In the midst of the hunt for the team’s third National Lacrosse League championship, the Calgary Roughnecks have been taking care of business in more ways than one.
“At first blush, a lot of people don’t understand lacrosse is our second job. It’s a part-time job,” Roughnecks defenseman Mike Carnegie said.
“We’re kind of these weekend warriors that play on the weekend then support our families through other means.”
Think of it as the Clark Kent to the Curtis “Superman” Dixon, but their real superpower is juggling family, lacrosse and a 9-to-5 job.
“Guys work Monday to Friday, hop on a plane, practice Friday night, practice Saturday morning, play a game Saturday night and fly home Sunday,” Roughnecks transition Bobby Snider said.
“They’re teachers, run their own businesses, construction guys, doctors, police officers.
“They’re working seven days a week for four months. It’s a total juggling act.”
Snider is lucky enough to work as the vice-president of development organization Elev8 Lacrosse along with his brother, Geoff.
The four-month playing season isn’t enough for athletes to make a living.
In Carnegie’s 13-year professional lacrosse career, he’s won an NLL championship and represented Team Canada, but his coworkers know him as a real estate and development project manager at the City of Calgary.
“I don’t hit my employers with a lacrosse stick, so that’s good,” the veteran joked. “They’ll drop a line like, ‘Good luck this weekend,’ in passing, so you get the odd random shout out.”
While playing more than 100 NLL games, Carnegie’s roommate, Curtis Manning, graduated from med student to full-fledged doctor with his own clinic in the city’s northwest.
“Guys will come up to him with random questions like, ‘Can you look at this? Does this look weird to you? Look at my back, look at this lump, look at my eye,’ all kinds of crazy stuff,” Carnegie said.
Manning may have sworn a Hippocratic oath to do no harm in his medical profession, but what happens in the arena is another story.
“He’s a very polite, easygoing guy when you talk to him, then on the floor, he’s arguably one of the best defenders in the league,” Snider said.
While the Riggers ultimately hope to see a day where lacrosse can be a full-time job, they savour their unusual lifestyles.
“It’s a double-edged sword,” Snider admitted. “Yeah, we’d like to make it a full-time professional league, but I think it makes us really unique as athletes as well to balance that.”
“This double life that I live is fun. I get an outlet to play the sport I love — like a hobby you get paid for,” Carnegie said.
At the end of the day, they’re still focused on one thing: collecting another NLL championship.
Game 2 of the best-of-three NLL final heads to the Saddledome on Saturday.
The Roughnecks beat the Bandits 10-7 in Game 1 on May 18 at the KeyBank Center in Buffalo.