Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown is considered by many the greatest football player ever. What many do not know is that Brown also is considered one of the greatest lacrosse players ever. Here are some other tidbits about one of America's fastest growing sports.
The history of lacrosse. The origins of lacrosse date back to the 1400s. Native Americans played a game that, according to SportsKnowHow.com, involved sometimes up to thousands of players with games that lasted two or three days with goals miles apart. The French adopted the game in the 1800s, changed its name from baggattaway to lacrosse, and made modifications, such as shortening the field and limiting the number of players.
Lacrosse basics. For those not familiar with lacrosse, the game can best be described as a cross between hockey, soccer and football. The object of the game is to get the lacrosse ball in the opposing team's net. The ball cannot be thrown using hands. The most effective way for advancing and shooting a lacrosse ball is catching it and then moving or throwing it with a lacrosse stick. A lacrosse game is divided into four quarters, ranging from eight to 15 minutes depending on age level. The modern lacrosse field at the college level is 110 yards long and 60 yards wide. A lacrosse goal is 6 feet high and 6 feet wide and is positioned 15 feet from the endline.
Lacrosse popularity. Lacrosse is one of America's fastest growing sports. A Syracuse University research project reports that participation in high school lacrosse increased 528 percent from 1980 to 2008. As of mid-2011, there were more than 240 men's and more than 300 women's teams competing at the NCAA Division I, II and III level, and it was estimated that more than 1.2 million Americans over the age of 7 had played lacrosse.
Whether lacrosse challenges the worldwide popularity of soccer or basketball or the American popularity of football or baseball is yet to be seen. It can be said, however, that lacrosse is growing at a pace that makes other sports envious.