Curtis Dickson continues to impress in his second NLL season.
It’s a bird, it’s a plane, no it’s Curtis Dickson?
The 23-year-old is often seen flying through the air prior to landing the ball in the net. These trademark goals have earned him the nickname of “Superman.”
It only seems appropriate that Dickson would lean toward a life of fighting crime as he aspires to be a police officer.
"You get to go out and help people and do good for the community day-in and day-out,” explained Dickson, who already has a degree in Criminal Justice under his belt. “It's one of those feel good jobs and though it's not the safest job in the world, somebody's got to do it and I think I fit the bill and have the right personality."
Growing up with family members in the line of duty, these influences played a significant role when deciding his career path. His father, recently retired, worked in the New Westminster police force for almost 30 years while his uncle is an officer in Vancouver.
“It kind of runs in the family and has been my dream ever since I was a young kid.”
Dickson plans to begin the application process when the current NLL season wraps up. For now, he will continue to put up impressive numbers in his second season with the Calgary Roughnecks after coming off a breakout rookie campaign.
"It was such a huge honour to be named Rookie of the Year in the top professional league in pro lacrosse,” said Dickson when asked about his response to being named the 2011 NLL Rookie of the Year.
“I learned so much last year, playing against the best players in the world and learning the type of player you need to be in order to be successful,” commented Dickson on his rookie season.
Dickson was acquired by Calgary as a first round draft pick, third overall, in the 2010 NLL Entry Draft. While Dickson acknowledges it was nerve-racking entering into his first season, the pressure was lessened by accumulated experiences on his lacrosse resume.
"I had a season in the WLA (Western Lacrosse Association) under my belt so I had played against some of the tough competition that I would also see in the NLL,” explained Dickson, who plays summer lacrosse with the Maple Ridge Burrards.
Last season, Dickson collected a total of 52 points (33g, 19a) over 16 regular season games with the Riggers. He also tallied 5 points, along with a game winning goal, over two playoff contests.
Entering into 2012, the potential sophomore slump hung over the head of the Roughnecks forward. However Dickson’s confidence was bolstered by a successful training camp and belief in his teammates.
“There are such talented players around me, bringing in a guy like Shawn Evans to help out on the right side as well has done nothing but help my game to be able to play with an experienced guy like that,” said Dickson of his counterpart who was acquired by the Roughnecks in an offseason trade with Rochester.
“They are key components to my success on the floor and the coaching staff is the same way, they are the best in the league at what they do and they definitely help me out a ton both on and off the floor."
The Port Coquitlam, BC native has taken his second year by storm, averaging nearly 4 points per game, with 56 over 15 games played. He has collected at least a hat trick on six separate occasions this season, with a career-high seven points on March 9th against the Edmonton Rush.
Dickson has certainly made a name for himself as a relentless forward on the floor and his nickname circulating off the turf certainly reinforces this. Known for his gravity-defying cross crease goals, the designation has found its way onto Twitter, Facebook and across the PA system.
Much like everything else, Dickson treats the nickname with a sense of pride.
"Having the nickname 'Superman' has got to be a good thing. All the other pro athletes with the nickname Superman are pretty good at what they do,” said Dickson, in reference to other professional athletes such as Shaquille O’Neal, Sam Fuld, Dwight Howard among others who have earned the handle.
"They say what your eyes can't see your stick can. When your diving into the crease, you know you are basically right on top of the net so you can put the ball wherever you need to. It just gives you more options, I don't try and do it every time,” further details Dickson.
General Manager Mike Board recognizes the talent required to be successful at scoring these markers, "It's pure athletics and Curtis is one of the best in the business at it. They are great to watch, something the fans look forward to every time he gets in a position to attempt the superman goal,"
As for the pain threshold required for these leaps of faith, Dickson says it is all relative.
“You don't really feel it at the time, especially if the ball goes into the net,” he says with a laugh, “The adrenaline is pumping when you score a goal but after the game you get some nice turf burn on your knees and on your elbows and that definitely stings. I think I've kind of become immune to it now, just throw on a little Polysporin afterwards and keep going."
However, Dickson is anything but a one-dimensional player as Board acknowledges,"Curtis has a lot of facets to his game. He can shoot from the outside. He can duck inside and score. He has quick feet and excellent hands which makes him a threat both with and without the ball. One-on-one he has moves, making it tough for players to defend. This season we have seen him score when he has been double-teamed. His all-around athletic ability means he can beat teams in so many ways — with his shot, with a drive down the alley, in transition or an isolation play where he goes one-on-one to the net."
This well-rounded emerging lacrosse star credits time spent on the University of Delaware field lacrosse team under reputable coach, Bob Shillinglaw, for much of his personal development.
“Learning the American field lacrosse game as a whole definitely helps your game. You want to bring in other aspects, insights never hurts your game. It was a huge attribution to myself."
In addition to molding his lacrosse style, playing with the University of Delaware’s Blue Hens led Dickson to one of his career highlights. During his freshman year of college lacrosse, Dickson was a member of the most successful field lacrosse squad in school history. For the first time ever, the No. 15 ranked Blue Hen’s landed themselves in the NCAA Final Four. Despite the outcome, the experience of playing in the national semi-final in front of over 52,000 fans at Baltimore’s M&T Stadium is something he’ll never forget.
"Obviously it was disappointing losing but every college lacrosse player's dream growing up is getting to play in a Final Four and a chance to win a National Championship. That's definitely the number one highlight of my college career,” commented Dickson, who was named a starter for the Final Four matchup and ended up tallying a goal in the 8-3 loss to the Johns Hopkins Blue Jays.
For the budding lacrosse player with dreams of working their way up to the professional level, Dickson has straightforward advice.
“Keep a stick in your hands at all times. Nothing will make you a better player than practice will."
En route to a second successful NLL campaign, it is safe to say there is no kryptonite holding back this "Superman."