On The Sideline: Lacrosse

When people think about lacrosse, the first things that come to their minds are shorts, sticks and skirts. But do they think of Canada? Or a religious ritual? How can lacrosse be related to these things?

Lacrosse first originated among Native American tribes as a sport designed to train warriors, solve inter-tribal conflicts and give thanks to the Creator. It was given its name by French missionaries because the game was played with a staff. Shorthand for “le jeu de la crosse” (the game of the hooked stick), lacrosse was originally played with 100 to 1,000 players.

Now lacrosse only has ten players as opposed to hundreds. The object of the game is to shoot a small ball of rubber into the opponent’s goal by scooping, catching and carrying the ball down the field. Each quarter of the game is started with a “face-off” where the ball is placed in the middle of the field and one player from each team steps forward to fight for possession of the ball.

There are four positions in a lacrosse team: Attackman, Midfielder, Defenseman and Goalie. Attackmen are on offense and Defensemen on defense. The Midfielders can be switched to defense or offense depending on the team’s needs. The Goalie must be calm – and loud – at all times to keep control of the defensive half of the field.

There are differences within lacrosse. Indoor or box lacrosse is played on a smaller field with less people; it is also extremely popular in Canada. Women’s lacrosse has different rules in place to protect the players from harm, as well as keep the amount of physical contact at a minimum. Even the lengths of the sticks, or crosses, are different.

Lacrosse is quite a fast-paced game, no doubt due to its early beginning as war training. However, thanks to these fun facts, no one at Eastern will ever think of or watch lacrosse the same way again.

Information from wikipedia.com. If there’s a sport you would like to see featured or if you have questions, please email cpost@eastern.edu.

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