The origin of lacrosse

Sean Callaghan, Sports Reporter

Lacrosse has its origin in a tribal game played by eastern Woodlands Native Americans and by some Plains Indians tribes in what is now Canada. The game was modified by European immigrants to North America to create its current collegiate and professional form. Lacrosse is now Canada’s national sport.

The game began with the ball being tossed into the air. Two sides rushing to catch it. With the large number of players involved, these games generally tended to involve a huge mob of players swarming the ball and eventually moving across the field. Passing the ball at the time was thought of as a trick, rather than a strategy. Passing was also seen as a cowardly attempt to dodge an opponent.

Lacrosse is one of the oldest team sports in North America. There is evidence that a different version of lacrosse originated in Canada as early as the 17th century. Traditional lacrosse games were sometimes major events. Games could last as many as several days. Often they were very high tempo and intense the whole time. 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 apart.

Some early lacrosse balls were made out of wood, while others were made of deer skin stuffed with hair. They were typically three inches in diameter. The first lacrosse sticks were basically giant wooden spoons with no netting. Eventually the Natives made a more advanced stick with longer shafts and netting.

What started from giant, spiritual, extremely dangerous, and never ending lacrosse play has transformed extensively. Lacrosse is now a game where there are a certain number of people allowed on the field, players get payed to play on a professional team, no religion is involved, players wear protective gear, and there is a time limit. All of these changes occurred upon the arrival of Europeans in North America and have since then stuck.

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