Lacrosse really is the original team sport of America, and was developed by the North American Natives over many centuries. It’s kind of a mixture between basketball, hockey and soccer, it’s fast moving, exciting and you need to be very skilful to play successfully – a great mixture for a great team sport then really, just exactly what sport is all about.
What is Lacrosse
Field Lacrosse – Lacrosse can be played in 2 different ways really, there’s Field Lacrosse which is played on a field (no, you don’t say?) measuring 110 yards x 60 yards, so there’s a lot of running up and down to do for starters. With 10 in each team, the object of the game is to get the ball into the goal, a 6′ x 6′ net at the end of the field (one on each end for each team, a bit like soccer). You need to be physically fit, but also skilful in using your lacrosse stick (simply known as a “crosse” by many). This is used to scoop, catch and throw the ball, ultimately into the goal. Every member of the team has a crosse, some have short sticks and some have long, but the head of the crosse always measures the same distance, 6.5 inches.
Box Lacrosse – this is the indoor version of lacrosse, and is played on ice hockey rinks – sound slippery? It’s ok, they cover the ice over with artificial turf (although it would certainly be entertaining if they left it alone wouldn’t it?) With just 6 to a team, it’s pretty much the same as Field Lacrosse but smaller and, largely because of that, much faster too. This version of Lacrosse was originally developed in the 1930’s as a way to increase revenue for ice hockey arenas – good thinking batman! The goal is a bit smaller (well, it’s nearer isn’t it?) and they have the added pressure of a shot clock, each team must take a shot at the goal within 30 seconds of gaining possession – there’s certainly no time to stand around thinking about it, when you play Box Lacrosse.
History of Lacrosse
As I’ve already mentioned, Lacrosse was originally developed by the North American Natives who used it for sport, to resolve conflict, heal the sick (not sure how that works), develop their men to have strength and virility, in religious ceremonies and also to prepare the warriors for war (no surprises there then). There are tales of games lasting for many days, involving hundreds of men over miles of field, with balls made from deerskin, stone, clay or even wood. Wonder how many balls they had, you’d think half of the players wouldn’t even catch a glimpse of it wouldn’t you. It is rumored that Indians would sometimes play lacrosse until death and would be buried in the field. Now that is a green funeral. No wonder that once the Europeans spotted what was going on they modified it to a more manageable (and less life threatening) level!
Lacrosse in the USA
Lacrosse has been rather a regional sport historically, being played mainly in or around Florida, Colorado, Texas, New York as well as the mid-Atlantic states, but recently its popularity has spread to areas such as North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and the mid-West.
Lacrosse in the USA is played largely at College level and is now one of the fastest growing team sports in the whole of the United States, in fact, no other sport has ever grown quite so fast at high school over the last 10 years wiith an estimated 228,000 high school players regularly taking part in Lacrosse games.
You really don’t need lots of fancy equipment to be able to enjoy a game of Lacrosse. Of course, it’s very important that you have a Lacrosse, and somewhere to play, but that’s about it, along with tons of energy and enthusiasm. It really is a very skilful sport, and some of those Lacrosse sticks can be pretty difficult to master.
Short Sticks typically measure between 40 inches and 42 inches, and are used mostly by defenders or the midfield players.
Long Sticks measure between 52″ and 72″ long, but only a maximum of four players are permitted to use them in each team.
The goalkeeper is allowed to have whatever size stick he wants – anywhere between 40″ and 72″, with a bigger head of around 12″.