Everyone has heard of lacrosse but that doesn’t mean everyone knows about the game or the history of it. The fact is lacrosse is one of the oldest games around. It began in the United States and Canada all the way back when the Native Americans used to run the land in the area. The two tribes that are the most responsible for the game at its earliest inception were the Huron tribe and the Iroquois tribe. However, it isn’t like we see it today.
Today, lacrosse is simply a sport and something to be played for enjoyment and purely for the love of the game. Back when the Native Americans were playing, it had more to do with using the ball game as part of a rigorous religious ritual and it was used as a way to resolve conflicts which is a novel concept in today’s adult world. And they also thought it was helpful in preparing men for war and making strong men. There were stories of games that involved over a century of men waiting to play and the fields that they were playing on were much bigger than today’s fields ever could have been. The balls back then too were made of clay or stone and, on occasion, wood.
If you are looking for an exact timeline it appears that it could have been done in the 12th century but, since its inception as one of the worlds oldest team sports, there have been many many changes that have impacted the sport in a positive way and have given it the commercial appeal it has been so desperately needing. The fact is lacrosse probably doesn’t belong to anyone in this country. It was here well before our time and has only evolved since it came around.
The Growth of Lacrosse
All games and sports evolve, but today’s lacrosse fan would be baffled if they saw an old-fashioned version of the game. The field would be endless, players would reach the triple digits, and the game would go on for more than half a day. But it was William George Beers in 1867 who played the first lacrosse game under new rules at the Upper Canada College. He had shortened the time, the field and the people involved. The game from there exploded and began being played by high schools and universities in the early 1900’s. It was in the 1928 and 1932 Olympics.
Its exposure to the US was limited to a regional even in places like New York, Texas, and Florida. There has been a recent growing popularity in some of the other southeastern states. It’s gotten more well known in the mainstream media in years and some of it was due to some unwanted press but, none the less, there was a rise in the visibility. This also led to unique innovations in the sport, including the introduction of a plastic stick head. This was revolutionary as it allowed for the game to be much faster as there was less weight to the stick. This ramp up in speed made it that much better and more attractive to American audiences.
The game also moved from a bigger field to the smaller fields. This came due to the invention of something called box lacrosse. This allowed the game to be played indoors and became a hit in Canada. The reasons for that is because there is such severe winter weather that many sports can’t be played outdoors. Lacrosse is growing around the world as more and more people are recognizing what a challenging, fast-paced, and energetic sport it is. It’s popularity will continue to grow.
Making Lacrosse Contemporary
Lacrosse hasn’t always been limited to one of the best college sports in the world. The fact is that lacrosse has been around for much longer than most people know and has played significant roles in the development of the communities and the religious lives of those tribes over and across the continents for many years. Lacrosse was considered something that was done in the spirit of combat and the warriors who played the game took on that ideal. They played it for their gods.
So how did it go from a Native American game to something that is slowly becoming a mainstream college sport? In 1637 it was the first time that a European person had ever written about the game in a book that was called lacrosse. The missionary Jean de Brebeuf wrote about the sport which was being called “field hockey.”
But it wasn’t until 1856 when William George Beers founded a lacrosse club in the city of Montreal, was lacrosse really something that was more than just a Native American sport. But when Beers created the lacrosse club he did so with the idea of making some serious changes to the sport that would make it easier to play. The first thing he did was make the game shorter. This would allow the game to be played recreationally and to be done more than just once a week.
The other issue he had was with the number of players. There were over 100 players who used to play. He since reduced the players to twelve each team. This is some of the changes that you can see today if you were to attend a local lacrosse game or if you are playing a lacrosse game. The first game was played under the lacrosse rules in 1867.