Lacrosse is the oldest sport in North America, it originates from the Native American’s game called ‘The Creator’s Game’. It is also known as the Medicine game, as it was played to heal mental wounds and to settle differences between tribes. Originally, the game was played in wide forests, without set boundaries. With only two pairs of trees appointed as a goal. The game was entwined with the religion of the Native Americans. They believed the world was created by the ‘Creator’ and lacrosse was used to heal the sick, turn boys into men and resolve tribal conflicts.
It was when a French man was intrigued by the sport, he made an effort to add rules to the game and named it “La Crosse”, which in French means “the stick”. This version was further adopted and later imported to Europe.
It is said that it is the fastest-growing sport in the world. These days, lacrosse is played all over the world. With the highest popularity in the USA and Canada. Here teams are located mostly in colleges and universities and have a national league as well.
Currently, there are four versions of lacrosse: men’s field lacrosse, women’s field lacrosse, box lacrosse, and inter lacrosse.
Men’s field lacrosse is the signature version of lacrosse. There are multiple small variations of the rules, however, there is an international version. Men’s teams can consist of 40 members of which 23 are allowed to participate at a game. It is played 10 vs 10 on a field the same size as a soccer or field hockey field. Each team has a goal of 2 by 2 meters, which is placed inside the field, similar to ice hockey. A team wins by throwing the ball, running while the ball is in their stick and scoring goals by shooting the ball in the goal. In order to take the ball from the opponent, the players can intercept the ball or force the ball out of the stick of the opponent by either hitting the opponent’s stick with their own or by body checking the player. Further, hitting the opponent’s stick and bodychecking is also allowed when the ball is on the ground within 3 meters.
Women’s field lacrosse is a more subtle and tactical version of lacrosse. Recent changes in the rulings made the field dimension and team sizes similar to male lacrosse. The main difference is that instead of a full-contact sport, women’s lacrosse is a minimal contact sport. Body checking is not allowed and stick on stick contact is only allowed when safely executed. While this makes the game more complicated, it also increases the tactical challenge. Quicker passes and faster tactics are required to go around the defense of the opponent and score a goal.
Box lacrosse is an indoor version of lacrosse. In most countries, the Netherlands among them, box lacrosse is still being set up. However, box lacrosse is the national summer sport of Canada. The field is similar to an ice hockey field without ice. It is played as a 6 vs 6 game and due to the field being small, is the most physical version of lacrosse. Rougher and more contact is allowed compared to the field variants. A smaller goal and bigger goalie are used to keep up with the speed and short distances. There is no difference between the male and female version.
The last version of lacrosse is intercrossee. It is a lesser played indoor version of lacrosse. It uses modified sticks which are fully plastic and it uses a softer hollow ball, compared to the solid rubber balls of the other lacrosse versions. The game is usually played as 5 vs 5 with mixed-gender teams. No contact is allowed, which is compensated by rules like a maximum of 5 seconds of possession by one player.