Tuesday, November 11, 2008

What is the difference between men’s and women’s lacrosse?

Men’s lacrosse and women’s lacrosse have the same origins, but today they have evolved into very different sports. Since limited stick and body contact is allowed in men’s lacrosse, protective clothing including gloves, a helmet, shoulder pads, arm pads and a mouth piece must be worn at all times.
Women’s lacrosse is played with 12 players where men’s lacrosse only has 10. In women’s lacrosse there is one goalie, six defenders and five attack players. The attack and defensive players stay on their own sides of the field. Another difference between men’s and women’s lacrosse is that in men’s lacrosse you only have ten players allowed on the field at any time. 1 goalie, 3 defenders, 3 middies, and 3 attack. Although players can switch positions, it is required that their always be 3 offensive players and 3 defensive players at all times on their side of the court.
Some say that women’s lacrosse is truer to its original ancestor because boundaries are not as strictly enforced and the play is on a longer field. Women’s lacrosse goals for example are 100 yards apart where men’s are only 80 yards a part. Also women wear only goggles and thin gloves when they play. Both games however, are full of strategy, agility, intelligence and teamwork. Both varieties of lacrosse are very entertaining to watch and fun to play.

Every four years top athletes from the top various clubs or colleges get the chance to compete and the US teams. Men play for the Lacrosse World Championship and women compete for the women’s lacrosse World Cup. These are often referred to as lacrosse Olympics. Currently (2008) there are more than a dozen competing countries.

Is lacrosse a violent sport?

According to the US lacrosse website, “violence is neither condoned nor allowed.” But if that were entirely true how could it be any fun? I love lacrosse for the aggressiveness and agility that it requires. I think the most important attributes are intelligence, speed, coordination and aggression. But lacrosse teaches you how to try your best and do hard things and that is what makes it so much fun.
I remember the first day of try outs freshman year, (my 1st time ever playing lacrosse) the ambulance came to pick up two players for being stupid. I thought, "Man lacrosse is a violent sport!" (Something about illegal cross-check from behind.) Statistically, however, it isn’t any more dangerous than football, hockey, boxing or basketball. This was the only ambulance we saw in 4 years.
At practice we would do 2 on 1s and 3 on 2 ball down drills. The best is when in the 2 on 1 both players yell ‘man’ instead of having one yell ball, and the guy in the middle gets turned into a sandwich. This is about as violent or as fun as it gets.
Lacrosse is the only sport I know of where you can knock someone out of bounds with the ball and get a turnover.
The truth is that although there is some aggression and violence. The pads should protect you and it is very rare to see a serious injury. Now that I am older, I would not have any trouble allowing my children to play this sport and I look forward to the opportunity I will soon have to be their coach!

The History of Lacrosse

Lacrosse history is very old and extremely interesting. is the oldest game played on the North American continent still in existence today. Many believe lacrosse a was first played by the Iroquios Indians. This sport is over 350 years old. They used very primitive wooden lacrosse sticks, a leather pocket and a round ball for a rock. The field expanded for 1 to 15 miles. At that time the game was very violent as it often prepared warriors for battle. It is said that often tribal disputes could be settled by challenging the other tribe to a game of lacrosse. The winner would than win the dispute.
Since it conception, the history of lacrosse has evolved dramatically. According to the official US lacrosse website ”Lacrosse is one of the fastest growing team sports in the United States. Youth participation in the sport has grown over 500% since 1999 to nearly 250,000. No sport has grown faster at the high school level over the last 10 years and there are now an estimated 200,000 high school players. Lacrosse is also the fastest-growing sport over the last six years at the NCAA level, and that's just the tip of the iceberg. There are more than 500 college club programs, including nearly 200 women's teams that compete at the US Lacrosse Intercollegiate Associates level.” (www.uslacrosse.org)
In the last 25 years there has been an explosion in the popularity of the sport. Never has lacrosse history been more exiting to watch and be a part of. Lacrosse has even been named as the official summer sport of Canada. Here in the U.S. lacrosse has spread rapidly from the east coast to the Midwest, to the western states. New England is the most popular location, but the most explosive growth has been in places like Colorado, Nevada, California, Washington, and Utah. It seems to do really well in middle class suburban neighborhoods. Although eastern colleges like Syracuse, University of Virginia, Maryland have traditionally lead the way in terms of skill and talent. Today western universities like CAL and BYU are becoming more and more of a threat.