History of Lacrosse

History of Lacrosse

How was lacrosse started?

Lacrosse was started by the Native American Indians and was originally known as “stickball.”  The game was initially played in the St. Lawrence Valley area by the Algonquian tribe and later played by other tribes in the eastern half of North America, and around the western Great Lakes.


What did they play on and what were the rules?

In the early years, lacrosse looked significantly different than today’s version.  Stickball, as the sport was first called, was played over huge open areas between villages.  What today would be called “goals” were represented by two trees, and the field would be approximately 500 yards.   Surprisingly, anywhere from 100 to 100,000 players would participate in a game at any given time.

The rules were very simple. The ball was tossed into the air to indicate the start of the game and players raced to be the first to catch it.  In addition, the ball was not allowed to be touched by a player’s hands.  As for boundaries, very few, if any, existed for the players.


Why did they play lacrosse?

Participants played lacrosse because it was considered a sport that toughened young warriors for war, but it was also played for recreation and religious reasons. Similar to many sports played today, it was not unusual for bets to be placed on the outcome of games. 


Today, lacrosse is played by athletes of varying age levels throughout the country, and has become increasingly popular in the western United States over the last two decades.