FLASHBACK: A 305-Year History of the Tenacity of GAC Tennis

In the interest of preserving and celebrating our illustrious history of over 150 years, The Fourth Crown presents the fifth of a 2,928,608 part series, FLASHBACK, chronicling the most important events in Gustavus Adolphus College’s history.

This week we look back to the origins of the Men’s Tennis team and the supernatural history that may be connected to their continuing success. Despite falling in the last round of regional play this spring, the Gustavus Men’s tennis team closed out a successful season, which included winning the MIAC title for the 305th year in a row. The longest streak in conference history dates back to 1709, preceding the actual formation of the MIAC, Gustavus, and the United States of America.

tennis bubble

The tennis bubble, which has recently been identified as the ancestral burial site of House Hansson.

The first title was won by Swedish settlers over Norwegian farmers who lived in what is now southern Minnesota in the early 18th century. According to the diary of Swedish settler Alvar Hansson, the game was played on grass and was known as “Svenorsk,” as the word “tennis” would not be invented for another 150 years.

Hansson’s diary contains in-depth commentary on each match, the largest of which was played annually on the “3rd Sun of May.” Amongst the decaying pages of Hansson’s notes, translators have deciphered the following passage about the first meeting:

“The match was swift and easy. We showed no mercy as we descended upon those Norwegian hogs with the axe of victory. We really gave them a good ole fashioned ass kicking. I was proud of our boys today, and think that we will be able to continue our dominance for the next few years. Hell! Maybe the next 500 years!”

A portrait of an 83-year-old Hansson before the 1795 Svenorsk match. Artist unknown.

A portrait of an 83-year-old Hansson before the 1795 Svenorsk match. Artist unknown.

Most impressive is that Hansson’s words have been proved to be a prophetic prediction when it comes to the Men’s Tennis squad. It should be noted that Alvar Hansson’s diary covers 152 years of tennis action between the two parties, and only has one known entrant. Whether or not Hansson did live to over 152 years of age, or had the ability to see in the future, is unknown. What is known is the success that the team has had following his prediction seems to be a supernatural act.

“I’ve heard lore of Alvar Hansson,” said tennis coach Terry Green. “He was one heck of a sports analyst, and one heck of a prophet. I am not unconvinced that his powers still flow through us today as we play. Unfortunately, Hansson was a total dick to us in foreseeing regional play.”

Under pressure from recent concern over the lack of transparency regarding the tennis bubble, the Athletic Department has issued a statement admitting the bubble was in fact built over the Hansson family grave. “I’m not sure if any supernatural guiding force is involved with our bubble or tennis success,” said Assistant Athletic Director Derek Foreman, as he dusted off a crucifix made of two ancient tennis racquets, “But you can be damn sure I’m not gonna mess with anything considering our winning streak.”

More concern over the origins of the tennis team’s success was raised when varsity players all kissed a certain spot on the ground of the tennis complex and whispered something in ancient Swedish to the ground, then “crossed” themselves with their racquets. Reports have also come in stating that the team frequently whispered the phrase, “In your name, Lord Alvar, let me crush these Ole’s for the glory of Svenorsk” before serving to the St. Olaf team.

“Clearly there is something going on here. Are these guys all part of some tennis cult?” said first-year spectator Randy Carmichael. “I’m telling you, there is some freaky shit going on.”


More from the FLASHBACK series:

FLASHBACK: The Case of Case Day

FLASHBACK: The Dive, Past and Present

FLASHBACK: What Was That Whole Divest-Fest Thing About, Anyways? 

FLASHBACK: John Kennedy’s Record-Breaking Run at the 2010 MIAC Championships