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A Complete History of College Lacrosse (Abridged)


I'm working on a book about the history of college lacrosse. It's going to sell -- approximately -- 100 bazillion copies. I feel fairly confident in that fact. As I'm a super nice guy, I'm going to share with you an abridgement of my research, partly because some of this stuff is too explosive to sit as a draft on my editor's desk and partly because knowledge is power.1

~ 2.6 Million Years Ago: Disheveled cavemen fashion a tool in the Paleolithic era: a simple stick with a leafy bin on the end to throw meat from the ground to their unkempt Cavewives up in their cave. They depict their successful throws with ragged drawings within their cave, simple illustrations of their athletic feats. Anthropologists will discover this many years later and note this as the first existence of "lax flow."

~ 2.5999 Million Years Ago: Unkempt cavewives insist that their cavemen cut their "lax flow." Disheveled cavemen defer, citing the "freshness" of how their "lax flow" looks under the wolf heads that they wear for protection from Paleolithic predators. This is all done in cave grunts, though, because language hadn't been invented yet.2

~ 30 B.C.-1 A.D.: Jesus Christ headlines the sandals movement. The footwear becomes Christ's -- and the Middle East's -- preferred choice of footwear when not "cannin' the bean against Pontius Pilate's scrubs." Despite the transition of lacrosse to North America -- and its significantly colder climates in many regions of the country where the game would become popular -- the sandals tradition remains.

~ 400-1400: Early European intellectual societies begin playing lacrosse against each other to prove and disprove philosophical theorems.3 These are the first recorded instances of institutions of higher learning attempting to prove their superiority in academic pursuit through lacrosse. Modern anthropologists have made initial determinations that this is one of the few pieces of college lacrosse history that has continued to find favor on Internet message boards.

~ 1563-1568: A group from southern England declares a lacrosse/intellectual society from South Cambridge as "World Champions of What We Believe to be the World" for six consecutive years. The declaration was based on the society's four games that it played; the determination excluded all other societies for the following reasons: (1) Games played between societies not played in the South Cambridge area were considered less than competitive than the games played in the South Cambridge area; (2) The group never left South Cambridge because it was -- they believed -- the pinnacle of existence; (3) The group never heard of the societies that played significantly outside the South Cambridge area. The progeny of this group -- the USILA -- would later re-form in Baltimore during the late periods of the United States' industrial revolution.

~ 1630: Westerners discover Native Americans playing lacrosse. They forget to offer them athletic scholarships to their nascent universities for, like, hundreds of years, instead giving them blankets filled with diseases as thanks for teaching them the game.4

1883: Johns Hopkins University is founded. The school immediately claims a share of that year's national championship despite not fielding a lacrosse team.

1904: College lacrosse is temporarily banned in many communities on the East Coast as wealthy families decried the game's "violence and lack of venture capitalist opportunities." The game goes underground during this time, played in the early afternoon while policemen are pre-occupied with six-hour baseball games.

1945: The United States Naval Academy and United States Military Academy share the Wingate Trophy as the nation's top lacrosse team. They attempt to settle the deadlock by kicking the crap out of the Pacific theater in World War II, counting up stuff that was exploded as a tiebreaker. In the end, due to the difficulty of aggregating exploded things and which branch of the armed forces exploded such things, the Midshipmen and Cadets decide that "Freedom!" was the ultimate winner of that year's national championship, the first and only time that a political theory was named the country's best lacrosse team.5

1962: Protesters sit in on a Brown-Dartmouth lacrosse game. They herald the contemplative nature of "lax flow" yet wonder why lacrosse games can't simply be decided through diplomatic means.

1971: The first NCAA lacrosse championship is held and Cornell takes the title home to Ithaca. In celebration of its conquering heroes, Ithaca declares the day "Cornell Day!" All residents are required to awkwardly talk to the opposite sex, tentatively asking, "When do you think it's going to snow?" while wondering if they're into Dungeons and Dragons.

1986: Dave Pietramala enrolls at Johns Hopkins as a defenseman. Reports indicate that he is accompanied to and from the field by a flock of doves.6

1990: This season may or may not have happened. The NCAA says that it was only your imagination; Syracuse University heralds it as the greatest season ever and that the university should have won two national championships that season due to the school's efforts. I have been unable to reconcile the differences, with only "Robot Apocalypse?" in my notes regarding this year.

2003: The NCAA Tournament expands to 16 teams, the largest number of participants ever. This allows schools from non-traditional areas to believe that they can participate in Championship Weekend while everyone just kind of winks to each other in that really jerk-ish way while giving each other "The Maryland Handshake."

2011: Denver makes the Final Four. "The Maryland Handshake" is replaced with the "Oh, We're Totally Screwed!" drooped head.


1 Note: Knowledge is not power. Power is power. I know this because if Einstein ever fought a ninja, all that would be left is itty bitty pieces of Einstein.

2 Note: Modern meatheads continue this tradition of using simple guttural sounds as opposed to contemporary linguistics. They are not, in fact, knuckleheads but rather dedicated historians.

3 Note: It was tentatively proved by Peter Lombard that the secret of life was "rippin' the duck." This was later disproved, after a 10-8 setback to Thomas Aquinas' team, that the secret of life was actually "wearing stupid looking shorts."

4 Note: This is the first example of "stalling" in modern lacrosse. Rather than beating the Native Americans straight-up, the westerners accidentally killed off many players, eventually winning due to attrition as opposed to superior skill.

5 Note: Johns Hopkins' claim that it invented -- or, at worst, perfected -- freedom and was thus entitled to a share of the national championship was denied in a special meeting of the USILA called at Johns Hopkins' behest.

6 Note: Those doves were subsequently poke-checked by Pietramala.