Queener gives fans a thrill

Gary Pinneo
The August 2009 cover of Inside Lacrosse

The game of lacrosse has always been Brett Queener’s love and passion.  Of course this might be expected when you grow up in a family where lacrosse is part of your heritage. Brett’s father Harry and mother Patty both coach high school lacrosse at Penn Yan Academy. 

His sisters Sarah and Sylvia and brother Brice have all excelled in the game in high school and college. Brett began his high school varsity lacrosse career in the eighth grade. He helped propel the Orange and Blue to a New York State championship in 2001. After high school, Brett had a very successful collegiate lacrosse career at Herkimer Community College and the University of Albany.

But his main goal in life was to play professional lacrosse. 

Last year he reached his initial goal when he was drafted by the M.L.L. Rochester Rattlers. Brett helped the Rattlers win the league title that summer as their back-up goalie. 

Last winter Brett honed his talents by playing indoor lacrosse with the Boston Blazers, not as a goalie, but as an attackman. The Rochester Rattlers moved their franchise to Toronto last fall. They picked up Brett’s contract to play back-up goalie again. But Brett was prepared to try and take his professional game to another level. His skill was going to be a major component, but it was his energetic personality that was going to put him on top.

He rapidly became a star for the Toronto Nationals because of his gifted talents. But there was more room to rise as a professional player. Because of his electric personality and his flamboyant, on the edge style of play, Brett has turned himself into a fan favorite in Toronto and throughout the entire league.  A sort of “Brettamania” has happened.  He has effectively become the darling of the fans, the young, new face of the league. He is loving this. 

Brett has earned plenty of publicity over the last few months. He created the “Queener Cam” to chronicle the activities in his life. It is a regular feature on Inside Lacrosse TV and also had a feature in their print publication, including a cover picture. 

Brett teaches youngsters how to play goalie and is in big demand.  He travels all over the country to give budding lacrosse goalies personalized lessons.  With his sky-rocketing success, Brett earned a spot on “The Young Guns” team in this year’s M.L.L. All-star game at Invesco Field in Denver.

Last week at the All-star event, Brett won the Freestyle Skills Competition. This event couples lacrosse playing skills with a huge dose of showmanship and fan entertainment. Personality is a key component in this competition. Of course, this is right up young Mr. Queener’s alley.

Brett competed with two other performers. Click here to see a video of his freestyle performance.

In this event, the contestants have two chances to wow the crowd and the judges with their performances.  Brett, on this night, was at the top of his total game. Before a wildly cheering crowd at the stadium and a national television audience, he put on quite a show.

His first performance featured him entering the stadium riding a John Deere Gator with his stick and “Queener Cam” in hand. After a couple of spins around the field on the tractor to get the crowd cranked up, Brett headed toward the goalie, twirling his stick as he went. As the vehicle turned to the right , Brett  flipped and twirled his stick,  leaped into the air and dove like a bird toward the goal, neatly firing a shot between the goalie’s legs. The crowd was in a frenzy with his move. But this was just a warm-up. The main show  was yet to come.

Queener sealed the deal with his second and last shot of the night.  With the crowd abuzz,  wondering what his next move would be, the stadium public address speakers startedblaring out Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”  Brett suddenly appeared from a crowd of players wearing one glove ala the recently departed “King of Pop.” With the music blaring and the crowd at a fever pitch, Brett’s electric personality really took over. 

He began to do Michael Jackson’s “Thriller Dance.”  This went on for a few minutes until he turned and moved toward the goal, doing a series of stick twirls and tricks  stopping just short of the crease as the perplexed goalie looked on. 

With the crowd roar increasing, Queener “moon walked” into a backbreaker shot, sending the ball past the goalie into the net. His act was complete. The show was a major success. The crowd went wild. It was a landslide win. A new  freestyle   skills champion was crowned. Brett Queener, the professional lacrosse player, league personality, and “showman” had arrived in earnest on the big stage.

It is always nice to see a person achieve their goals and dreams. But not to be lost in this is the hard work and determination it takes to succeed in this tough world. Brett Queener has developed himself into a fine professional lacrosse player and showman. After all, that is what all professional sports is about, entertaining the public.

Many years ago when I worked in the restaurant business for a national chain, we had a  sirloin steak  on the menu called   “The Super Sizzler.”  It got its name because it was served on a super heated, metal platter. The steak would loudly sizzle as the server would deliver it to the customer’s table. The sizzle was so loud that all of the diners in the room would turn and look as the platter went by. I was taught back then that this was part of selling a product. Everyone expects the product to be prime, but it is the sizzle that really  sells. Young Brett Queener certainly understands this principle.