Katie McMahonhas had a rollercoaster of a career.
From leadingthe women’s lacrosse team in her first three years at UC Davis tosufferinga potentially devastating shoulder injury in2007to a dramatic return as a fifth-year senior,McMahon has been through it all,the good times and the bad.
With the final game of her career coming today at11a.m.against St.Mary’s,Aggie Sports Writer MAX ROSENBLUM sat down withthe school‘s all-time scoring leadertodiscuss her love for the team,thegame and …referees?
What happened to you a year ago that caused you to take a year off and use your redshirt?
I was being a bad kid and went to play basketball with some friends.I went up for a rebound.Two people grabbed the ball,and I definitely did not want to let it go,so I ended up tearing my labrum,capsule and rotator cuff,destroying my shoulder.It came to where my shoulder would pop out during normal activities,and I knew it had to be taken care of.
Knowing how much you love to play,how hard was it to watch from the sideline for a year?
It was really hard,but at the same time,you are looking ahead to something bigger and better.We had a class of10freshmen come in,and that was really exciting because it was a chance to teach the younger players how to do it right the first time.
Your dedication to the game of lacrosse is second to none.So where does your career go from here as far as UC Davis lacrosse is concerned?
I definitely thought about coaching because it is an opportunity to teach and learn at the same time.It would be a great opportunity– if something opened up here,of course.If I go somewhere else,I would love to.But it’s a matter of whether or not there is a spot and I am needed.
What is your relationship with head coachElaineJones?
I have a great relationship with both coaches,but I go really far back with Elaine.She has been my longest coach in my lifetime,and as a sports fanatic,that is something that is hard to come by.We understand each other.She is in my head,and I am in her head.I know what she is going to say before she says it,and so I just point to my head and say, “I know what you are going to say,” and she says, “I know you know.” We are totally on that level.
How does it feel to have UC Davis women’s lacrosse records in almost every statistical category (goals,points,shots,caused turnovers and8-meter shots)?
It feels good,but I am bummed about the assists record.I think I need five to tie it,and that’s important for a player who scores a lot of goals.You want to pop ittothe girl right next you and help out your teammates.As far as goals go,I don’t like to keep track because if you start to count,you lose focus on the game.To be honest,the memories of retreats and gift exchanges are a lot more important to me than any individual record.
In five years,what was your most memorable on-field moment as an Aggie?
It would have to be this year in the win against Canisius.There were so many reasons why we should have lost.It was cold.We traveled.The game was postponed for two hours.There was snow.We could have made excuses,and we were down.But we battled as a team to get every draw and every ground ball.It was amazing! Everybody contributed,and it was a total team win.That was the game that we saw the fight in theAggie lacrosseteam.
It is not hard to notice that not many people show up to your games.How to do feel about the lack of knowledge of your sport and what would you say to somebody who has never seenyour teamplay?
It is sad when someone doesn’t get to know another sport.But the thing is that it is like basketball.You are trying to get to the cage and score.It‘s soccer because you are using the entire field.It‘s hockey because it’s physical.But it’s also one of the games thatifyou are up by10goals with four minutes left,you could still lose.It’s quick and exciting and based on both team and individual skill.I think if people went out to a game and watched us,I guarantee that they would be hooked and not because of the skirts [laughs].
All I hear at games is complaints about the referees.What is your opinion of them,and how do you differentiatecertaincalls?
Lacrosse is so discretionary.It isunbelievable.Here is my thing – you can put this in.I will check someone and the ref will say“dangerous check.“ And I want to show the ref my stickbecause on my stick it says,“The use of this stickor any lacrosse equipmentmay cause injury or death.“ We know going init’s dangerous,so let us make the check.I don’t get it – I want to laugh.… Wehave refswho I think either got their license out of a Cracker Jack box,or they are only high school refs,you know? And it’s tough because you see the same ones over and over,so if they don’t like you,what are you going to do? Then you are in trouble,you know what I mean? I mean,I know you can’t let the ref determine the game,but whoever came up with that quote is a liar.You can put that in there.… A ref can totally determine the outcome of the game.It’s hard to focus on the game when a ref is on your back blowing the whistle in your ear.Show me an athlete that says they can overcome it,and I will call them a liar.Sports psychology professor Paul Salitsky says you can,but I just shake my headfrom the back of the lecture hall.
You and [senior defender] Megan Miller went to the same high school (Foothill).How has it been playing with her for nine years?
We are like fire and gasoline.We are an explosive two.But it is great to have someone you can share your present with butwho also knows your past.It is very comforting.We have really hated each other and we have really loved each other,and it is just a great relationship.
Say something of meaning to your group of seniors that they will remember.
Would you rather? Life is full of “would you rathers?” Would you rather go out with a fight knowing that you played your best and your hardest,or would you rather just show up and play?
MAX ROSENBLUM can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.