Editor’s note: University of Arizona head coach Mickey Miles-Felton sent us over this hilarious story from back in the day. Hope you enjoy it.
A quick intro note from Mickey:
Today, I received a request for an old story I might have involving gamesmanship. It was from an author that is writing about how to protect yourself from ruthless gamesmanship and unsportsmanlike behavior. I’m not quite certain I gave him the side he was looking for but it brought back a terrific memory, good or bad, for me. So I figured I’d share it with you to see if it made you smile.
And now, brace yourselves for an incredibly entertaining piece of club lacrosse history:
How-D, Your email said, “If you have any experiences with gamesmanship (either by you or at you), please tell me the story.”
Actually, I do have a story that relates to the old school Psychology of “winning by intimidation”.
It was mid seventies and when I first started playing at the University of Arizona. Things were extremely different for the Sport. Heck, back in the day, “Wild and Crazy” was more then just a phrase. It was a reality. I had only played midfield one year in high school and that was in the early ’60’s when the game was played with wooden sticks including one cat-gut wall. I understand but no, no, no, get that vision out from between your ears, we didn’t play in loincloth. This story wasn’t Back in the Day, quite that far Back in the Day.
When I arrived in Tucson in one of my primes (I like to think I hit new primes about every 10 years), 30 years old, I began playing with the Cats as an inexperienced defenseman. As a transplanted wise guy from New York, I figured until I could improve skills, I needed an edge.
After some “Wild and Crazy” thoughts, I settled on a psychological formula that worked for me or at least got me through those days when everyone was younger and more experienced. I wore knee high, multi-colored, argyle socks, usually with silver threads accentuating the diamonds. During our warm-ups, some of our soon to be combatants had quizzical expressions on their mugs.
However, the psychological kicker was the evil use of dark candy wrapper to black out my upper front teeth. Not too many of us meatheads used mouth pieces back then. I think we preferred the goofy feeling brought on by a good solid grade 1 concussion, followed by post game refreshments as a kicker.
Reeses peanut buttercup wrappers were the perfect “food” for me. The milk chocolate was delicious, the peanuts smooth and digestible, and, as a bonus, same as today, there were 2 to a package. Excellent, I could use one for the beginning of the game, swallow up a Reeses cup of energy at halftime, and use that second wrapper for the start of the second half.
But let’s get back to the beginning of the game. After the obligatory midfield line-up when the players headed to their respective areas on the field and before the zebra put the pea into action for the opening face-off, I’d briskly saunter over to the attackman that I was playing that game, poke him in the ribs with my long stick, and display a big smile showing no teeth. That’s right, not too close so he could get a good look but the longer D-Stick provided me just enough distance. Then I’d get closer and turn my back to him announcing, “By the time this game’s over, you’re going to have less teeth then me” and walk away with an OoohhhhhhhhhYeeeaaahhhhhh ringing through his ear holes.
Some guys wouldn’t dare come near me for the rest of the game, and, of course, it didn’t matter much to real Lacrosse players. Hell, they were missing their own teeth. The difference was they had come by the holes in their gums, honestly.
But that’s how I survived using the current psychology of the era!