"The game was different then," says Jerry Schmidt, 58, who grew up in Baltimore. "Today the sticks are synthetic and totally symmetrical, so players are much more ambidextrous. In my day the sticks were wood, carved by Indians and strung with leather. The ball would come off them different ways from each side. You never really knew how it would fly."
At Johns Hopkins from 1959 to ’62, Jerry Schmidt was lacrosse’s dominating force, the forerunner of the physical attackman. He was 5’10″ and 190 pounds, fast and tough and mean. Schmidt was willing to put a shoulder down and turn the competition into roadkill, much to the shock of defensemen used to facing smaller forwards. Thirty-six years later he remains the only lacrosse player to have appeared on SI’s cover.
Schmidt never played on artificial turf, never wore a streamlined helmet and never had formal weight training the way college players do now. In fact, he even missed Johns Hopkins’s heyday. During his three All-America seasons with the Blue Jays, in which he scored 93 goals, he failed to win an NCAA “title, though his charismatic play did help establish the foundation for a program that would go on to win 11 national championships and produce 229 more All-Americas.
According to the UK’s oldest lacrosse club in Stockport, interest in Manchester began as a result of an exhibition match between Canadian Montreal Club and Caughnawaga Indians at Old Trafford cricket ground as part of a UK tour to promote the sport in 1875.
Chairman Peter Aiton said: “Apparently, it was seen by a bunch of rugby players who were on the train heading back to Stockport.
“They saw this fast-paced, athletic game played by men waving strange sticks around their heads, liked what they saw and decided to take it up,” he said.
Since that very first game 130+ years ago, the game has thrived locally.
Manchester is considered the centre for men’s lacrosse in the UK, English Lacrosse has its headquarters in Belle Vue and the city boasts more than 20 clubs, producing some of the UK’s top players. It’s the third time Manchester has staged the World Championships and 5,000 spectators will watch tournament favourites USA and Canada battle it out on this year’s Super Saturday
For more: http://news.bbc.co.uk/local/manchester/hi/things_to_do/newsid_8811000/8811519.stm