Lacrosse is a sport where players use a stick to put a ball into the goal. Codified in 1867 by Canadian William George Beers, the original sport is today called the field lacrosse. Thereof were born two other variants of the lacrosse: the Women’s lacrosse in the 1890s in Scotland, and the indoor lacrosse in the 1930s.
One of the peculiarities of this team sport is unique existence at the international level of a team of the Five Nations. The three variants of the lacrosse have been governed since 2008 by the Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL), which organizes events such as the World Lacrosse Championships or World Indoor Lacrosse Championships. There are also two professional leagues in North America: Major League Lacrosse for field lacrosse and the National Lacrosse League for indoor lacrosse. Lacrosse is the official national sport of Canada, the parent country of the sport.
The first Europeans to discover the game of lacrosse were the French Jesuit missionaries in the valley of the St. Lawrence. In the 1630s, they witnessed this game and condemned it. They opposed this game because of its violence and tried to eradicate it.
Jesuit Jean de Brebeuf was the first to relate this game and gave it its name “lacrosse.” He described the Huron Indians playing this game in 1636. The term originates from the French term used in the field hockey: the “the game of the cross,” other suggestions are those of the bishop pastoral stick.
Despite the opposition of the Jesuits, many European settlers were intrigued by the game of lacrosse. Matches were organized and, in 1740, many French settlers take part. However, they never faced the Indians.
In 1834, the team of Caughnawaga gave a demonstration of the game at Montreal. From that time, interest in the game of lacrosse was gradually increasing. In 1840, the first matches between settlers and Indians were organized. In 1856, the Montreal Lacrosse Club was founded by a Canadian dentist Dr. William George Beers, who codified the game in 1867, reducing the duration of the matches, the number of players and the field, standardizing the stick (the instrument) and integrating a rubber bullet. The first official game was played under those rules at Upper Canada College in 1867, when the Upper Canada College lost against the Toronto Cricket Club on 3-1. During the 1860s, the game of lacrosse became a national sport. In 1869, the first sports club lacrosse was created with the Canadian Lacrosse Association.
The first demonstrations outside Canada territory were also held in 1867. In 1876, Queen Victoria witnessed this game and stated that “the game is very pretty to look at.” That is how many English colleges incorporate it into their physical education program in the 1890s.
As the sport grew, its relatively violent aspect was always present. It became an obstacle to its expansion, until it was even banned in 1900 because Choctaw Indians fixed at the end of their sticks weights to injure their opponents.
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