"Little War" or "The Creators Game"? The many different meanings of the sport have spanned across generations of Native American culture, but today it is known simply as Lacrosse. This article will seek to explain why lacrosse is the greatest sport around today.
1. Lacrosse is the oldest sport in North America.
Lacrosse has been around sine the early 1500's. It was first played by early native tribes of the Onondaga, eastern Cherokee, and Iroquois nations. There is evidence that some lacrosse had been played in early Canada around the 17th century. Native American lacrosse was most popular around the great lakes and plains of the American south, midwest, as well as along the Atlantic seaboard.
2. The game was played to prevent war.
Possibly the most incredible and unique feature of ancient lacrosse were the countless reasons the game was played. The most astounding of which was to settle disputes between nations. Instead of the two nations fighting and going to war, they would play a game of lacrosse to settle their disputes. This fact is evident and can be proven due to how violent the sport actually is.
3. The sport had the largest player count and the largest playing field.
Since early lacrosse was often played between to opposing Native American nations or tribes, a number of men playing as well as the size of the playing field were ginormous. Games could range from 100 to 1000 players, where today's lacrosse is played with ten on each team. The fields would be located between the two villages and could be as far as six miles apart, where today the sport is played on a 110-yard field. Talk about cardio endurance!
4. Lacrosse is Canada's national sport.
It is amazing to see the sport grow and stay alive from where it began in the early 1500's, to becoming the national sport of a country. Lacrosse was first declared as Canada's national sport in 1859. Today, Box lacrosse, which is an indoor version of lacrosse, started in 1930. It is played on a much smaller sized field similar to the size of a hockey rink.
5. Reasons for how the game originated are intriguing.
According to Native American legend, the first game of lacrosse was played for the pleasure of "The Creator" between the birds of the sky and the four-legged animals of the ground. Legend has it that while the birds were preparing to play the four-legged animals, a mouse and a squirrel both asked to join the birds. The birds questioned them, wondering why they didn't join the four-legged animals. Legend says they were laughed at for their small size. The birds felt sorry. The birds wondered how the animals would be able to play with them since they lacked the ability to fly.
Together the animals played with their new found friends, against the animal who had mocked them for their small stature. They worked as a team. The eagle passed the ball to the squirrel, who flew it high into the clouds before dropping it to the bat who was waiting at the goal. This ensured victory for the winged animals. The deeper meaning of the game can be derived from this legend. "No matter how small or worthless you feel, you possess qualities that make you great."
6. There's a real reason lacrosse was played.
Today teams in the NCAA, as well as the professional teams of the MLL, play the game to achieve recognition for their school, for money, fame. In the ancient game of lacrosse, the score was not kept. The natives played for the enjoyment of The Creator. Players would often ask The Creator to bless them with the skills of an animal spirit, the agility of a deer, the strength of a bear, and the speed of a rabbit. This would ensure that they would have added skill to on their size, as well as staying true to the purpose of playing the game fort the enjoyment of the creator.
Lacrosse has been around for centuries and I pray that it will only continue to grow in the future. Many of us play and understand the deeper meaning behind why lacrosse is played. The sport does so much for us and is one of the many reasons we as players look forward to the game no matter how we feel. Perhaps that is why the final meaning lacrosse has is the most important of all. The medicine game. Lacrosse has many healing properties alongside it, many of which have stuck around since its inception. Many of us seek to spread the medicine lacrosse offers.