All these years, as we, my family and I, moved about the country, I kept my photograph of the Ohio State University LaCrosse team in 1949 with most of the player’s names listed on the back. Since the photo now has the status of a university archive, I thought it would be of interest to those now in charge of the LaCrosse program at OSU to have the photo and so mailed it along with a few remarks recalling that early period. Here’s the letter I sent:
I read recently in a brochure regarding the history of Buckeye LaCrosse that it began in 1953. True, as a varsity sport that could well be the fact. But Ohio State had a team representing the University some years before, most of the team members, like myself, brand new to the sport. Born and raised in Columbus, I was a Buckeye football fan from the beginning. I even tried out for the Buckeye football team one August but was obviously undersized and was soon cut. It was shortly after that, that someone suggested I try out for the LaCrosse team. My first question was, “What’s LaCrosse?” I’d never heard the term. Nor had any of my friends. As far as I know, the only reason LaCrosse started when it did, was because two of the students who were attending the Navy Officer Training Program at OSU at the end of WWII were from the east coast and had played LaCrosse in high school.
Those first years we built a schedule involving the small colleges in central Ohio, like Oberlin and Kenyon, playing each several times in the season. I don’t recall winning many of the games but I’ll always remember how happy and proud our competitors were to have beaten OSU at something! I recall one unscheduled game when Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (NY) came to Columbus to demonstrate how the game was really played. They showed us alright, running circles around us one entire Saturday afternoon. Later, after the game, I had to hop a train to a little town in Indiana near the campus of Purdue University where I was scheduled to address the congregation of a small church the next morning. I had been so thoroughly pummeled and was in so much pain I wasn’t sure I could make it to the pulpit at the ten o’clock service. That RPI game had left an indelible impression.
It’s fun to think I had a small part to play in the start of LaCrosse at OSU. I’m happy to see that LaCrosse has been fully established and become a successful varsity program, something all the early players like me hoped for. Back then, following WWII, many of us had high hopes not only for the LaCrosse team but for the country as well. Like all wars, WWII had been costly. Having been victorious over Germany and Japan, however, gave us no little confidence in our collective worth and helped us to assume leadership in the international community. I remember feeling the same, seeing myself as part of a big shift to a broader and wider humanitarianism.I have long since abandoned that global notion for a much smaller, personal one, a world limited to those around me who I can touch and be touched by, constantly working to express my love unconditionally. Mine is a small world but a world where all our welcome and therefore is quite naturally, an open and flexible one where hope remains. But like everything else as I age, the hope is not so much now for victory for the OSU LaCrosse team or for the USA as much as it is for victory over the Self, which breaks down the resistance (of the false self) and opens the gate to an entirely new level of peace and understanding. That, to me, is the ultimate victory, unconditional love at its finest.