John Tucker and Rick Sowell, two of the Major Indoor Lacrosse League's pillars since its inception in 1987, plan to retire after this season.
It is fitting that they will play against each other in their final regular-season game when the Baltimore Thunder entertains the Philadelphia Wings Saturday (8 p.m.) at the Baltimore Arena. That will be the Thunder's second game in 24 hours, following tomorrow night's match against the Bandits in Buffalo.
Tucker and Sowell will go out on top. Both were first-team All-Pro in the MILL the last two seasons, and may be again this year.
Tucker, 30, a former Johns Hopkins star who now coaches Gilman's lacrosse team, is in his sixth season with the Wings. Sowell, 28, who played for Washington College, is in his fourth season with the Thunder after two years with the now-defunct Washington Wave. He is an assistant coach at Georgetown.
Tucker will leave the weekend league with a lot of scars. He has had two elbow operations, one shoulder operation, two concussions and a torn knee ligament.
"Not all of the injuries were from getting hit, but from hitting other people as well," said Tucker, who leads the Wings this season with 33 points on 13 goals and 20 assists. "But that's the way I need to play, aggressively. It took its toll."
Tucker is in his third year as Gilman's coach and also teaches history there. He and his wife Janine are expecting their first child. It is time, Tucker feels, to leave MILL warfare.
Sowell is leaving primarily because indoor lacrosse is cutting into time he should be devoting to his Georgetown job, although head coach Dave Urick has been understanding in sharing him with theThunder.
But Sowell feels he is pushing it. This weekend, for example, he is sandwiching Georgetown's game against Notre Dame Saturday at 1 p.m. in Washington between the Thunder's games.
"I am a full-time assistant and Georgetown lacrosse is ready for the next step, where people are taking notice," Sowell said.
Georgetown beat Michigan State and Washington College in preseason games and opened with an 18-7 victory over Boston College last week.
NOTES: MILL players will vote before Saturday's games on whether they want to be represented by Local 966 of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. "It's distracting, and distressing that the players -- bright guys, college educated -- would go for this," said Thunder GM Darrell Russell. MILL players are paid based on experience, from $125 a game for a rookie to $325 for a six-year veteran. The players want more.