The day-to-day grind never stops for anyone. For Randy Staats, it’s meant a ton of lacrosse.
Following the conclusion of the Georgia Swarm’s 2017-18 season, the 25-year-old traveled to Israel to play in the FIL World Lacrosse Championship, winning the bronze with the Iroquois Nationals. Sandwiched around that was him playing in the MLL with the Dallas Rattlers and going to the MLL Championship. At the same time, Staats was playing in Major Series Lacrosse (MSL) with the Six Nations Chiefs.
Despite his busy schedule, Staats goes home with a smile on his face to his seven-month-old daughter, Teiakoronhiakétskwen (“She has lifted the sky” in Mohawk) Paedyn Staats. He’s loving the new experiences fatherhood brings.
Add to that his brother Austin Staats being selected No. 1 overall by the San Diego Seals in the 2018 NLL Entry Draft, and there’s a lot for Staats to be excited about leading into the 2018-19 NLL season. You can hear it in his voice, and that enthusiasm is contagious, helping bridge the last two weeks before Training Camp.
You’ve had a busy offseason with the MLL, FIL World Championship and MSL. How’re you holding up?
I feel good, man. Obviously, starting in – I think our first game was middle of December last year up until I think my last game was August 15 – going every week was obviously a lot on the body, but it’s what I train for and what I prepare for. It was good. I had a great time in all the leagues. Made it to the championship with the MLL. Unfortunately, it didn’t pan out the way we wanted it to. In the MSL, we got beat out in the first round, so that kind of shortened my season up more than it normally is. The time we spent in Israel was also amazing. That was an experience that I’ll never forget. It was actually one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to. The championships were good. It was just a ton of lacrosse.
How cool was it getting to represent your nation halfway across the world?
People ask me this question a lot. Whenever you put on the Iroquois Nationals jersey, whether it’s even in practice or trying out, it means something because it’s much more than lacrosse. You’re representing people before you, the people that are watching now, and it’s amazing. That’s one of the things I really hold dear to me is playing for much more than the game when it comes to playing for the Iroquois Nationals. It was an awesome experience.
Get set | Photo Credit: Kyle Hess
You add to all that fatherhood. How is it being a first-time dad?
That’s amazing, right? If I come home from a win or if I come home from a loss, her mood never changes, and it’s one of the most awesome things that I get to come home to, because she doesn’t care. (Laughing) It’s awesome. I get to spend all my time with her and watch her grow. It’s actually very special, and I’m enjoying it a lot.
Let’s touch on last season a little bit. Looking back on it, what was your biggest takeaway from the 2017-18 Swarm season?
Our slow starts. I feel like we had a couple slow starts last year. I think when you jump right out of the gate and play the way we can play for a whole sixty rather than thirty minutes or a quarter, I think we’ll be much more effective. I just feel like that’s the biggest takeaway in my eyes is our slow starts. Sometimes you get down and try to claw your way back out and do it, but I think if we just put a full sixty together throughout the whole 18 games, we’ll be in good shape.
Chi (Swarm assistant coach Sean Ferris) was telling me how hard you’re hitting the gym. What’s the work you put in during the offseason?
After my full season’s over with all the leagues, I take probably a week off, and then I kind of rejuvenate my body. Then I get back into the gym, and I hit it pretty hard every day. I try to do my cardio, follow a pretty strict regimen that my trainer has set up for me. I just try and get it done and stay healthy. I’ve been doing a lot of stretching this season. We’ll see how that works out for me.
Let’s jump over to draft night. Did you get to watch it and see your brother, Austin, being selected first overall by San Diego?
Yeah, I did, actually. I watched the first couple rounds. It was pretty awesome to see how happy he was. I talked to him in the morning before it happened. He was talking about how nervous he was and all this stuff. I was happy to see him go first. He’s going to be a tough match.
You’re excited for it though, right?
Yeah, I’m thrilled. I don’t think we’ve ever played against each other in a competitive match. We’ve always been on the same team. I guess the backyard doesn’t count, or I guess it counts. We play against each other back there. I’m excited for him, he’s excited, my whole family’s excited. We play (San Diego) later on in the season and in Georgia. I think the whole family’s coming down for that one. It’s going to be something special.
Never stop battling | Photo Credit: Kyle HEss
What’d you think of how the Swarm did in the draft?
Getting a player like (Holden) Cattoni is huge for us. It definitely gives us an outside threat. He’s got a rocket of a shot. Playing against him for the past couple years in Junior A and MSL, I’ve seen him play a lot, and he’s scored a lot of goals. I like the way he plays, and I’m excited to meet him and get that going.
As far as the draftees go, I thought it was an awesome draft. We picked Brendan Bomberry first, and I played with him in Junior and I played with him with the Chiefs. I’ve known him for quite a while now. He’s a good player. He’s kind of like a utility player. He can play up on offense, he can play defense, transition. He’s definitely a good pickup for us. I’m excited to see all these guys at Training Camp on November 2.
There’s going to be a ton of new faces in Training Camp when you include the free agent signings, too. Does that give the whole thing an extra layer of excitement?
Yeah. There’s always spots open, you know what I mean? You’re always playing for your job. I feel like Training Camp is always competitive. It’s not going to be an easy Training Camp, you know; it never really is. We’re going to be competing for three weekends in a row, and we’ll see what happens from there. It’s definitely a tough three weeks. There’s no easy way around it.
What are your expectations for the upcoming season, for yourself and for the team?
To win the NLL Cup.
Excellent. Short and simple, I love it.
(Laughing) No, I mean, I think that’s everybody’s goal, right? It doesn’t come as easy as I say. It comes with a lot of hard work and a lot of dedication both on the field and off the field with the homework that we get sent to us and being in the gym, staying with our stick in our hands, and doing all that stuff. That’s my expectation, is for us to be accountable week in and week out until we are hoisting that trophy, hopefully.
My expectation for this season is just to do what I can do, try to keep doing what I’ve been doing, set picks, getting off the floor, doing all the things the coaches ask me to do. Hopefully, I can do a little bit more than that, too. I want to do whatever I can to help the team to win.
When you play against Austin, does that mean you’ll play some defense, too, square up one-on-one with him?
(Laughing) I’ll be a liability back there. I don’t know if Chi or Eddie would want me running out the back door. If it happens, it happens, and I’ll have to shut him down.
Staying loose and laughing | Photo Credit: Kyle Hess
Best movie you’ve seen recently?
Cheat day treat?
Favorite sports team?
Georgia Swarm, Toronto Maple Leafs.
Star player in any other sport, what would it be?
Least favorite exercise?
Favorite tattoo you have?
That’s tough, because they all mean something to me. I like them all.
Best lacrosse memory?
Winning the Champion’s Cup was pretty amazing. That’s definitely up there. Probably me getting accepted into Syracuse was one of my most accomplished, fulfilling things that I’ve done in my lacrosse career.
Season Tickets for the Swarm’s 2018-19 season are On Sale Now! Season Ticket packages include 10 games (nine regular season games and one postseason game) and a handful of VIP benefits. Join Sting City by reserving your membership today by calling 844-4-GASWARM.