History of lacrosse provides insights into the sport

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Photo courtesy Ari Glazier

Senior Ari Glazier cradles the ball in a game against Churchill last year.

In St. Lawrence Valley in 1630, the first Europeans witnessed Native Americans playing a strange game. Interested in what was being played, the travelers recorded a description of the game, writing that it was physical and fast. They walked up to the tribe’s leader and asked what they were playing. The tribe’s leader said, “lacrosse.”

Since 1630, lacrosse has been expanding throughout the United States and Canada. Recently, the popularity of lacrosse has been growing at an exponential rate. “Lacrosse grew by 47% and 43.1% respectively since 2018,” according to laxcamps.com.

A big reason for the expansion of lacrosse is the formation of college and professional league games. NCAA lacrosse was the most popular form of lacrosse, with 282,140 people watching the 2019 NCAA men’s championship game, according to ESPN2.

Due to college lacrosse leading the way with the popularity of the sport, lacrosse has made a professional league in 2018 called the Premier Lacrosse League (PLL). Fans wanted to see their favorite college players take their talents to the next level. This was a massive leap for the sport because now lacrosse can endorse players by selling their jerseys and making bobbleheads and stickers of the players. With the first season played before COVID, the PLL championship racketed up 340,000 viewers on NBC. “I think the PLL will increase in popularity during the next few years, and if they market their players and teams well enough, the possibilities are endless for lacrosse,” junior Reza Abediyeh said.

Due to football, Americans have always loved physical sports, but football is too dangerous for kids, according to menshealth.com. Lots of people look at lacrosse as a physical game that is much safer than football, leading to parents putting their kids in lacrosse. “Lacrosse players have about two-thirds the injuries of soccer players; one half the number of hockey players, and about one-tenth the injuries of football and rugby players,” according to the Canadian Hospitals Injury Reporting and Prevention Program.

I started playing lacrosse because I wanted a fast paced sport and to have contact.”

— Ari Glazier

Concussions tell a lot about the sport’s safety. It is way more likely to have a head-to-head collision in football than it is in lacrosse. “I started playing lacrosse because I wanted a fast paced sport and to have contact. I wanted to try football but my parents said it was too dangerous, so I tried lacrosse and loved it,” senior Ari Glazier said.

Another reason lacrosse is getting so popular is that it is played by both boys and girls. According to statista.com, lacrosse is the sixth most popular sport for girls, with 93,473 girls playing in 2019. Although the game is a little different for girls and boys, all players can bond over the love for the game, spreading it throughout their community. “It helps that lacrosse is played by both genders because it allows interactions between everyone, which can attract even more people because it makes the sport feel more inclusive,” sophomore Sofie Vinick said.