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Documentary etches lacrosse championship in history

Published: Thursday, October 21, 2010

Updated: Thursday, October 21, 2010 06:10

Senior Arlin Ladue

Courtesy Allison Fisk

Senior Arlin Ladue spent the past seven months filming, editing and producing his men’s lacrosse team documentary, “Road to the Championship,” which will premiere to the public tonight at 7:30 and 9 p.m. in Barnum 008.

Somewhere between Michael Moore's powerful documentary rhetoric and Francis Ford Coppola's epic mise-en-scene, senior Arlin Ladue has found his place as a master of the big screen.

Tonight at 7:30 and 9 p.m. in Barnum 008, Ladue will publicly premiere his hour-long documentary film, "Road to the Championship," which details the story of the 2010 men's lacrosse team's run from preseason training through the National Championship. The screening is being co-sponsored by Tufts Film Series and Imaginet, a marketing communications group at Tufts.

The film was shot and edited mostly by Ladue, but with help from former Tufts lacrosse player and the film's producer, Drew Innis (LA '04). Combined, the two media connoisseurs spent hundreds of hours with the team and amassed an astronomical amount of footage.

"The film covers every moment Drew and I [were] with the team, including the preseason boot camp, the regular season victories, the first NESCAC championship, the NCAA tournament games and everything in between," Ladue said. "The product is an emotional thrill ride, with each win compounding on the previous until the final game. It's as close to a perfect season as one could imagine for a collegiate team."

After he had filmed all of Tufts' regular and postseason home games, head coach Mike Daly and the team invited Ladue to come with them on their weekend trip to Cortland St. for the NCAA Semifinals and eventually took him along to the NCAA Championship.

"When all was said and done, I had about 2,000 gigabytes of HD footage, covering 11 games and eight full days with the team," he said. "Over the course of June, early July and September, I logged over 300 hours working through the footage and putting together a final cut of the film."

But despite the time, effort, hundreds of miles of travel and even special student highlights such as Spring Fling and Senior Pub Night that he had to sacrifice for the sake of the project, Ladue maintains that the experience was invaluable to him, the team and, ultimately, the university.

"Of course it was worth the time this summer and the time this spring with the team," Ladue said. "Looking back on it, it couldn't have gone any better. Drew and Mike Daly gave me everything that I needed whenever I asked for it, and the team did their job, so the final product was pretty special."

Innis could not agree more. He believes the documentary brings the season's events to light in a way that most students, parents and alumni couldn't even imagine.

"I'm sure a lot of people in the Tufts community heard the news about the team's championship victory back in May, but I doubt many people were really able to fully understand how big of a deal it really was and still is," Innis told the Daily. "Lacrosse championship weekend in Baltimore is like no other stage in college sports, and it's amazing that we were able to capture those moments and share them with the Tufts community, so they can fully appreciate just how great of an achievement it was for the men's lacrosse team and the school."

"The significance of it is that every Tufts alum and every Tufts student who's heard about this amazing season can now go through the whole journey with the team and share it with generations of future Jumbos," Ladue said, echoing Innis' sentiments.

Although Ladue looks back on the experience fondly, it initially wasn't easy for Innis to convince him to join forces for the massive undertaking. Since Innis' creation of several years ago — a website devoted to Tufts men's lacrosse that includes videos and a documentary-style promo ad for the team created in 2007 — Daly had been looking for Innis to do a full-season documentary. With some of the best talent in program history graduating in 2011, Daly sensed the impending success of the team and asked Innis to prepare for the 2011 season by doing some work in the spring of 2010.        As if fate was firing on all cylinders for the men's lacrosse team and everything associated with it, Ladue had contacted Innis a few months earlier after seeing the documentary-style promo ad for the team and was hoping Innis could mentor him and his growing interest in videography. The two were a media match made in heaven, and Innis knew that Ladue would be the perfect collaborator for this type of project. But Ladue wasn't always so sure.

"In March of 2010, I met Drew for the first time, by chance seeing him in the Boloco on Boston Ave.," Ladue said. "He was in town to shoot the team's final preseason preparation, an intensive two-day conditioning camp run by an ex-Marine a couple days before the 2010 season began. He suggested I start filming the team's games in an effort to grow a relationship with the team for future projects."

"Although he never told me, his intentions were to get my feet wet working with the team, so that in 2011 when many of the team's best players were going to be seniors, I could film their potential championship run," he continued. "I turned down the offer, citing a full course load and other film projects as a limit on my free time."

Nevertheless, Innis continued to urge Ladue to join the campaign.

"At the time we started exchanging e-mails, Arlin was busy making videos for the soccer and ski teams and balancing a busy engineering academic schedule, and it was not so easy convincing him to work with the lacrosse team," Innis said. "I basically had to beg him for an entire year, plead with him that it was in his best interest. I don't know what it was — maybe he just knew the team was going to win the title the second year and not the first — but luckily for all of us, he eagerly started shooting the team in the spring of last year of their historic season."

Innis eventually took Ladue under his wing and, within the first few weeks of working together, he could already tell how skilled Ladue was and how much of an asset he would be to the team. Moreover, Ladue's progress even caught the eye of Daly.

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