Imagine playing midfield in a hockey helmet with a full cage.
That is what girls high school lacrosse players did in Massachusetts between the years 1986 and ’96, after a 1985 proposal by the Concord-Carlisle (Mass.) school district spurred the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association to require them. Many, including Longmeadow High School, one of the commonwealth’s oldest girls programs, despised the idea.
A 1985 Associated Press story chronicled the team, in full uniform, appearing in front of the school board and pleading for them to intervene and let them play without helmets. Given how few girls teams existed in Western Massachusetts at the time, Longmeadow needed to complete its schedule with neighboring Connecticut schools. But those teams refused to play a helmet-outfitted Longmeadow squad because the MIAA regulations mandated that any team that played a Massachusetts team also would have to be helmeted for the game.
“If we don’t have a schedule within two weeks, we’re going to try out for the boys team,” the article reports Karen Crosby, then a Longmeadow senior, as saying.