Lacrosse is one of the oldest sports in North America, but it's still fighting to get its due in the national spotlight. Thankfully the game is growing rapidly, and youth clubs across the country have sparked a new generation of lacrosse superstars.
Anyone who’s spent time playing or watching lacrosse knows it can be a thrilling game, with agility, hand-eye coordination, and, yes, a little aggression thrown in the mix.
Lacrosse finds its roots in indigenous American sports that date back to 1100 AD. Popular among many tribes across North America, lacrosse games were sprawling events, with hundreds of players competing on a field that could span several miles.
Colonizers observed and appropriated the game in the 17th century, giving it a new name. A missionary from France, Jean de Brébeuf, called it la crosse, about the stick players held and noting its similarities to the game field hockey.
With new rules and a much smaller playing field, lacrosse gained some popularity in the 19th century, especially in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States.
It was even played in the Olympics in 1904 and 1908 and held as a demonstration game a few decades later.
Lacrosse remained a niche sport, localized to the east coast until the early aughts when interest began to grow, particularly in youth clubs. At the same time, college lacrosse entered the zeitgeist, with teams like Duke, Syracuse, and Hofstra making names for themselves.
There are a variety of professional leagues for the best players. Major League Lacrosse was founded in 2001, the National Lacrosse League in 1974, then again in 1986. Most recently, the Premier Lacrosse League hit the scene in 2018.
Teams have come and gone and moved around quite a bit, including the Arizona Sting, the Boston Bolts, and the Syracuse Smash. If you’ve followed the sport for some time, these names should evoke a certain amount of nostalgia and thrill — if you know, you know. Lacrosse fans are a small but mighty contingent that is always ready to ride for the sport. At the end of the day, we’re excited to get more sticks into more hands and spread the game far and wide.
Something this much fun should pack stadiums. One day, we’re sure it will.