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An Awesome Game - Lacrosse

Apr 26, 2008
The long standing official summer sport in Canada, lacrosse is gaining popularity in the United States. Lacrosse, already popular at many east coast schools, is spreading across the nation and is already played in at least 20 countries around the world.

Originally invented by Native Americans, lacrosse is North America's oldest team sport. During the 1600's, French missionaries chronicled the game which the native peoples called baggataway. Those same missionaries called the game la crosse because the stick used to play the game resembled the cross that bishops carried.

Lacrosse is played by boys and girls, women and men from post college age down to grammar school. More than 5,500 women actually play lacrosse at upwards of 240 universities and colleges across the U.S. Estimates of as many as 125,000 kids around the country are participating in lacrosse. 4,500 programs are documented around the U.S.

Lacrosse rules are different for men's and women's clubs and on the surface seem quite complicated to anyone unfamiliar with the game. A men's lacrosse match might remind an observer of a combination of field hockey, soccer and American football. Maybe these younger sports borrowed some aspects of play from the native sport of baggataway.

Lacrosse Basics:

Lacrosse players use a stick to pass and carry a rubber ball that is around the size of a standard baseball. On one end of the stick is a head with nylon cording strung to create a pocket for the ball. Each player carries a stick and uses it to throw and catch the ball, carry the ball while running and displace the ball from an opponent. Cradling is the practice of keeping the ball in the pocket while running.

Each team has a goal, as in soccer. The goal tender or goalie has a stick with a much enlarged head to aid in stopping opponent scores. The basic point of the game is for one team to score more goals than the other during the regulation time period, which differs from high school to college.

Men's lacrosse requires some elaborate padding for shoulders, arms and ribs along with gloves. This is due to the fact that physical contact is allowed in men's lacrosse in a similar though not as blatant or necessary way as American football. Women's lacrosse players need no padding because contact is not allowed. Some choose to wear eye protection and/or nose guards and gloves. Helmets are not required in women's lacrosse, but are mandatory in men's.

Lacrosse games start with a face off at midfield. The team consists of attackmen, defensemen, midfielders and a goalie. Depending on whether it is a men's or women's team, there will be 10 men or 12 women on the field at any given time. Women's lacrosse games are played on a larger field than men's and therefore require more players.

Higher level lacrosse games are officiated by three people, a field judge, referee and umpire. They keep watch over the game looking for technical (holding or grabbing) fouls and personal (tripping or slashing) fouls. Lacrosse requires certain position-players to stay to one side of the midfield line and of course there can only be the required number of players on the field while the ball is in play.

Lacrosse is a quick and sometimes aggressive game that requires good eye-hand coordination and excellent stamina. Team sports always have the added benefit of teaching teamwork and cooperation. While more high schools and colleges add lacrosse to their sports calendars, it will be easier to see a match. Then you'll understand why lacrosse is spreading across the country.
About the Author
To see more about the popular sport of lacrosse, visit K.L. Amadio's website, Lacrosse-Information for all-inclusive insight to this rapidly growing sport. Parents, get more info on lacrosse positions for your kids.
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