ago, after a lacrosse game played between a team of college stars and a team of
Onandaga Indians, the chief of the Onandagas took one of the particularly
deserving college boys aside and showed him a couple of the deadlier secrets of
here," the chief said. "Hold your foot over other fellow's foot, so.
When he start, put foot down. Dislocatum hip. When fellow too fast, run away
from you, hitum in heel with stick. Gettum just right, he no run no more.
The young man
thanked the chief courteously and departed. In 28 years of coaching lacrosse
since then, 19 at Navy, Dinty Moore has never felt called upon to teach his men
how to dislocatum hip, but some of Navy's bruised opponents have often wondered
what holds him back. Last year Navy was national lacrosse champion but the real
proof of Dinty's coaching ability occurred during the game with Duke. A Navy
attackman known now as Homicide Hargrave, aiming his 230-pound self at a Duke
player scurrying about on the sidelines, miscalculated the range and hit his
coach instead. The impact broke Dinty's leg in two places and severed most of
"What a body
check! Man, that's the way to play lacrosse!" exulted the coach as they
carried him off the field.
This spring some
60 colleges and as many secondary schools fielded lacrosse teams. In many
schools it was the third biggest sport, after football and basketball. More
players were participating than at any time since before the white man arrived
and spoiled the fun. (Thousand-man Indian teams used to stage contests lasting
for days, not even stopping to bury the dead.) It's a game that is exciting
both to play and to watch. "After you see lacrosse," said Rip Miller,
athletic director at Navy and one of the Seven Mules of Notre Dame, "other
spring sports are like kissing your sister."
is a rough game, you don't have to be either a behemoth or a goon to play it.
In what other team contact sport these days can a 140-pound honor student like
Virginia's Jimmy Grieves make All-America in his junior year? "I just don't
know what comes over me when I play lacrosse," Jimmy mused recently.
thing about lacrosse is that it's easy to understand. If you have ever sat in a
darkened projection room with a bunch of football coaches running one play over
and over trying to find out what their own team was doing, you appreciate the
simplicity of lacrosse all the more. "It's basketball played on a football
field with a club and a slow whistle," someone once observed with a
shudder. The idea is to throw a hard rubber ball in the opponent's goal, around
or through the goal tender. Each team has 10 men, but only six can cross the
midfield line at a time, so that the melee is restricted to 12 men and the
"We used to
play with 12 men and what the rule book called natural boundaries," recalls
Joseph B. Beck-man, an All-America at Maryland 24 years ago. "We used to
knock down a lot of fences. We played Syracuse in the football stadium. There
were high concrete walls around the field. The referee got both teams together
before the game and told us he didn't want to see anybody get bounced off those
walls. Well, the game started, and the ball went over against the wall, and I
had a good shot at a guy—could a slammed him through the wall—but I remembered
what the referee said and laid off. All of a sudden BOOM two guys hit me and
knocked me up against that concrete and the whole stadium shook. Hell, the
whole town shook. I looked up at the referee and he was laughin' all over
himself. He was from Syracuse!"
NAMES WILL NEVER
When a man has
possession of the ball you can do most anything to him to make him wish he
hadn't. Provided you hit his stick at the same time, you can hit him with your
stick anywhere between the shoulders and the knees. A new rule this year
prohibits hitting him on the head at any time. He doesn't even have to have the
ball, just be within 15 feet of a loose ball, to be eligible to receive your
best body block. The only restraint is that you can't hit him from behind or
below the knees.