Old Grey Lax: My Medicine Game


Editor’s Note: Please welcome Joe Hart, aka OldGreyLaxer, to the LAS Network! OGL picked up lacrosse a bit later in life, but has great perspective on the sport, and how it can be so much more than “just a game”.


“Age and Treachery will overcome youth and skill.”Proverb

Lacrosse. It has many names: Creator’s Game, kabucha, baaga‘adowe, Teraarathon,
dah-nah-wah’uwsdi, dehuntshigwa’es, and the Medicine Game. In the past, when a member of an Indian tribe was sick the local shaman would prescribe some medicine. To help the medicine heal the sick person a Medicine Game would be called for. The men of the tribe were gathered and a game of Lacrosse was played.

It was believed that the energy derived from Mother Earth during the lacrosse game would strengthen the medicine given to the sick. And lacrosse is still a medicine game, particularly for me. Yep me. I’m 43 years old and just started playing lacrosse last year.

I play lacrosse in an old man’s league named Geezlax and I run with young bucks in a men’s rec league. Some of you are probably thinking, “Man, he must suck.” And yes, I do suck, but I am better than I was last year. Being older and playing with older guys, I/we don’t care, if we suck. We have guys that are 65 years old and playing. I have a long time to get better, if I play until I’m 65.

That is where it is the medicine game for me. I get to hang out one day out the week with guys my age, running around, playing lacrosse, and having a good time. I look forward to that day and relish it. My wife thinks I am a dork because I come home excited about playing lacrosse. That is another reason it is the medicine game.

I am happy about other stuff, because lacrosse makes me happy in general. I am more engaged with the rest of the world, because I am not sitting around bored and pissed off. Not only is lacrosse the psychological medicine game, it is some strong fitness medicine. In the past, I worked out and tried to be some shape other than round, but there wasn’t a whole lot of motivation. Now, I don’t want to lay gasping on the field like some carp, seeing spots, and hoping to God that no one is going to be forced to give me CPR.

Now my workouts have a purpose with goals and a plan. I run more, lift intelligently, and have a new shape (cylindrical). There is some family medicine in my Lacrosse experience. Both my boys (9 & 11) play lacrosse. That is how I got the Lacrosse bug, playing with them in the front yard.

It is ironic, normally it’s Dad that was the lacrosse player and he would pass the tradition on to his children. I am lucky enough to have it the other way around where my boys passed it up to me. Now I can add one more facets to the relationship with my kids. We talk about all kinds of stuff, lacrosse included, but there will be a time (teens) when I have a hard time understanding their dilemmas. So to enlighten me to the their mindset, we can grab some sticks and head out to the yard and toss the ball around and figure it out.

Now, I am sure there are some astute ladies out there saying “What about your wife? How does she benefit from you running around the lacrosse field?” It comes back to being in a good mood from playing lacrosse. I am a better listener with her and my motivation and energy from playing lacrosse carries over to doing things on her list or taking her out on dates.

Granted it’s a little more dicey to get the list taken care of in the spring. There is ALOT of lacrosse to watch on TV, ya know. She understands, its football in the fall for her.

I am way more excited about lacrosse than I should be. Now its time for you to figure out what makes you excited.

I am an old grey laxer. My age and treachery will get you… some time.