What’s that? A lacrosse stick. What? Many people will ask questions like these this spring term simply because they have never seen the game played. Although not big in the Midwest or the South, most eastern schools have extensive Lacrosse programs.
The game Lacrosse originated in the northeast section of the United States and Quebec with the Native Americans of the region. The work “Lacrosse” comes from French; Lacrosse, meaning a staff or hooked stick. Each player has a long handled stick with a basket on the end. Ten men constitute one team.
Offense is provided by three attackmen who remain in the opposing team’s defensive end throughout the game. Three midfielders or “middies” play both offense and defense, depending on the situation and their stamina. The defense also numbers three, plus the goalie. These players distinguish themselves by their longer and heavier Lacrosse sticks.
The Lawrence Lacrosse team should be competitive this year. On attack, veterans Tom Hodges, ’77 and Geoff Meader, ’78, will dazzle fans and opponents with fancy stick handling and many scores. Helping them will be Reid Abrams, ’77, Sean Boyle, ’79, Roger Healy, ’79 and Dave Kaehler, ’77. Steve Anderson, ’78, Brent Erensel, ’78 and Marv Klikunas, ’77 should combine solid hitting with balanced scoring at midfield.
Look for the second midfield line of Joe Fasano, ’79, Charlie Kron, ’78 and John Laing, ’79, to provide some wild antics. On defense are Basil Georgiadis, ’78, Roger McDowell, ’77, Cliff “Mad Dog” Meader, ’77, John Nichol, ’79 and Merrik Wells, ’79. In the goal you will see the highly touted George “Rocky Mountain High” McClure, ’79. If you are interested in playing, watch for organizational meeting times in this paper. Men and women are encouraged to participate.
A frequent theme of Blast from the Past articles are the changes Lawrence athletics have undergone throughout history. A common theme has been the coming and going of various sports teams on campus. Today, Lawrence fields a variety of varsity and club sports, as well as providing opportunities for intramural athletic participation. However, in the past, these options were not always exactly the same.
Today, one finds little to no Lacrosse presence on Lawrence’s campus. The sport is simply not popular with the student body. This was not the case in 1977. In the 1970s and 80s, Lawrence fielded a varsity lacrosse team. While the sport did not enjoy much mainstream popularity, it was large enough that Lawrence could support a team.
The mainstream appeal of sports can be the factor by which sports live and die at Lawrence. If a team is not popular enough, it rapidly becomes infeasible to field a whole squad, and the team rapidly disappears from campus. This was the case with Lacrosse. For a time, enough people showed interest that the team existed. As this interest faded, so too did the team.
This phenomenon puts athletics at an unsettling place at Lawrence. At present, about one quarter of the student body is a member of a varsity sport. Outside of this quarter, Lawrence Athletics do not draw much campus attention. In recent years, organizations like SAAC (the Student Athlete Advisory Committee) and LUCC ACE (Athletic and Conservatory Engagement Committee) have done a good job trying to bring athletics into the limelight. Their efforts, events like the BLU Crew awards gala and various flip-flop weekends have seen limited success, and are a step in the right direction at garnering student body interest in athletics. However, it is not enough.
When it comes down to it, athletics are not accessible enough to campus. Most athletic events occur off campus at the Banta Bowl, Alex Gym or Appleton Ice Arena. For this reason, students are often unaware that athletic events are occurring. Additionally, while various shuttles are generally made available to ferry students to and from events, the schedule of these shuttles is not well publicized. It falls on the shoulders of the athletics department, and on the student athletes involved with athletics, to better advertise Lawrence athletic events.
A number of changes could be implemented. First, the athletic department should better advertise events. While events do appear on Lawrence’s online calendar, this is not enough. The athletics department and individual sports teams should do a better job announcing events. Posters should be made. Facebook events should be created. Second, when possible, more events should be held on Lawrence’s main campus. Some basketball and volleyball games could be played in the Wellness Center gym, rather than in Alexander Gymnasium. While this would not be feasible for all games, holding a few games on Lawrence’s main campus could help catch campus attention. Finally, shuttles to athletic events should be better publicized. The athletic department should include shuttle details on its online postings about athletic events, to encourage greater student attendance at events.
Athletics have great power to bring schools together. Athletics are also vulnerable to fading away when people lose interest. For this reason, Lawrence’s athletics department should do a better job fostering interest in athletics around campus.