Shooting from the Hip with Mikey Thompson
Senior midfielder Mikey Thompson and the No. 1 Virginia men’s lacrosse program battle No. 2 North Carolina on Saturday, at 4 p.m., at the New Meadowlands in East Rutherford, N.J. Thompson, a native of Richmond, Va., recently caught up with VirginiaSports.com to chat about North Carolina, playing the first event in the New Meadowlands and being a part of UVa lacrosse.
Question: You played high school ball with North Carolina’s Michael Jarvis at Richmond’s Collegiate School. Now you are both senior captains, what is it like to be playing a game like this when its No. 1 vs. No. 2?
Thompson: It is going to be a really cool experience. We have always looked forward to getting a chance to play against one another, and it is going to be a great atmosphere. I think we are going to have a great crowd, and I never would have imagined that in our senior years we would be the number one and two teams. We should have a lot of our friends there and a great crowd from Richmond is coming to watch us play.
Question: How about having this game in the historic opening of the New Meadowlands?
Thompson: It’s great. They couldn’t have asked for a better set-up with the top four teams playing and two strong CAA clubs. I don’t think they ever expected to have the No. 1 versus the No. 2 or the No. 3 versus the No. 4, so that should be two really good games. It will be awesome to be a part of the first team ever to play in there.
Question: It is said that the lacrosse fraternity is like a family – in your case that is really true as you follow your grandfather Wardlaw Thompson’s footsteps as a captain at UVa. Tell us about that honor.
Thompson: It is great. My grandfather was one of the first people I told when I found out. He was really excited about that. He has always instilled in me the values that the Virginia lacrosse program pushes every day. I just try to do what I can every day. I know he and the rest of my family is watching, and they are a big part of what has driven me in this program.
Question: UVa is No. 1 with a 10-0 record just like you were this time last season. As a senior captain, what have you and the rest of your class done in order to finish the business of winning it all?
Thompson: We have had a few more team meetings this year than in the past. We emphasize taking whatever steps necessary. Whether that is on the field or off, we stress the importance of every single day we have together to get better. When it comes down to it at the end of the season, it’s the little things that make the difference between a win and a loss. “Do whatever it takes” has been our motto, and the only things that matters to us right now is to be there on that last day standing there with the trophy. We have such a sense of urgency. Our whole senior class is so hungry to get it done this year. We know that every class since 1996 has gotten a ring besides us, so that is driving us. We have all wanted it our whole life, and now we have six or seven more weeks to do whatever it takes to get it.
Question: Growing up in Richmond, how easy was it to pick UVa to continue your lacrosse career?
Thompson: It was always pretty easy for me. When you come to lacrosse games at Klöckner Stadium, you see how many young lacrosse players there are from Richmond that are big fans of Virginia lacrosse. I was definitely one of those kids back in the day, and it was not too hard of a decision when coach gave me the option to come here.
Question: With you extensive Charlottesville experience, what are the top hangouts on your list?
Thompson: Most of the older guys hang out at our apartment complex this year. Other than that, we hang out at Bodo’s Bagels a lot, or Mellow Mushroom. We spend a lot of time just playing video games over at our apartment complex.
Question: With all the time you seem to spend with each other off the field, talk about the chemistry and camaraderie you have built.
Thompson: It’s great. We have three apartments that form a small complex, so it basically feels like a small house. For the past two years we have had our group of senior guys living in that area, and we really cherish every day we spend together knowing we have to part ways next year.
Question: Spring Break is always during lacrosse season. Say you can take the weather spring breakers experience on trips and transport it to a week off after the conclusion of fall ball. What and where are you going?
Thompson: Well George Huguely has a house in the Outer Banks, which we have been going to for the past few fall breaks, and a couple times in the summer. We always have a good time down there, and if we had a whole week to spend down there it would be a great time. My sister lives in Hatteras, which is part of the Outer Banks, and sometimes I have been known to head down to visit her on random weekends. I have always had a love for the beach so sometimes I’ll drive all six hours by myself just for one good day at the beach. My dad and grandfather got me into surfing when I was really young.
Question: Where is your favorite swell?
Thompson: I spent two weeks in Costa Rica in the summer and surfed every day.
Question: Is it safe to say you enjoy beach attire?
Thompson: I usually don’t wear much besides tees shirts and flip-flops. It is hard to get me to dress up very often.
Question: Closing in on your final few months at UVa – what are your favorite or fondest memories?
Thompson: Every day that we get to put on the uniform and play at Klöckner. We treat the past players like heroes, and whenever we get to run out in front of the big crowd, play with your best friends, and get a win – there is nothing better. There is no place to play in the country that matches Klöckner on a nice day.