It's pushball time again at Macalester

  • Article by: MICHAEL RAND , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 1, 2012 - 6:54 AM

In conjunction with the school's Founders Day -- celebrating its 138th birthday as a school -- students, faculty and staff are slated to play pushball on the Old Main Lawn of the St. Paul school Friday.

hide

Action from a pushball game at Macalester College in 1914, the first year it was played at the school.

Photo: , Macalester College

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

When Tony Jennison was hired as Macalester College's head football coach in 2008, he had no idea that he would someday be dragged into the strange world of a different sport: pushball.

In fact, he had never heard of it -- much like a certain writer had never heard of it until this week.

But Jennison soon learned pushball -- played with a giant ball and with scoring somewhat like football -- has been part of the school's history for nearly 100 years. An article in The Mac Weekly from 1914 displays a picture of the first game at Macalester -- which also boasts that it is the first pushball game in Minnesota history. In conjunction with the school's Founders Day -- celebrating its 138th birthday as a school -- students, faculty and staff are slated to play pushball on the Old Main Lawn of the St. Paul school Friday.

Jennison, who has helped officiate and keep score for the traditional game in recent years (a duty he is passing along to defensive coordinator Marshall Mullenbach on Friday), described the action like this: "It's a little different. It's like a big rugby scrum. There's a huge ball, and everyone is pushing. Both sides just sit there. If they let up, then the ball starts to move. When everyone is fresh, the action is not very fast and furious. When they get tired, it starts moving at a faster pace."

A 1905 article traced pushball's roots back to an 1895 game involving Harvard students. The same publication says the ball used should be six feet in diameter and weigh roughly 50 pounds. There are 11 players per side pushing the ball and each other around, and crossing a goal line in various ways earns points.

The game scheduled for Friday at Macalester will use a ball much lighter than 50 pounds and measuring eight feet in diameter. It also sounds like the new version played at Macalester is much tamer than the one played from 1923-1955 at Emory University in Atlanta. The traditional games were permanently canceled because of "mob violence," according to emory.com. Dr. W. Roy Mason, the school's director of student health, was quoted as saying: "We were lucky to get by this year without a fatality. I'm sure it was only a question of time until someone got killed playing this so-called game."

The Macalester version these days is mostly about history and participation.

"I think it's kind of neat," Jennison said. "I'm not so sure all the students know the history, but they see this wacky thing going on and they jump in."

MICHAEL RAND

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Chicago WSox 1 Top 4th Inning
NY Yankees 1
Tampa Bay 1 Top 5th Inning
Toronto 2
Detroit 1 Bottom 3rd Inning
Minnesota 7
Seattle 0 Bottom 2nd Inning
Boston 2
Baltimore 0 Top 1st Inning
Chicago Cubs 0
San Francisco - T. Lincecum 3:05 PM
Washington - J. Zimmermann
Houston - C. McHugh 6:05 PM
Cleveland - D. Salazar
St. Louis - S. Miller 6:05 PM
Philadelphia - D. Buchanan
Atlanta - E. Santana 6:10 PM
Cincinnati - M. Leake
Pittsburgh - E. Volquez 6:10 PM
Milwaukee - W. Peralta
San Diego - A. Cashner 7:10 PM
Arizona - V. Nuno
Miami - T. Koehler 7:10 PM
Colorado - J. Lyles
Detroit - J. Verlander 7:10 PM
Minnesota - T. May
Kansas City - J. Guthrie 7:25 PM
Texas - N. Tepesch
LA Angels - C. Wilson 8:05 PM
Oakland - J. Lester
NY Mets - J. deGrom 8:10 PM
Los Angeles - Z. Greinke
Tampa Bay 3:30 PM
Buffalo
Tennessee 6:00 PM
Atlanta
Dallas 6:00 PM
Miami
Washington 6:30 PM
Baltimore
New Orleans 7:00 PM
Indianapolis
Minnesota 7:00 PM
Kansas City
St. Louis 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Houston 8:00 PM
Denver
San Diego 8/24/14 3:00 PM
San Francisco
Cincinnati 8/24/14 7:00 PM
Arizona
Atlanta 8/28/14 5:00 PM
Jacksonville
Detroit 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Indianapolis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Kansas City 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Green Bay
NY Jets 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
St. Louis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Miami
Carolina 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 8/28/14 6:30 PM
NY Giants
Washington 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Baltimore 8/28/14 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Denver 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Dallas
Minnesota 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Tennessee
San Francisco 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 8/28/14 9:00 PM
San Diego
Seattle 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Oakland
(21) Texas A&M 8/28/14 5:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Wake Forest 8/28/14 6:00 PM
ULM
Boise State 8/28/14 7:00 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Tulane 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Temple 8/28/14 8:15 PM
Vanderbilt
Rutgers 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Washington St
Weber State 8/28/14 9:30 PM
(19) Arizona State
BYU 8/29/14 6:00 PM
Connecticut
(6) Jacksonville St 8/29/14 6:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Bowling Green 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Houston
Colorado State 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Colorado
UNLV 8/29/14 9:30 PM
Arizona
UCF 8/30/14 7:30 AM
Penn State
Troy 8/30/14 11:00 AM
UAB
(7) UCLA 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Virginia
Western Mich 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
(5) Ohio State 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Navy
Appalachian St 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Michigan
Ga Southern 8/30/14 11:30 AM
NC State
Boston College 8/30/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
West Virginia 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(2) Alabama
Rice 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
(10) South Dakota St 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(24) Missouri
Fla Atlantic 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(22) Nebraska
California 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Marshall 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
UC Davis 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(11) Stanford
Arkansas 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(6) Auburn
(16) Clemson 8/30/14 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 8/30/14 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 8/30/14 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 8/30/14 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 8/30/14 6:00 PM
Florida
Stephen F Austin 8/30/14 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 8/30/14 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 8/30/14 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 8/30/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Texas
Oklahoma State 8/30/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
(14) Wisconsin 8/30/14 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 8/30/14 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 8/30/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Chicago 6:00 PM
Toronto FC
Montreal 6:00 PM
Red Bull New York
Chivas USA 6:30 PM
New England
Houston 6:30 PM
Columbus
D.C. 7:30 PM
Sporting Kansas City
Vancouver FC 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Montreal 16 FINAL
Winnipeg 24
Toronto 3:00 PM
Edmonton
Calgary 8/24/14 2:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 8/24/14 6:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Ottawa 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Montreal
Winnipeg 8/31/14 2:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Indiana 4:00 PM
Washington
Minnesota 6:00 PM
San Antonio

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How do you feel about Kevin Love leaving the Wolves?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close