Apple released an update to its mobile operating system this week, adding hundreds of new emojis with iOS 10.2. There is a pregnant woman, a gorilla, an avocado and a bald eagle. There are strips of bacon and new professions for women.
There are also new emojis depicting water polo, wrestling and handball. They join a sports suite that already included ... *deep breath* ... soccer, baseball, basketball, football, rugby, tennis, table tennis, billiards, bowling, cricket, archery, fencing, racquetball, fishing, golf, skiing, snowboarding, weightlifting, gymnastics, swimming, biking, equestrian/horse racing, rowing, bowling, darts and auto racing. Also in the suite are a video-game controller (eSports) and a die (gambling). There is no lacrosse emoji.
To recap: Harambe? Yes! Lacrosse stick? No. This makes people really upset. Only in the year 2016 could we reach a point where people are using all-caps words to describe their disgust at not having a pictogram to use in lieu of words. Bless millenials. (I am one.)
Steps are being taken to rectify this first-world problem. Last week, the executive director of The Tewaaraton Foundation, the president and CEO of US Lacrosse, and a sports and social media executive teamed with a graphic designer to submit a "lacrosse stick and ball emoji" to the Unicode Consortium, the nonprofit devoted to standardizing emojis across operating systems and hardware.
The 11-page submission letter is notable for its tone, which vacillates from that of a neglected child ("The number of high schools with lacrosse teams and participants across the U.S. also significantly surpasses that of ice hockey") to a deeply serious historian ("Rooted in centuries of Native American tradition, lacrosse is commonly viewed as founded by the Iroquois Nation, or Haudenosaunee, as a 'gift from the Creator' that binds the community together") to a line in a Wikipedia article ("Lacrosse was featured in the longest-running American sitcom, The Simpsons, on 11/6/16 after 600 episodes and 28 seasons").
But it is a compelling document, complete with charts, testimonials, evidence of the sport's growing global popularity and documentation of previous appeals for lacrosse emojis. There are even ready-made PNG files of the suggested emoji depictions, with traditional- and modern-stick options.
The newest Unicode Standard is set for release in mid-2017, and lacrosse is not yet a candidate for inclusion alongside such other emojis as "Person In Lotus Position." For the sake of everyone playing the fastest-growing sport in America and determined to tweet about it, let's hope it makes the cut.
Only then can we turn our attention to the real emoji quandary, and a deeply personal one at that: Where the redheads at?