Ohio High School Lacrosse

Lacrosse is an exciting game that not too many Midwestern people know about, but they may soon find out more.

The French Jesuit missionary, Jean de Brébeuf, saw Iroquois tribesmen play Lacrosse in 1637 and was the first European to write about the game.[6] He called it lacrosse. Some say the name originated from the French term for field hockey, le jeu de la crosse.[7] Others suggest that it was named after the crosier, a staff carried by bishops.[8]

In the United States, lacrosse had primarily been a regional sport centered in and around Colorado, Florida, upstate New York, Texas, and mid-Atlantic states. In recent years, its popularity has started to spread south to Georgia, North Carolina, Alabama and Florida, and the Midwest. The sport has gained increasing visibility in the media, with a growth of college, high school, and youth programs throughout the country. The NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Championship has the highest attendance of any NCAA Championship, outdrawing the Final Four of men’s basketball.

Boys high school Lacrosse may soon become even more popular in Ohio. In an article in
The Columbus Dispatch on April 27, 2010, Mark Znidar writes “There are 107 teams playing statewide this Spring, and it appears it’s only a matter of time until the number reaches 150 teams, the minimum to be considered for sanctioning as a varsity sport by the Ohio High School Athletic Association.”

Znidar points out that the Ohio High School Lacrosse Association commissioner Paul Balcerzak and his athletic council show their seriousness by realigning divisions according to OHSAA enrollment guidelines rather than by ability. (In the past, powers such as Upper Arlington or Worthington or Dublin schools played in Division I and developing teams were placed in Division II).

Commissioner Blacerzak stated, “We have two primary missions, and that is to grow the sport and to be good stewards of the game … We had to be more like the Ohio High School Atheltic Association because our goal is to eventually be in the OHSAA.”

Lacrosse needs to grow quite a bit before it can be adopted by the OHSAA. A spokesman, Tim Stried said a sport must maintain at least 150 teams over a two-year period before the board of directors can take a vote. Ice Hockey (85 teams) and Field Hockey (35 teams) were admitted through a grandfather clause

Lacrosse originated with the Native Americans of the United States and Canada, mainly among the Huron and Iroquois Tribes. In many societies/tribes, the ball sport was often part of religious ritual, played to resolve conflicts, heal the sick, develop strong, virile men and prepare for war. Legend tells of games with more than 100 players from different tribes taking turns to play. It could be played on a field many miles in length and width; sometimes the game could last for days. Early lacrosse balls were made of deerskin, clay, stone, and sometimes wood.
Lacrosse played a significant role in the community and religious life of tribes across the continent for many years. Early lacrosse was characterized by deep spiritual involvement, befitting the spirit of combat in which it was undertaken. Those who took part did so in the role of warriors, with the goal of bringing glory and honor to themselves and their tribes.[3] The game was said to be played “for the Creator” or was referred to as “The Creator’s Game”.
Lacrosse, one of the oldest team sports in the Americas, may have developed as early as the 12th century,[1][2] but since then has undergone many modifications. In the traditional Native American version, each team consisted of about 100 to 1,000 men on a field that stretched from about 500 yards to a couple of miles long.[4] These lacrosse games lasted from sunup to sundown for two to three days straight. These games were played as part of ceremonial ritual to give thanks to the Creator. The modern Ojibway verb ‘to play Lacrosse’ is baaga’adowe (Baggataway [sic]).[5]

[10] The growth of lacrosse was also facilitated by the introduction of plastic stick heads in the 1970s by Baltimore-based STX. This innovation reduced the weight and cost of the lacrosse stick. It also allowed for faster passes and game play than traditional wooden sticks.
Lacrosse is a very physically demanding sport that requires not only fitness but also good stick work. Men’s field lacrosse is played with ten players on each team: a goalkeeper; three defenders in the defensive end; three midfielders (often called “middies”) free to roam the whole field; and three attackers attempting to score goals in the offensive end. It is the most common version of men’s lacrosse played internationally. The modern game was codified in Canada by William George Beers in 1867.[12] The game has evolved from that time to include the protective equipment and lacrosse sticks made from synthetic materials.

Diagram of a men’s college lacrosse field.
Each player carries a lacrosse stick (or crosse). A “short crosse” (sometimes called a “short stick”) measures between 40 inches (1.0 m) and 42 inches (1.1 m) long (head and shaft together) is typically used by attackers or midfield. A total of four players per team may carry a “long crosse” (sometimes called “long pole”, “long stick” or “d-pole”) that are 52 inches (1.3 m) to 72 inches (1.8 m) long. The head of the crosse on both long and short crosses must be 6.5 inches (17 cm) or larger at its widest point. There is no minimum width at its narrowest point, the only provision is that the ball must roll out unimpeded. The designated goalkeeper is allowed to have a stick from 40 inches (1.0 m) to 72 inches (1.8 m) long and the head of a goalkeeper’s crosse may measure up to 12 inches (30 cm) wide, significantly larger than field players’ heads to assist in blocking shots.[13][14][15]

(Thanks to Wikopedia, the Online Encyclopedia for much of the above information.

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