Preston Burbidge and the Wave that Polarized a Lacrosse Community

Preston Burbidge, a Utah native, played a season at Westminster and served a two-year mission trip in Tallahassee, Fla. before joining Utah Valley.


Preston Burbidge battled through the first half of Utah Valley’s home matchup with Simon Fraser  — one that ended with the score at 3-3. It wasn’t the most exciting half of lacrosse this season, but it was a big game for the Wolverines to prove they belonged among the top teams in the MCLA’s Division I.

Utah Valley got a spark shortly after halftime. Burbidge, a middie, watched as his goalie made a “killer” save and launched the ball to him in transition. He caught the ball and proceeded into Simon Fraser’s half of the field, where he met a defenseman anticipating the meeting.

“I saw the player that was coming at me, so I was going to make a roll dodge, and he tried to throw a rusty gate, so I stopped midway,” Burbidge said.

The move, although not pre-meditated, was executed to perfection. The defender lost his balance and fell to the ground. What happened next took just seconds, but would be talked about for days afterward.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Ciarán Giroux (@kiywii) on

A move, a wave and a goal — with a few “ohs” mixed in.

With a clear lane to goal, Burbidge released a blast that found the left side of the cage. Burbidge ignited the crowd, which was situated just feet off the sideline. His teammates huddled around him to celebrate, and he continued along the sideline with chest bumps to a handful of teammates.

It was the spark Utah Valley needed to coast to a big win. They scored nine of 10 goals in the second half to emerge with a 13-4 victory. Lost in the attention the win garnered was the fact that Ciaran Giroux, a local videographer, captured it all.

The video above, captured by Giroux, became a viral sensation within the lacrosse community. Within hours, it captured the attention of the nation. Millions of sports fans, not just lacrosse fans, shared the video and joined in the excitement surrounding Burbidge’s goal.

Here are the latest view counts for Burbidge’s highlights.

Instagram

House of Highlights: 1,947,483
Barstool Sports: 2,885,006

Twitter 

SportsCenter: 1.4 million
Bleacher Report: 506,000
Barstool Sports: 3.7 million
House of Highlights: 121,000

“It’s a kid’s dream come true,” he said of the attention he received. “You play in the backyard, imagining the crowd going wild. It’s happening in the digital age for me.”

The same can be said for Giroux, who situated himself among the fans who lined the sidelines in Orem, Utah. The proximity of the fans to the field forced Giroux into an angle he seldom used — but it worked out for him in the end.

He fixed his lens of Burbidge, a Utah native who played a season at Division II Westminster before a two-year mission trip. The middie turned on the brakes and sent his defender to the ground. Then, Giroux saw the wave. 







“As soon as the wave happened, I was thinking in my head ‘Man, I hope he scores this. That would be awesome if he rips it right now,’” Giroux said. “And he did just that. A lot of the times as a filmmaker you hope for things to happen, and you’ll be in the right place at the right time, but a lot of time it doesn’t line up. For whatever reason, the stars aligned.”

The wave, the most engaging moment in the highlight, became a polarizing topic among lacrosse fanatics on social media. As the video began its viral ascent, coaches and players praised the move. However, others weren’t as receptive to it.

Giroux, who played lacrosse at Southern Virginia, texted Burbidge as the video hit the limelight.

“'Just so you know, I didn't think it was disrespectful,'” he told Burbidge. “'I played four years of college lacrosse and I know you’re not a bad guy. Don’t take what anyone is saying too seriously.'”

Burbidge wasn't sure how or why he decided to wave as he was passing the defender. It was an in-the-moment decision. He’s an avid NBA fan and watches as names like James Harden and Kyrie Irving execute similar moves.

“I definitely think [NBA players were] an influence on the move, so I can't take credit for it,” he joked. “I don’t have much to defend [the move] other than the fact that I just had my personality come out a little bit. Nothing against the guy I did it toward. I don’t think it’s a show of what kind of sportsman I am, it’s just me having fun and a little flair in the game of lacrosse, which I’ve always had an appreciation for.”

He also got plenty of support.

For Burbidge, the sophomore political science major, he sees the video as all in good fun. He’s enjoyed watching internet accounts turn the move into memes and gifs. He’s just happy to have put Utah Valley, and the state itself as it relates to lacrosse, in the limelight for a short time.

“The Utah lacrosse scene is hot right now,” he said. “With University of Utah, it’s grown a lot in our backyard. There’s a lot of kids that are talented enough to play at the next level. We’re trying to get lacrosse to be a center point of Utah. We’re trying to do that here at Utah Valley, as well, trying to get people excited to come to games and get the hype going again.”

If only for a few hours, he certainly had the pulse of a nation with just one play. He’ll take it.

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