Lacrosse - The Game
The game of lacrosse dates back centuries. It is the oldest continuously played sport in North America although it was not originally a sport. Lacrosse was a ceremonial religious rite for Native Americans long before Columbus discovered the New World. The indians used it to resolve disputes, heal the sick, and to develop strong, virile men. At times it also even served as a substitute for war, with as many as 1,000 players per side on a field as much as 15 miles long. A contest could last for days. the Indians called it "baggataway," the little brother of war.
French pioneers in Canada began playing the game in the early 1800s and a Canadian dentist standardized the game with a set of rules in 1867. It now ranks as Canada's national summer sport.
The French renamed the game "la crosse" because its stick resembled a Catholic bishop's crosier. Modern sports writers have come up with yet another name, mostly used for headline convenience; "lax".
Men's and women's lacrosse were played under virtually same rules, with no protection equipment, until the mid-1930s. At that time, men's lacrosse began evolving dramatically, while women's lacrosse continued to remain true to the game's original rules. Women's rules limit stick contact, prohibit body contact, and therefore, require little protective equipment. Men's lacrosse rules allow some degree of stick and body contact, although violence is neither condoned nor allowed.