and the MLL will announce later this year which eight cities will
field teams in June, 2001, each playing a 14-game schedule.
Many of the local players hope to see a team somewhere on Long Island.
"We believe Long Island has the best lacrosse," said former Manhasset High
School player John Gagliardi, who had an assist in a losing effort. "Hopefully
next year we'll have a team on Long Island."
Steinfeld wouldn't reveal where the eight teams will be located but did
say, "People say Baltimore is ground zero in lacrosse, but Long Island is the
mecca of lacrosse. This is just one of those cities where lacrosse is."
And where Steinfeld's heart is. The 42-year-old has made the summer
showcase a family road trip. Steinfeld and his wife of 12 years, Tracey, have
traveled with their three children, daughter Morgan (8) and sons Nicholas (6)
and Zachary (1).
But this trip has been just a little more special. The family visited
Jake's grade school, Meadow School, as well as his old house on Allwyn Street
"I just get ...," Steinfeld said, and then paused and collected his
thoughts. "I mean look at this." Steinfeld's eyes panned the packed crowd, and
he just smiled. His baby took its biggest step Friday.