It must be a wild feeling when you realize that you were apart of someones master plan all along. I wouldn’t know, at least not yet, because it’s an honor bestowed upon few.
However, in this instance Georgia Swarm owner and General Manager, John Arlotta had Jordan MacIntosh pegged for team captain all along.
On a Friday night in Gwinnett County, Georgia, the Swarm assembled for a low key celebration. John, along with his son Andy and most of the 2017 NLL Champions Cup team were in attendance, preparing to receive their championship rings.
Prior to calling up the captains, who would proceeded to shell out the hardware to their peers, John told a story about how he had always planned on MacIntosh being the captain of his franchise. John saw Jordan as a leader, a franchise cornerstone and, maybe even more importantly, an overall great guy.
“(I was) pretty shocked to be honest.” MacIntosh told NLL.com on being named captain at the start of the 2016 season.
“It was our first year that we moved here (to Georgia), we had traded our captain from the year prior, Andrew Suitor, and then the captain that came back in was Callum Crawford and he signed with Colorado in the off season. So I had no idea what was going to happen.”
But it wasn’t something that he was vying for entering training camp three years ago. MacIntosh is not the Tracy Flick type. Meaning he’s not going to suck up, kiss the booty or do anything outside of himself to win the favour of the Swarm brass.
He is however vocal when he hits the floor and that aspect of his personality was present long before captaincy was on the table. Being himself was more than enough and John was finally able to fulfill his self imposed prophecy, by awarding MacIntosh the captains crest.
After he got the news MacIntosh made the obligatory calls to his parents and then girlfriend, now wife, Emily. He then reached out to his college coach, Jake Coon.
Coon coached MacIntosh at RIT for two years after he transferred over from Gordon College and opting not to give MacIntosh any additional responsibility by way of a letter on the left. And it was a decision that didn’t meet any resistance, because by his own estimation, MacIntosh’s wait for the C emblem was kind of self imposed.
“I was a good player, I just didn’t apply myself.”
Elaborating, MacIntosh said, “In terms of getting into the gym and really being a good example for freshman (I didn’t do that) and I think that was a reason I was never named captain.”
Once MacIntosh spoke to Coon, that’s exactly what coach reiterated. “That was the biggest thing he kind of talked to me about. Making sure everything that you do, (understand) people are looking up to you. You need to lead by example.
“So I’ve taken that to heart. Little things, like getting to the arena early, making sure you’re on time, submit things to the front office if they need stuff… Little things like that that really go along way in setting an example.”
But it wasn’t just front office/bench boss advice he was seeking. MacIntosh spoke with Rochester Knighthawks defenseman and fellow Oakville native, Dan Dawson.
Dawson put things into a different context. Explaining that being the captain means there is an added level of responsibility.
“You’re kind of in charge of having the pulse of the team,” MacIntosh reiterated Dawson’s advice back to me, “Being that conduit between the coaching staff and the players and (if we’re going through struggles) knowing what’s going on within the core of the team (so) that we can maybe fix it.”
That’s not always an easy task, gaining the trust of both sides of the business present different sets of challenges but that’s where these relationships, that nearly every captain in this series has talked about, come into play.
You may not be best friends with every one of your teammates. Humans just aren’t programmed like that, but what you can certainly do, especially in a team setting, is understand who the person across from you is and where they come from.
“Ya, it wasn’t easy,” MacIntosh said.
“I guess the best example of this was getting to know Lyle and Miles (Thompson). When they first came in (they) were just really quiet. I had to learn that about them. So that was the biggest thing. I can get along with guys like Crep (Alex Crepinsek) who I’ve grown up with my whole life, I know I’m going to get along with him but really, you know, going to breakfast with them (the Thompson brothers), having lunch with them, sitting beside them on the bus… things like that just to kind of build that relationship (was a priority).”
But MacIntosh takes it further than regular pleasantries and the odd meal. Just popping in on game say won’t suffice.
“Getting to know about them outside of the weekends that we spend together (is important). I think when you show interest in that kind of stuff people really start to open up. And it’s funny with them now, Lyle doesn’t shut up!”
Whether or not the Georgia Swarm are able to contend for a second straight Champions Cup this year won’t be the determining factor on the effectiveness of Jordan MacIntosh as a captain for this team. I’ve seen first hand not only what this team means to him, but what he means to them and quite frankly MacIntosh is a quintessential leader in more ways than he’ll give himself credit for.