Check your LQ (lax quotient)

Lacrosse Final Four

May 26, 2007|By Kevin Van Valkenburg

Do you consider yourself a true lacrosse fan? Are you ready for the NCAA tournament, a gathering that feels each year like the sport's Woodstock? Test your lacrosse knowledge with this handy quiz.

1. Lacrosse is a sport with a rich history and many traditions. It's considered by many to be the oldest sport in North America. Who invented the game? A. Brian Billick invented it. He told me so. He also invented the telephone and unlocked the secrets of photosynthesis when he wasn't working on his novel, The Great Gatsby. B. Fredrick Douglass. Not only was he one of this country's greatest orators, authors and statesmen, but he also was widely considered to be the greatest long-pole middie. At least until Dave Pietramala came along. C. Native Americans. The sport only became a mainstream phenomenon and grabbed a spot on the cover of news magazines after white people copied it and claimed it as their own, kind of like when Eminem started rapping.

2. If you grew up in Maryland and don't know how to "cradle," there is a good chance you: A. Can still get hired as Britney Spears' nanny. B. Preferred to spend the majority of your teenage years watching nothing but John Waters movies, alone, probably in your mom's basement, which while weird, is nothing you need to apologize for. C. Were raised by wolves.

3. This town is big on loyalty. With that in mind, one of the heinous crimes you can commit in the eyes of a purist is: A. Switching political parties, as Spiro T. Agnew did when he became a Republican after he was raised as a Democrat. B. Leaving the Orioles to sign with the Yankees, as Mike Mussina did. C. Graduating from Maryland, but cheering for Johns Hopkins in this year's final four.

4. H.L. Mencken wrote once, "It is impossible to imagine Goethe or Beethoven being good at billiards or golf." Mencken was probably right. (Although we contend that Goethe would have had a Mickelson-esque imagination around the greens.) But this famous person, usually recognized for accomplishments in another field, was actually an outstanding lacrosse player in college. A. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who was an absolute pit bull on faceoffs. B. NFL Hall of Famer Jim Brown, likely the only guy on the set of The Dirty Dozen who knew how to cross-check. C. Former United States ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, a McDonogh graduate who was a ruthless attackman.

5. Gary Gait, whom most lacrosse experts regard as the greatest player of all time, became famous while in college thanks in part to his acrobatic "Air Gait" move. What did the Syracuse star's move entail? A. Like a bull charging at a red cape, he'd run at the goal from behind the net, take off into the air when he got to the crease, stuff the ball past the unsuspecting goalie, then land on the other side of the crease, unharmed. B. Like a kangaroo, he'd jump over a defender, then whip the ball behind his back and past the unsuspecting goalie as he was falling to the ground. C. Like Mary Lou Retton, he'd sprint down the field, perform two handsprings and two front flips to launch himself over star-struck defenders, then blast a shot past the unsuspecting goalie.

6. When someone brings up the "Ten Bears," what's the first thing you think of? A. The Super Bowl Shuffle, of course! And the funky QB known as McMahon! B. All those Cal football players who lateraled the ball while the band was on the field in that last-second victory over Stanford. C. Morgan State's all-black lacrosse team, which, beginning in 1971, battled racism and ignorance and in 1975 upset top-ranked Washington and Lee.

7. Before its 2005 victory over Duke in the national championship game, Johns Hopkins had not won a national title since: A. 1933, when Frank Oppenheimer blew up Princeton's defense, scoring five times in a 14-8 win. B. 1972, when middie Wolf Blitzer scooped up 31 ground balls to help the Blue Jays defeat Yale, 12-11. C. 1987, when sophomore defenseman Dave Pietramala helped anchor the Blue Jays defense in an 11-10 win over Cornell.

8. In 2004, Syracuse attackman Mikey Powell - the only four-time winner of the Jack Turnbull Award, which is given annually the game's top attackman - said he planned to give up the sport after college. At the time, what were his plans? A. He wanted to write a novel. Preferably something like Catcher in the Rye. Or The Da Vinci Code. B. He wanted to play music, sort of like David Byrne, formerly of Talking Heads. C. He wanted to just walk the Earth, like Jules in Pulp Fiction or Caine in Kung Fu.

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