Shooting from the Hip with Max Pomper
Senior midfielder Max Pomper and the Virginia men’s lacrosse program open up its season on Saturday at Drexel at 1 p.m. Pomper, a native of Huntington, N.Y., recently caught up with VirginiaSports.com to chat about the upcoming season, along with questions about his final year at UVa, the 2006 UVa national championship squad, UVa’s philanthropy and some of his favorite spots in Charlottesville.
Question: We are on the eve of your final collegiate lacrosse season. What type of feelings are you going through?
Pomper: I think my sense of urgency is a lot greater than it has been. As opposed to any other season opener because this is my last go around. I am excited for the opportunity to have another year at UVa and I am excited to be opening up against Drexel on Saturday.
Question: Even though you were hurt, you are the only member of the 2006 NCAA Championship squad left. What did you learn from that experience and how do you parlay that to this group of guys who are all working hard for the next UVa national championship?
Pomper: I think the most important thing about that season was I was around a group of seniors that were 100 percent dedicated to the cause here. There really was no way anyone was stopping those guys of obtaining their ultimate goal of winning a national championship. With that said – I know what it takes to bring that focus to practice day in and day out. I have tried to instill that on every team I have been on here. I think guys look to me and ask me questions about the 2006 team and “what made them so special and why were they so great?” – And it really was how they approached every practice every single day here at Virginia. They didn’t waste a day and I am hopping we can do the same.
Question: You mentioned the guys on this team – because you redshirted your first year after getting hurt early in the season, you get to team up with your brother Brian for one more year. What is it like to play at UVa alongside of your brother?
Pomper: It is amazing! I thank Dom (Starsia) for the opportunity to allow Brian the chance to play here with me. It was one of the reasons I chose to come back after graduating last year so I could play with Brian one more year. He is a great kid and also plays defensive midfield – so I am proud to say I am mentoring him a little bit and trying to show him the ropes. He is coming a long way and I enjoy watching him succeed and do well here and I hope he has big thing in store for him at Virginia and it’s an honor to play with and alongside him.
Question: So you would love the chance to play side-by-side at defensive midfield on “Senior Day” against Robert Morris?
Pomper: Oh yeah and next year I will come back for the Alumni Game I will make sure to play some offense so I can get it going against him up top and see if he can crosscheck me.
Question: Transitioning to your efforts off the field – you were awarded with the 2009 IMLCA Boston Market Humanitarian Award for orchestrating the Will Barrow Memorial Flag Football Tournament to raise money for UVa’s HELP Hotline. Talk about the influences inside and outside the program that helped your desire for philanthropy.
Pomper: I think Dom (Starsia) always instilled in us to step outside the box of being just a UVa lacrosse player. I have always embraced meeting people throughout the community and I feel that we are given so much and fortunate to play here that we should give back to the community. I like to donate my time working at the ACE Program (mentoring local elementary school students) and doing lacrosse clinics for young kids around the Charlottesville area, because I feel lacrosse provides great opportunity for the kids to get an education come college time. I enjoy meeting new people and philanthropy is a good way to do that.
Question: You are in the midst of your fifth year in Charlottesville, let’s get an idea of some of the Max Pomper haunts – lets start with first Saturday after fall ball ends – what are you doing?
Pomper: I am going down to North Carolina and the Outer Banks with George Huguely and all my buddies were we stay at a beach house.
Question: Doing any fishing?
Pomper: Doing some fishing … yeah definitely a lot of fishing.
Question: Favorite local restaurant?
Pomper: I like the Downtown Grille where I get the filet mignon, with a wedge of iceberg lettuce with blue cheese and Roquefort on the side.
Question: It’s a night game and UVa wins – what is your go to meal?
Pomper: Mellow Mushroom Pizza
Question: Have you made it up to visit Monticello?
Pomper: Never been to Monticello – nor have I ever been in the Rotunda. I am looking to get in the Rotunda and see what is going on in there. I heard there are a lot of cool things in there.
Question: Who is the guy on the team that makes you laugh the most?
Pomper: My brother Brian is the biggest practical joker – I always get a kick out of what he has to say at Saturday morning practices.
Question: Best practical joke you have seen Brian do?
Pomper: His Garett Ince impression is pretty incredible. He will call friends of Garett’s and pretend he is him – its classic.
Question: To close, what type of memories will you take with you from Virginia?
Pomper: I will always cherish every moment I had at Klöckner Stadium and playing in that environment in front of the Charlottesville fans and in front of my family – that is something I will never forget. Playing for Coach Starsia and Coach Van Arsdale has been an honor. I consider myself very lucky to play at the University of Virginia. I have also really enjoyed meeting the Alumni and the people connected to the program. It has been such a privilege to be part of it.