Lacrosse is a team sport originated by several tribes of Native Americans. There are three versions of the modern game as governed by the Federation of International Lacrosse, the international governing body: field lacrosse, women’s lacrosse, and box lacrosse (or indoor lacrosse). All are played using a solid rubber ball and a long-handled instrument called a crosse or lacrosse stick. The head of the lacrosse stick has a net strung into it that holds the lacrosse ball. In the men’s version of the game, the net is loose and forms a pocket, while the lacrosse stick in the women’s version has a taut net. Offensively, the object of the game is to use the lacrosse stick to catch, carry (by cradling), and pass the ball in an effort to score by ultimately shooting the ball into an opponent’s goal. The defensive object is to keep the opposing team from scoring and to dispossess them of the ball through the use of stick “checking” (and body checking in the men’s version). The sport is popular in North America. It is played internationally with increasing popularity. It is the official national summer sport of Canada.
Source: Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lacrosse)
A Brief Overview of Lacrosse’s Native American Roots
Lacrosse was created by Native Americans . Its name was dehuntshigwa’es in Onondaga (“men hit a rounded object”), da-nah-wah’uwsdi in Eastern Cherokee (“little war”), Tewaarathon in Mohawk language (“little brother of war”), and baaga`adowe in Ojibwe (“bump hips”).
Lacrosse is the oldest team sport in North America and possibly the world. There is evidence that a version of lacrosse originated in Mesoamerica or Mexico as early as the 1100s. Native American lacrosse was played throughout modern Canada and America, but was most popular around the Great Lakes and Eastern seaboard .
Traditional lacrosse games were sometimes major events that could last several days. As many as 100 to 1,000 men from opposing villages or tribes would participate. The games were played in open plains located between the two villages, and the goals could range from 500 yards (460 m) to several miles apart.
Rules for these games were decided on the day before. Generally there was no out-of-bounds, and the ball could not be touched with the hands. The goals would be selected as large rocks or trees; in later years wooden posts were used. Playing time was often from sun up to sun down.
The game began with the ball being tossed into the air and the two sides rushing to catch it. Because of the large number of players involved, these games generally tended to involve a huge mob of players swarming the ball and slowly moving across the field. Passing the ball was thought of as a trick, and it was seen as cowardly to dodge an opponent.
The medicine men acted as coaches, and the women of the tribe were usually limited to serving refreshments to the players. (There was also a women’s version of lacrosse called amtah, which used much shorter sticks with larger heads.)
Lacrosse traditionally had many different purposes. Some games were played to settle inter-tribal disputes. This function was essential to keeping the Six Nations of the Iroquois together. Lacrosse was also played to toughen young warriors for combat, for recreation, as part of festivals, and for the bets involved. Finally, lacrosse was played for religious reasons: “for the pleasure of the Creator ” and to collectively pray for something.
Source: Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_lacrosse)