Opinion: Lacrosse should be a more popular sport


Princeton Tigers Lacrosse / Kenneth C. Zirkel / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-NC-SA

Princeton lacrosse players celebrate their 17-9 victory over Brown.

When people think about sports, a select few quickly come to mind. Here in the U.S., we have baseball as our national pastime, along with football and basketball. Throughout North America, hockey has also grown in popularity, while soccer remains the world’s premier sport. In recent years, lacrosse has started to gain traction as one of the fastest-growing sports, and for a good reason. 

I started playing lacrosse my freshman year at Carlmont and haven’t looked back since. It combines various other sports and adds its own twists to create a hyper-competitive and fun environment. 

Lacrosse is a team sport that uses a stick, or crosse, to score a ball into the goal. Played by both men and women, it has quickly gained a following in America, Canada, and parts of Europe.

Lacrosse is divided into four main positions. These include midfielders, attackmen, defensemen, and goalies. Like in soccer, the goalie acts as the defensive anchor and the last obstacle between you and the opposing team. Attackmen attack and score while the defensemen guard them. Midfielders play both attack and defense and play all across the field.

At the start of games or after a goal is scored, a faceoff begins. Special players called “fo-gos” (faceoff and get-off) try to box each other out for possession of the ball. 

As America’s oldest team sport, the origins of lacrosse date back to 1100 A.D. with Native American stickball. Europeans later adopted it and named it “la crosse,” or the stick. Women’s lacrosse began in the 19th century, with its first game played in Scotland. 

The main appeal of lacrosse to many is its combination of various sports. Men’s lacrosse is a contact sport like football, but you have to shoot and score like soccer. Players use sticks to control the ball like hockey but run offensive and defensive schemes like basketball.

Another draw of lacrosse is the fast pace of the games. To be successful, you must play both ends of the game: offense and defense. One mistake or turnover quickly becomes a sprint to the other side of the field.

In the mainstream, lacrosse has risen as both a college and professional sport. Familiar names like Jim Brown, a Hall of Fame running back, also starred in college lacrosse. During Brown’s senior year at Syracuse, he led his team to an undefeated record and became the first Black player inducted into the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame. 

I’d rather play lacrosse six days a week and football on the seventh.”

— Jim Brown

More recently, the Premier Lacrosse League (PLL) has grown in popularity. The league has inked a deal with ESPN to bring professional lacrosse to the masses.

Whether you’re looking for a new sport to play or follow, you can choose lacrosse. Pick up a stick and play, or catch the PLL’s fourth season beginning June 4.