The longest running rivalry in college lacrosse -- at least according to Cornell (the Maryland-Johns Hopkins rivalry actually started a year prior to Cornell-Hobart, but Red-Statesmen has been contested around 30 more times than Terps-Jays) -- renews its anger tomorrow at Schoellkopf Field in Ithaca. The rivalry is one of the hidden-in-plain-sight beauties of Central/Western New York, a yearly meeting that pits cultists of the game against each other for regional pride. The rivalry doesn't generate the kind of excitement that Syracuse-Cornell or Syracuse-Hobart does, but it is -- in many ways -- the soul of lacrosse in that particular area of the country.
There are a ton of storylines going into the game Saturday afternoon -- Matt Kerwick will both (1) face his alma mater and (2) face the program he once led before departing Hobart for Jacksonville; Cornell is looking to find its identity in the post-Rob Pannell era; Hobart is looking to erase a nine-year losing streak to the Red; etc. -- but it's a picture that Hobart tweeted yesterday that is most interesting about tomorrow's meeting between the two schools:
Here's a @HobartLacrosse #tbt from a game on the quad! Current Statesmen play at Cornell on Saturday at 1 pm pic.twitter.com/5Ipue6A9pJ— HWS Athletics (@hwssid) February 20, 2014
I have no idea when this picture is from. Based on the cars -- more on them in a second -- in the background, though, the photo could be from the 1920's or 1930's (I'm leaning toward the 1930's as those vehicles look like Model A's). That's really the story here: College lacrosse in the early part of the 20th century looks nothing like the glittered version of the game now. Some notes on the picture:
- This game is on Hobart's quad. Not a designated athletic field. The quad. You know there was some dopey guy that was hoping to read poetry to some dame under the shade of the tree on the quad but was thwarted in his courting efforts thanks to Cornell and Hobart using the space to bash each other's brains in.
- I love the fact that people are on a small knoll -- right next to the field! -- watching the game. The possibility of taking an errant ball to the skull? Accepted consequence of non-ticketed attendance. That's premium seating, you guys, even if it is violently close to the action.
- I like the idea of parking at the game. I don't mean parking in a parking lot next to the field and walking a short distance. I mean literally parking at the field in no particularly organized fashion. I have never, in my entire life, driven to a game, got out of the car, and been exactly where I needed to be with the possibility of having my car becoming part of the game -- due to the emergency brake letting go, getting pelted by an errant pass or shot, etc. -- because of its proximity to the action.
- They're playing lacrosse without fancy equipment and stupid looking uniforms. How is this possible?! The humanity! (It's hard to tell what "helmets" are that the players are wearing, but I think they're a small step above a hollowed-out pumpkin on their heads.)
- Is the goalie wearing shin guards? The 1930’s were soft, man.