Historic photos are just awesome. The haircuts! No smiles! Why are their pants so high-waisted (and, astonishingly, why is that high-waisted trend coming back?)? Historic photos are like visual time machines, giving just a glimpse into a world that feels simultaneously so familar and so foreign. With the Olympics well underway, I thought I'd do a little digging in our historical photo resources to see what I might uncover about old-timey sports in Utah. I was not disappointed!
I wish I didn't have to guess so much about the stories of these photos, though sometimes guesswork is half the fun. First up, we have a basketball team from Franklin School. My astonishing detective skills tell me this was in 1908 (or else they just really wanted to mess with me). I'm guessing the man second from the left on the back row is the coach. That, or perhaps he didn't get the memo that this wasn't a black-tie game.
Courtesy, L.Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library,Brigham Young University, Provo, UT 84602
What would sports history be without a little BYU? Here's an image from the Utah State Historical Society of a BYU Track Meet. No date is given in the photo; librarian bonus points to anyone who wants to research hat styles as a reference point for the time this photo was taken.
As a former member of a girl's golf team, I can't decide if I wish our uniforms looked more like this. Not super practical for golfing on rainy days (those saddle shoes wouldn't fare well in mud!), but much classier than the khakis-and-boring-polo combination I typically favored.
She's golfing at the Timpanogos Course in Provo. Photo courtesy of the Utah State Historical Society.
Before looking at the equipment on the bottom, try to guess what sport these guys are playing. Supposedly they play baseball, but I swear they look like they're off to joust. These guys are from the Salt Lake Red Stockings, one of Utah's first professional baseball teams.
Also, what is this furry substance they're perched on? Long grass? Indeterminate animal hide? Either way, it really screams, "Baseball!"
Though we don't have luxurious grass/animal rug to sit on, we'll be streaming the Olympics all day every day the library is open on a big screen behind the First Floor Reference Desk. If you find yourself with a few extra hours but no cable, come on down and cheer with us for incredible Olympics athletes!
And please, please, find yourself a fancy jousting baseball bib to wear!