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The Games of the XXX Olympiad -- The Most Hardcore Olympiad EverTM -- is starting over in London is just about a month. It's an exciting time for Great Britain, playing host to the world's most diverse sporting event and having the opportunity to show everyone what London has to offer (like its cuisine -- boiled everything). While London 2012 will offer tons of athletic events -- 26 sports are represented in 39 disciplines -- there is something missing: Lacrosse.
This, of course, makes writing a piece about one's favorite Olympic moment a little difficult when the underlying game isn't even included on the event calendar. (Yet, two gold medals will be awarded in rhythmic gymnastics. Seriously. Medals for playing with a ribbon.) However, as I am a professional writer, a silly little thing like "Content unrelated" isn't going to stop me from writing stuff on the Internet with my Internet computing machine. No way, man.
You see, back before Internet computing machines were things, lacrosse was actually a sanctioned Olympic sport. It's true! In 1904 and 1908, the Summer Olympics actually gave out medals for slinging the bean. Canada took home top honors in each Olympiad, with the United States taking the silver in 1904 (Canada also won the bronze that year) and Great Britain taking the sliver in 1908 (the U.S. didn't compete in 1908). Lacrosse was then shut out of the Summer Olympics -- those organizers were first-rate jerkfaces -- until 1928 when it arrived again as a demonstration event.
And that's when college lacrosse put its grimy hands all over the Olympics.
In 1928 and 1932, the United States sent Johns Hopkins' men's team to Amsterdam and Los Angeles, respectively, to represent the country as its lacrosse outfit. The Blue Jays spit the bit in '28 against Canada and Great Britain, but "won" the "tournament" in '32 against those head flappers from north of the International Boundary. That's right: Johns Hopkins lacrosse is an Olympic champion (sort of), one of the few collegiate outfits to ever win something (sort of) at an Olympiad.
Lacrosse was excluded from the 1936 games but returned in 1948 as, again, a demonstration event. The United States chose Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute to wear the nation's colors in London. There were only two participants in the demonstration event -- the United States and Great Britain -- and because Uncle Sam didn't want to embarrass the bulldogs in Wembley, the game ended in a 5-5 draw. Which is just dumb.
Anyway, that was the last time that lacrosse was ever contested at an Olympiad (either as a sanctioned or demonstrated event). In its five appearances, a fully-constructed college lacrosse team has represented the United States three times, which is kind of rare and interesting. While lacrosse is hoping to get itself back into an Olympiad as a sanctioned event (which appears unlikely unless the International Olympic Committee severely reverses course on its events lists), it won't -- even if it finds inclusion -- match the cold hilarity of how the United States historically went about picking its representative participants: "Who's good? Aw, hell. I don't have time for this, picking out different names and the such. Just send the whole damn team."
Those were great days, I tell you.
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