Little Bits of History


Posted in History by patriciahysell on March 12, 2011

Crossed lacrosse sticks

March 11, 1882: Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association is organized in Princeton, New Jersey. Lacrosse is a North American team sport based on the game played by Native Americans. It is mainly played on the East Coast and in Canada. The object of the game is to score a goal by throwing a rubber ball into a guarded net, rather like hockey or soccer. A lacrosse stick is used to move the ball. This is stick with a with a head loosely strung with mesh designed to hold and then toss the ball to team members.

The game may have evolved as early as the 5th century, but it has undergone many modifications since then. In the traditional game played in Canada, there were 100 to 1,000 men on a field that ranged from 500 yards to a couple miles long. They played from sunup to sundown for two to three days straight. This was part of a traditional, ritual, thanksgiving ceremony to the Creator. The game incorporated great spiritual meaning and was representative of combat tactics. The winners would bring glory to themselves and their tribes. It was sometimes called “The Creator’s Game.” It was dubbed lacrosse by a Jesuit missionary, Jean De Brébeuf.

In 1856 a Canadian dentist, William George Beers, founded the Montreal Lacrosse Club. In 1867 he went further and codified the game, reducing teams to 12 players per team. In that same year, the first college team played under the new Beers rules. The game spread to many American high schools, colleges, and universities. It was a demonstration sport for the 1928 and 1932 Olympics. The game’s popularity continues to spread. At first mostly played by Canadian and northern states in the US, the game is spreading farther south in the US and across Canada.

The Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association [MCLA] oversees games and conducts national championships. They represent teams in both North America and Canada. There are 213 teams divided into ten conferences. Their governing structure is much like the NCAA’s. There are eligibility rules as well as All-American and national tournaments. These decide the national champions in Divisions I and II. The popularity of the sport is increasing rapidly. In 1997 there were only 70 teams. The 2010 champions were the University of Michigan over Arizona State University with a score of 12-11.

“I’m extremely pleased with how our first year is going. Before this season, we only had two players who had any lacrosse experience.” – Mike Dubbelde

“I’m a lacrosse player and I’m not rowdy. I was an altar boy, The kids here know the difference between what’s on the field and off.” – Jack Moran

“It’s a family; lacrosse is not like any other sport, it’s more of a way of life.” – Adam Gardner

“What a way to promote lacrosse down here. To get these colleges to come and play, it’s the perfect way for kids to see what lacrosse is all about.” – Ann Tosky

Also on this day:
Freedom of the Press? – In 1702, England got its first daily newspaper, The Daily Courant.
Great Sheffield Flood – In 1864, the Great Inundation took place.


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