St. John's College

Posted by Ellen

Every April, the town of Annapolis, Maryland, gears up for the annual croquet match between the Midshipmen of the Naval Academy and the Johnnys of the small liberal arts college across the street, St. John's.

Although the Naval Academy is an athletic powerhouse and St. John's is a haven for bookworms, the Johnnys routinely win the contest. But there is a non-athletic dimension to the event as well: costuming.

Spectators from both colleges show up in Gatsby-esque 1920s attire, notably including hats. And the St. John's team dresses in different uniforms every year, top secret till the day of the game.

This year, the Johnnys' secret uniform was . . . the same as the Naval Academy uniform, white pants with letter sweaters. The two teams were distinguishable, however, because the midshipmen wore shiny white dress shoes while the Johnnys wore whatever shoes they felt like wearing.

St. John's won, 3-1.

Posted by Ellen

In 1930, a lacrosse team made up of players from both Oxford and Cambridge toured the United States, taking on all comers and thrashing them. Apparently, many of the Oxford-Cambridge stickmen were Americans studying abroad, including a number of Rhodes Scholars who had excelled at lacrosse during their undergraduate years.

Only one American team beat Oxford-Cambridge that season: the St. Johnnies from Annapolis, Maryland, shown here in short-shorts posing with the jacketed Englishmen in front of Washington, D.C.'s Central High School, where the game was played. St. John's won, 7-0.

St. John's College is now a super-intellectual "great books" school where students study the classics in the original Greek and have no time for intercollegiate sports. Every year, however, they do schedule one game against the athletic powerhouse located across the street from their campus in Annapolis, and they usually win handily. The game they play is croquet, and their opponents are the midshipmen of the U.S. Naval Academy, who complain that the Johnnies have all year to practice croquet, while midshipmen have to march and run and shine shoes and do all that other time-consuming navy stuff.