Md. inspires a Canadian stamp


Photo from '74 Hopkins-Terps lacrosse is behind commemorative issue

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In conjunction with the opening of the World Lacrosse Championship this Thursday in London, Ontario, the Canadian postal service has issued a 51-cent stamp that honors the sport that was declared the nation's official summer sport by Parliament in 1994.

The inspiration for the action-filled stamp, designed by Tom Yakobina and illustrated by Yvan Meunier, is based on a photograph not of a Canadian lacrosse game but one between the Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland.

"I wanted the stamp design to be suggestive of a poster advertising the Championships," said Yakobina in a recent interview with Canada's Stamp Details, a quarterly magazine published by Canada Post, the country's postal service.

"The player is blurred slightly to deliver a feeling of movement, and he holds his stick high as he charges across a background comprised of tickets to the event. Small flags at the top of each ticket represent countries participating in the Championships," Yakobina said.

Yakobina's research for the perfect photo led him to two Baltimoreans: Bob Scott, former Hopkins lacrosse coach, and Bob Rothgaber, a retired math teacher, photographer and lacrosse enthusiast.

"When he was doing his preliminary research he came across Bob Scott's book Lacrosse: Technique and Tradition with its unique cover shot, and his creative mind went from there," Cindy Daousp, a Canada Post spokeswoman, said yesterday.

She explained that Canada Post gets about a thousand suggestions each year for stamps that reflect the history, culture, people and natural resources of Canada, and it takes about three years to bring a stamp to fruition.

"It's not a quick process and is rather time-consuming, but this idea came to us quite early," she adds.

Three million of the stamps will be produced and configured in booklets of eight self-adhesive stamps, postal officials said.

The picture on the cover of Scott's book that captured the drama of the lacrosse experience for Yakobina was snapped by Rothgaber during the 1974 championship game when Hopkins beat Maryland, 17-12, in a game played at Rutgers Stadium.

"I was always at games taking pictures, and Bob heard about it. He called me up one day and said he wanted me to do the photos for his book," recalled Rothgaber. "The cover photo, which was used for the stamp, was Bob's last championship game."

Scott's book, published by Johns Hopkins University Press in 1976, has sold more than 40,000 copies.

A second edition, with updated chapters by David Pietramala, Hopkins' men's lacrosse coach, and Neil A. Grauer, a Hopkins graduate and Baltimore author, was recently published by Johns Hopkins University Press.

"The whole thing sort of came out of the blue. Joy Parks from Canada Post called and explained they had plans to do the stamp and wanted to get in touch with Bob Rothgaber," recalled Scott, who later became athletic director at Homewood and is now retired.

"It's sort of ironic that they came to Maryland for a lacrosse picture, since it's [the] national sport in Canada. Anyway, the whole thing is very exciting," Scott said.

The call from Canadian postal officials sent Rothgaber searching through his photo files to locate the needed negative.

Recalling the 1974 match, Scott said, "It was my last year coaching, and we were fortunate enough to beat Maryland, who were the defending champions."

On the stamp, the figure in red holding the lacrosse stick is Dino A. Mattessich, who went on to serve as head lacrosse coach at Maryland from 1980 to 1983, and was assistant athletic director at Towson University from 1983 to 1995.

From 1995 to 2001, he was at the University of Maine, and for the last five years Mattessich has been assistant athletic director at the University of Connecticut at Storrs.

"How do I feel about being on a stamp? That's a good one, however, it really is very flattering," said Mattessich, 53, in a telephone interview yesterday from North Carolina, where he was vacationing.

"Being involved with Bob Scott in any way is a great honor. He is one of the best lacrosse coaches of all time and one of the best ambassadors for the game. Words can't describe how great a man and coach he is," Mattessich said. "I treasure his book that he autographed for me."

On Monday, Scott and Rothgaber are having lunch at the Johns Hopkins Club to talk over old times with Mattessich, who is stopping off in Baltimore before returning to New England.

"Do you think they'll let a University of Maryland lacrosse player into the Hopkins Club?" Mattessich asked with a laugh.

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