The Origin of Lacrosse
Invented in the 1100s by the Native American tribes, Lacrosse was a game being played by the people who were based on plain states in the north which is present-day Canada.
Initially, this game involved hundreds of men who played the game using, a ball and sticksof different structures and they participated without using any protective gear. It was one of the most widely played team sport during its time. The people who took part in the native version of this game considered it as an athletic contest of great pride, spiritual significance, and skills.
The game was so popular that in the history of sports, Lacrosse was considered an original national pastime.
The indigenous participants had believed that this game was given to them with the creator for enjoyment purposes. Not only that but it was also played to help in settling disputes, aid in the participants’ spiritual development. It also helped in the healing process and also it was played when the natives were preparing themselves for war. This is because the game toughened the warriors and got them ready.
Lacrosse was also played for recreational purposes, and the traditional toss-up included the people playing the game shouting the name of their creator holding their sticks rose facing the sky.
Lacrosse was a name derived from a French missionary called Jean de Brébeufwho often used to watch the Iroquois playing it there before in the 1630s. Hence, “lacrosse” was a French word meaning stick. Lacrosse was not an easy game to play, so the Native Americans gave the game some colorful nicknames which included “the little brother of war”, and the Mohawks named this.
The game was played to the 1800s where the Canadian colleges later joined them. Where the first university or college in the United States, lacrosse was introduced as their sports in New York University in 1877.
In the Dakota communities and Minnesota’s Ojibway, the traditional game had come to an end between forty to ninety years. This was due to the influence of the government, the extensive diffusion of their traditional culture, and also their assimilation of religious policies. To top it up, lacrosse was seen as a harsh game, and it involved gambling.
However, there was a version of two wooden stick games which was still played at pow-wows and flairs by the southern tribes which comprised of the Cherokee and the Seminole. It was also noted that in the upstate of Ontario, Canada, and New York, the Iroquois have never ceased playing that game and surprisingly, they have even been accredited with introducing that particular game to the settlers in European three hundred years ago. They have also embraced the modern game that is played using helmets and plastic sticks (1).
The Revival of Lacrosse
This is derived from the experience of 1763, the Ojibway and Sauk had a plan where they were to recapture upper Michigan from the British who were at war with some French, and so they controlled the upper Midwest.
The Ojibway and Sauk had a unique plan that the French would not resist. This is because they preferred the French trading practices over those of the British. They were to use the Lacrosse game which would distract the British soldiers, so they take over the fort. The time was set during the Kings Birthday of the English, so the soldiers will be free and off duty to be entertained by the wagering on the game, Beers, W. G. (1869). Lacrosse: The national sport of Canada. New York: Townsend & Adams.
When the time came, they used women from both tribes who lined up on the walls just along the main gate with knives, war clubs and tomahawks under their blankets and shawls. So, when the game began, the ball was directed to the fort.
From both teams, in confusion, the players dropped their sticks and started grabbing weapons from those women. They stormed the innocent British through the central open gate, and that is how they captured all the goods and the fort thus defeating the British.
The Types of Lacrosse Played Today
There are four types of this game played today.
- Mini lacrosse (soft lacrosse)
This type is played by beginners and is primarily taught in the gym classes. This is an expensive modified version that mostly stresses the basic skills that do not involve stick checking and body contact.
- Indoor lacrosse (box lacrosse)
This was initially invented in Canada and is played six on six on turf covered hockey rinks or in cement. Mostly it preferred during the summer time with the rules of the game applied and used hockey equipment. In this type of lacrosse game, it stresses on the skills, and the speed of both basketball and hockey with a different contact, the skills of lacrosse applied meaning no skating is required, and also the physical demands apply.
- Men’s field lacrosse
This type is played on a ten to ten on a football-sized field where the spring is closer to the traditional native game than indoor lacrosse. It does not have much difference but features the same lacrosse practiced skills and with a wide-open action, a good strategy and a well-set position. It is also a National Federated High school sport that is programmed throughout the United States.
- Women’s field lacrosse
The women’s field lacrosse is plated on a twelve to twelve with no boundaries in between, with the body checking game of men’s lacrosse. Surprisingly, this is a fast-paced and very highly skilled game that is retaining more of the native game, the original lacrosse than any other version of the sport (2).
In conclusion, the first NCAA men’s lacrosse game of championship was held in 1971, for women’s championship it was held in 1982 and in 1998, the US Lacrosse was formed. This is the governing body for both men and women lacrosse in the United States. Later on, the Major League Lacrosse was formed in the year 2001.
Amelia is the founder and chief editor of Stayhealthyways.com.