Pikesville’s own Jesse Schwartzman is on the U.S. national team’s 23-man roster for the Federation of International Lacrosse World Championships in Colorado.
He was named to the team following a tryout process that began locally at Goucher College last September. Additional tryouts were held in Orlando, Fla., in January. The final team was selected from a 31-player roster that attended training camps in Connecticut and Massachusetts and competed in the Major League Lacrosse All-Star Game at Harvard Stadium in Cambridge.
“It was long, strenuous, stressful,” Schwartzman, a goalie, said.
Schwartzman, 28, was a two-time All-American at Pikesville High School and then played for Johns Hopkins University. He now handles gaol-tending duties for the Denver Outlaws. This season, he became the MLL’s all-time winningest goalie with 62 career victories.
Just days after the roster was named, Schwartzman and his teammates headed to a training camp at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs to prepare for the world championships, which started Thursday and run through July 19 in Denver.
Playing by international rules for Team USA is very different from playing for the Outlaws, he said.
“All the rules are different, the style of play is different,” he said. “The only similarity is that you’re familiar with some of the players.”
A record 38 nations, including Israel, are playing 142 games over 10 days, with the U.S. defending its title. The American men defeated Canada for the 2010 championship in Manchester, England. For lacrosse fans, the championship brings a World Cup level of excitement.
“It happens every four years in a different country, so it’s exactly like the World Cup,” said Schwartzman. “There’s round-robin play, then the elimination rounds.
“The skill level is off the charts,” he added. “The best players in the world are here.”
Baltimore boasts fervent lacrosse fans, and Schwartzman finds much of the country is also onboard.
“There’s definitely a ton of excitement with social media for sure,” Schwartzman said. “There are big billboards where the games are being held. There’s a big sense of excitement.”
About 10 friends and family members are in Denver to cheer Schwartzman on.
In addition to his busy lacrosse schedule, Schwartzman finds time to actively give back to the community. Working with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, he hosted, in May, a young cancer patient and lacrosse fan from New York, Kyle Norton, who spent a weekend with the Outlaws
“I’ve always done charitable work,” said Schwartzman. “I feel that giving back to the community is very important. Helping those who are less fortunate is very important to me and my family. I grew up that way.”
When he was at Hopkins, Schwartzman spent time volunteering at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center.
Schwartzman still lives in Baltimore — he flies to Denver for Outlaws’ games — and remains active locally.
He helps coach a couple of Maryland Lacrosse Club teams and recently spent a couple hours coaching kids at the JCC sports camp in Owings Mills.
Amy Landsman is a local freelance writer.