A History Brief Of Lacrosse

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A game of American origin, lacrosse is played with a small rubber ball along with a racquet that has a long handle which is called a crosse or a lacrosse stick. The head of the lacrosse stick has a basket kind of lose netting that is made to hold the ball in. The objective of the game is to catch, carry, and pass the ball in order to score a goal in the opponent’s goal. Each team tries to keep the other dispossessed of the ball for as long as possible. It has three major types- Men’s field Lacrosse, Women’s lacrosse and Box lacrosse.

It originated in the Huron and Iroquois tribes of the United States and Canada. There were many tribes that included the game as a part of their rituals to resolve conflicts, heal people, help men prepare for war and also to help them increase their virility and strength. In the earlier days, lacrosse balls were of deerskin, stone, clay, and even wood.

The game had a spiritual significance too in the early times and was said to be played in the name of the creator it was called “the creator’s game”. Lacrosse is one of the oldest American team sports and could have its origin since the 12th century. A French Jesuit missionary called Jean de Brebeuf was the first person to write about the sport after he saw some Iroquois people playing it. It is said that the name of the game originated from the French for field hockey- le jeu de la crosse, while some believe it is named after a staff carried by the Bishops called the Crosier.

In 1856 the Montreal Lacrosse club was founded by a Canadian dentist named William George Beers. He took up the task of framing rules and codes for the game in 1867. He reduced the duration and number of players in the game which in ancient times was over a thousand men from different tribes. The first ever game to be played under these rules was at the Upper Canada College in 1867 itself. By the 1900s the game had become a popular event in schools, colleges and universities. In the 1928 and 1932 Olympics, it was played as a demonstration game. On each of the event the Johns Hopkins Blue Jays won the playoff. The game was played outdoors till the 1930s when the Canadian hockey arenas developed a compact version of the game that could be played indoors. This was called box lacrosse. It was a great way to make good the investments done on these arenas.

Due to severe winters limiting outdoor sport time, box lacrosse became a very popular indoor sport in Canada in a really short time span. There has been a revival for field lacrosse recently, initiated by CULFA (Canadian University Field Lacrosse Association) which began a collegiate men’s league in 1985. Now it is a game that includes over twelve varsities. In the year 1994, Lacrosse was declared as Canada’s National Summer Sport when the National Sports Act (bill C-212) was passed.

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