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For the Love of the Game: Matt Gibson

March 18, 2016
When we first started this series a few months ago, our goal was to show the fans how hard our players work to grow the game of lacrosse. The result, though, has been much more than that.

We’ve gotten great feedback not only about how dedicated our guys are to this sport, but surprise and admiration for what their lives are like off the field. We can tell you that the feeling is mutual. We are learning things we otherwise might not have known about the guys that play for us every weekend.

As a tribute to that admiration, we had a chat with Lizards Attackmen, Matt Gibson – on the field, the man that holds claim to the Semi-Final OT winner that sent us to the 2015 Championships; off the field, the UCLA club lacrosse coach and passionate screenwriter.

Read on for the full conversation:

Q: At what age did you start playing lacrosse and who introduced you to the sport?

MG: I think I started playing in first or second grade - so around age 7 or 8 when my bowl cut was really coming into its own. My oldest brother JR, known for his power cradle, started the trend in my family, then the rest of us followed suit.

Q: Personally, why did you decide to study and play lacrosse at Yale? 

MG: Because my older brother Brendan was playing there at the time.

Q: What is the best memory you have while attending Yale? 

MG: Some of the fondest memories I have took place in a pile of mulch across the street from our fraternity house where they stored all of the campus mulch. It was high-quality mulch. Good texture. Probably from up north. Anyway, we had a bizarre mulch obsession. We'd take a few beverages over there, hang out in the mulch, burrow in it, etc. It became a big trend to "take this party over to the mulch."

Q: MLL is a league in which players play mostly for the love the game. How does this speak to the passion players have for lacrosse?

MG: With the salaries being what they are, it speaks for itself. Personally I move back to NY for the season to play. Other guys leave their families to travel every weekend. If someone didn't have a tremendous passion for playing the sport, they wouldn't be on a roster.

Q: What is your favorite and least favorite part about playing in the league?

MG: My favorite part is simply playing, both in practice and in games. My least favorite part is all the hoopla and business of it. 

Q: You’re a coach for the UCLA Club Lacrosse team. How do you mentally transition from coach to player while in season?

MG: Since I suit up with the UCLA squad in practices from time to time, it's quite easy. Playing comes a lot more naturally than coaching for me. 

Q: In addition to playing lacrosse you are a screenplay writer and have worked on numerous pieces. How did this come about and can you tell us a little bit about your works? 

MG: I started writing screenplays in 2013 or so. I had no idea what I was doing, but I've always had a knack for writing. Anyway, I ended up showing my work to someone and was lucky enough to land a job rewriting someone else's feature film script. It wasn't my favorite thing in the world, but it was quite a learning experience. Following that, I wrote my own feature film, which I just recently finished. I was actually writing it during the 2015 MLL season, including on flights to away games. I'm in the process of getting the film produced, which should be another learning experience, and have begun writing a second one.

Q: As somebody who is passionate about movies, do you have a favorite movie?

MG: I don't have a favorite movie, but my top choice among recent films is Bridge of Spies.

Q: Best part about living in California? 

MG: When someone from the east coast texts you in the morning, you can ignore it and say you were still asleep. When they text you at night, you can say you were working. 

Matt and the rest of the Lizards will be back in action on April 23 rd at Hofstra University in a Championship Rematch against the Rochester Rattlers. Single game tickets go on sale January 20 th. For more information, call 1-855-NYLizards.