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Throwback Thursday: Old Time Lacrosse

Old stuff is fun stuff!

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Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

I've been cruising through the Getty Images library lately looking at old lacrosse photos. It's crazy what's in there, even if the catalog isn't as dense as one would hope: Everything from renderings of natives playing the game, to photos of the British pretending to be athletes, to stuff from the middle of the 20th century that looks 100 years old populates the cache of forgotten to not-quite-forgotten history.

Maybe the thing that's most interesting about these images, though, is the equipment that folks used when Twitter wasn't a thing. Seeing old sticks and old equipment in a vacuum is somewhat jarring considering what people use today, but when you see all of that ancient equipment put together in what was a contemporary image, it kind of makes you do that bulging eyeball thing that happens in cartoons. Here are a couple that stood out from the library.


According to the image caption, this is Miss E. Sanderson, goalkeeper for the Scottish lacrosse team:

There is so much goodness in this picture:

  • Was lacrosse a trendsetter in women playing sports? I have no idea, but given cultural thoughts that often sidelined women from pursuing athletic pursuits, it's nice to see that a lady could play lacrosse in the 1930's instead of being pushed away from the field.
  • I have no idea whether that's a baseball catcher's mask and chest protector or cricket equipment. Regardless, I have in my head that Miss E. Sanderson wasn't playing lacrosse but some hybrid lacrosse/baseball/cricket game where many people died because they're brain exploded from not understanding what the hell they were doing because the rules made no sense. When you combine the protective equipment with the fact that she's wearing a polo club blazer with what appears to be some kind of ascot, I can only assume that lacrosse in Surrey in 1938 looked nothing like its contemporary iteration and often ended in scores of "Sandwich-Rock."
  • I want the crest on her blazer to be the logo for this site. That is awesome!


Based on another image in the library, I believe this is a Cornell lacrosse player:

Let's break this down:

  • If this was a Cornell player, I have no idea who -- exactly -- it is. Assuming his number is 38 or 88 doesn't matter: The Red don't have a database that lists players by number by season. It would be pretty rad if we could figure out whom this was, though.
  • Those gloves. Oh, man, those gloves. They look like the mitts I use when I'm working with my charcoal smoker. They're basically caskets for broken fingers. Isotoner makes better protection in 2014 than whatever outfit was churning those mothers out in 1950.
  • Hey, Nike: A lacrosse uniform doesn't have to look like a psychedelic x-ray vest at the dentist's office. Take note.
  • You know why old lacrosse players are crazy? It's because they strapped half of a football on their head and combined it with an orthodontic retainer and called it a "helmet." I don't even with that thing. "Will this protect my melon?" "No, but it'll make you look like an idiot." "You had me at 'idiot'."