LACROSSE 101 - WHAT IS THIS GAME?
Lacrosse is a team sport played with a lacrosse stick and a lacrosse ball. It is the oldest organized sport in North America, with its origins in a tribal game played by the indigenous peoples of the Eastern Woodlands and by various other indigenous peoples of North America. The game was extensively modified reducing the violence by European colonizers to create its current collegiate and professional form.
Players use the head of the lacrosse stick to carry, pass, catch, and shoot the ball into the goal. The men's games, field lacrosse (outdoor) and box lacrosse (indoor) are contact sports and all players wear protective gear: helmet, gloves, shoulder pads, and elbow pads.
Lacrosse is based on games played by various Native American communities as early as 1100 AD. By the 17th century, a version of lacrosse was well-established and was documented by Jesuit missionary priests in the territory of present-day Canada.
In the traditional aboriginal Canadian version, each team consisted of about 100 to 1,000 men on a field several miles (several kilometers) long. These games lasted from sunup to sundown for two to three days straight and were played as part of ceremonial ritual, a kind of symbolic warfare, or to give thanks to the Creator or Master.
Lacrosse played a significant role in the community and religious life of tribes across the continent for many years. Early lacrosse was characterized by deep spiritual involvement, befitting the spirit of combat in which it was undertaken. Those who took part did so in the role of warriors, with the goal of bringing glory and honor to themselves and their tribes. The game was said to be played "for the Creator" or was referred to as "The Creator's Game."
The French Jesuit missionary Jean de Brébeuf saw Huron tribesmen play the game during 1637 in present-day Ontario. He called it la crosse, "the stick" in French. The name seems to be originated from the French term for field hockey, le jeu de la crosse.
James Smith described in some detail a game being played in 1757 by Mohawk people "wherein now they used a wooden ball, about 3 inches (7.6 cm) in diameter, and the instrument they moved it with was a strong staff about 5 feet (1.5 m) long, with a hoop net on the end of it, large enough to contain the ball."
Anglophones from Montreal noticed the game being played by Mohawk people and started playing themselves in the 1830s. In 1856, William George Beers, a Canadian dentist, founded the Montreal Lacrosse Club. In 1860, Beers codified the game, shortening the length of each game and reducing the number of players to 12 per team. The first game played under Beers's rules was at Upper Canada Collegein 1867; they lost to the Toronto Cricket Club by a score of 3–1.
The new sport proved to be very popular and spread across the English-speaking world; by 1900 there were dozens of men's clubs in Canada, the United States, England, Australia, and New Zealand. The women's game was introduced by Louisa Lumsden in Scotland in 1890. The first women's club in the United States was started by Rosabelle Sinclair at Bryn Mawr School in 1926.
In the United States, lacrosse during the late 1800s and first half of the 1900s was primarily a regional sport centered around the Mid-Atlantic states, especially New York and Maryland. However, in the last half of the 20th century, the sport spread outside this region, and can be currently found in most of the United States. According to a survey conducted by US Lacrosse in 2016, there are over 825,000 lacrosse participants nationwide and lacrosse is the fastest-growing team sport among NFHS member schools.
The lacrosse stick has two parts, the head, and the shaft. There are three parts to the head: the scoop, sidewall, and pocket. The scoop is the top of the stick that affects picking up ground balls as well as passing and shooting. The sidewall is the side of the head that affects the depth of the head and the stiffness. The pocket is the leather or nylon mesh attached to the sidewall and scoop. Shafts are usually made of hollow metal. The ball is made of solid rubber. It is typically white for men's lacrosse. Men's field lacrosse protective equipment contains a pair of gloves, elbow pads, shoulder pads, helmet, mouthguard, and cleats.
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The Lacrosse Club of Montclair has been growing the game of lacrosse in Montclair and the surrounding region since 1962. Our mission is to instill the love of this great game in the hearts of Montclair’s boys and their families from a very young age through High School and beyond.