History

Lacrosse has its origins in a tribal game played by Plains Indians and Woodlands Natives in what is now the United States and Canada. It derives its name from the resemblance of its chief implement used, the curved netted stick, to a bishop's crozier.

In original Native Indian versions of the game, each team was made up of anywhere between 100 and 1,000 braves on a field that stretched from 500 yards to half a mile, or even sometimes several miles long with practically no side boundaries. A solemn dance proceeded the game, after which the ball was tossed into the air and the two sides rushed to catch it on "crosses", similar to those now in use. The medicine-men acted as umpires, and the women of the tribe urged on the men by beating them with switches. Rather than using modern goals wherein the ball has to pass through the goal posts, many of the Native American teams used a large rock or tree as their goal. They would hit the deerskin-formed ball against the goal to earn points. The length of these games varied, lasting from sunup to sundown or for several days. Traditionally, the games were played to settle altercations between tribes and to toughen braves in preparation for combat.

The game spread through cities like Boston very fast in the 1700s. And it was very popular By the 1800s, lacrosse evolved to become more of an organized sport and less violent as French pioneers adopted the game. In 1867, W. George Beers, a Canadian dentist, codified the game. In his rules, he shortened the duration of the game and reduced the number of players to ten per team. By the 1900s, many high schools, colleges and universities had adopted lacrosse as a league sport. Lacrosse became an Olympic sport for the 1904 and 1908 Summer Olympics, but was then dropped as an official sport. ("History of Lacrosse")