MILWAUKEE — Timing can be everything when it comes to sports. It can also be very important when it comes to movie making. Some Marquette University students decided to make a film about an up-and-coming sport: Lacrosse.
The Marquette men’s lacrosse program continues to grow in popularity. They’re getting some added recognition thanks to four ambitious students.
“I went to a high school that had a film program there. I kind of got involved in that. I knew I loved sports my whole life, played sports my whole life — kind of a way to fuse the two loves — my love of technology, of editing, with my love of sports,” Matt Unger, MU junior said.
Unger and his friends Brian Georgenson, Patrick Thomas and Grant Becker decided to create a documentary on the lacrosse program.
“Essentially we start right from the beginning. Marquette Athletics is going to add lacrosse. We go right from there jump into their first practice season. They practice for an entire year without playing competitive games, just to get their feet underneath them and from there we tell the stories of 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 — their first four years of Big East play,” Unger said.
They knew they had to take advantage of what was happening with the lacrosse team.
“The genesis kind of came last year around April. We really started to notice how the Marquette men’s lacrosse team was getting very good. They were beating ranked programs. They strung together a win streak the year before and it kind of seemed like this team a) might make the NCAA tournament or b) win the Big east championship — either/or,” Unger said.
The idea couldn’t have come at a better time.
“We started following the team to the Big East semis, to the Big East finals and eventually when they won it, we were lucky enough to have cameras there for like, the celebration party for the NCAA Tournament selection committee. We were lucky enough that they got to host a game against North Carolina,” Unger said.
“I think they didn’t realize how good the timing was. I think they had the project planned before last year’s success and luckily for them, it worked out and they did such a great job of capturing what we are,” Joe Amplo, MU lacrosse head coach said.
When the season ended, that’s when the real work began for the student filmmakers.
“Over summer, we started to go, ‘OK — what do we have here? We have this story. How are we going to lead up to it and then I got back for fall and we got independent study approved. Worked on it all semester long and basically we told the story of how this team went from nothing to Big East champions within six years — less than. It was a lot of work — 28, 30 hours a week for interviews, logging interviews. You have to transcribe them. Get your story. What are we going to pick from this interview? It was quite the amount of work, but it was really rewarding,” Unger said.
The result of all that hard work is being seen across the world, as the documentary “Lucky to Win a Game” has been uploaded to YouTube. It’s gotten rave reviews from the team.
“I think they did a great job of capturing what our team culture is, and that we really love the game and we love who our teammates are. I don’t think they just skimmed the surface of ‘we play lacrosse.’ They really got into relationships and everything we built from start to finish in this school which is amazing to see from a different perspective,” Kyran Clarke, MU senior lacrosse player said.
“I really thought it captured the spirit of who we are as a program, what our culture is, and what we want to be moving forward. I’m just humbled that these guys took the time to do that and also really investigate who we are as a program,” Coach Amplo said.