From the Cutting Room Floor:
When the September edition of Lacrosse Magazine drops in mailboxes later this month, Uganda, not world champion Canada, will be on the cover.
Why not put Canada on the cover? You would do that if USA won, right?
The question came from a colleague here at US Lacrosse. And it was one the magazine staff tussled with until deadline. Uganda, after all, finished in 34th place in the FIL World Championship. Would we be perceived as slighting Canada in favor of a feel-good story?
Here's how I responded to my colleague:
"It's a better cover. The Uganda portrait is a powerful, proud, colorful, well-lit and crisp image that could accommodate an attention-grabbing headline. We had some OK shots of Canada we considered, but they lacked originality.
"It's a bigger story. We touch on this inside the magazine, but it's not shocking that Canada won or that the U.S. lost. It's not some monumental upset or big-time breakthrough. Going back to 2006, the series is tied 3-3. That's just the nature of this rivalry now. On top of that, the gold medal game was rather anticlimactic. So I asked the question, 'What will be the lasting legacy of this event?' To me, it's Uganda, specifically, and more broadly, the international prominence of an event that drew a record 38 nations.
"It has mass appeal. Our Uganda coverage was our best-performing content on LaxMagazine.com and in social media.
"It's different. A cover like this has the potential to stop someone in his or her tracks and, like you, think, 'Why did they put Uganda on the cover?' Or even, 'Uganda has lacrosse?' An action or celebration shot of Canada would be white noise come September.
"It was important to me that if we moved forward with Uganda that Canada got some form of recognition on the cover. We included a photo with callout to the story on Dillon Ward, which is very good.
"We would have had this same debate if Team USA won. Would the outcome have been the same? I can't say for sure. I'm sure there would have been a lot of pressure to put the U.S. on the cover. In this case, Uganda's triumph in getting to Denver was more impressive than anything that transpired on the field."
Below you'll find five rough mock-ups of alternative covers we considered. (Click to enlarge and launch the photo player.)
What do you think? Did we make the right choice? Sound off in the comments. We are gluttons for punishment.