Pro lacrosse players hold multiple jobs, travel from home every weekend

- So you think your commute is bad? Try working a full week at your job, then driving across an international border, hopping a flight, maybe a layover to arrive in time for your other job.

That's what members of the Georgia Swarm do every week, and they do it with a smile.

"Do it while you're still young, right?" said Kiel Matisz, a transition for the new indoor lacrosse team.

Matisz arrived in Atlanta Thursday night after working at his regular job during the day. From there it was a cab right to the hotel, practice Friday and a game Saturday evening.

The Swarm played their first ever home game at the Infinite Energy Arena Saturday night, beating the Toronto Rock 12-7.. The team, which plays in the National Lacrosse League, is made up of players who live entirely outside the area.

"We'll figure out all the shortcuts and the best lines to go in [at the airport], best places to eat and all those things," said Swarm head coach Ed Comeau.

With all the travel comes, of course, headaches. Forward Miles Thompson doesn't mind the flying from his home in New York -- he says he falls asleep every time -- but travel headaches are compounded when you're heading for a game.

"I lost my whole equipment bag [on a flight,]" said Thompson. "I'm asking the equipment manager to get me a whole set of pads this week."

It's not that players don't want to live in the Atlanta area; in fact, a team spokesman says four players are planning to move to the area in the coming months. The reason players live elsewhere is that, while the Swarm are a professional team, players aren't paid all that well and just about all of them hold down full-time jobs back home.

Matisz lives in Canada, just over the border from Buffalo, New York and works for PepsiCo. Comeau, the coach, does sales for an elevator company.

"It's a balancing act but when it's something you love to do, you make it work," said Comeau.

Matisz says he knows people around the league who are firefighters, nurses and other jobs. Some run lacrosse camps or other outlets involving the game to make money. The hope, of course, is to grow the sport of indoor lacrosse, also known as box lacrosse.

"We're a first generation sport I would say, first generation in Georgia," said Matisz. "Hopefully when it's my child's generation or there after they can be a full-blown, single-job professional athlete."

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