Lacrosse has been on the rise on the west coast during the past few years. Ever so popular on the east coast, participation has diffused westward, as there have been more and more clubs and school teams, especially in California. On the east coast, it is a somewhat mainstream sport, but it is still more obscure than sports such as football and basketball. Professional lacrosse is one of the lowest paying sports, and has not yet been recognized as a modern Olympic sport. However, both girls and boys lacrosse have seen an increase in popularity on the west coast, and it is one of the fastest growing athletic teams in America on the high school level.
The history of lacrosse can be traced back to Native Americans in the 12th century, which is easily forgotten because lacrosse today is stereotypically a sport played by rich white males. The foundation of lacrosse remains, as the sport was and still is played as a team sport where players throw and catch balls with netted sticks. When French Jesuits invaded tribes as missionaries, they transformed the indigenous sport into what is formally known today as lacrosse. While the native sport began as a male-dominated game, lacrosse is now popular between both girls and boys, however, there are different rules and equipment for the two. Generally, the boys are allowed to have physical contact, which mandates their uniforms to be heavily padded, somewhat like a football player. Girls can get by with minimal to no padding; however, eyegear and mouthguards are mandatory because the lacrosse ball, though small, is extremely dense and hard. Since lacrosse is not as mainstream of a sport in the west coast, a minimal amount of people have actually watched a game. The game is, put simply, like soccer, but utilizing sticks to throw, catch, and cradle a tiny ball across the field. The positions are attack/offense, midfield, defense, and goalie, much like other team sports. Lacrosse players in the U.S normally start at age 7-8; however, in less competitive states or schools, one could pick up the game in high school, as well.
As stated before, lacrosse in the west coast is fairly new, but participation is expanding yearly. At Crescenta Valley High School, the girls’ lacrosse team has been active for only 6 years, while the boys’ team was made official just this year. Lacrosse is a spring sport, but conditioning is year round. For girls’ lacrosse, a normal week of conditioning consists of running a few miles to the local park, weightroom, running at the track, and some stick work. During playing seasons, bus rides to away games can take a few hours, since there are not as many local high schools that offer both varsity and junior varsity teams, if any. According to one player, the best part about being on the team is “playing the sport, but also bonding with the team through pasta parties, secret sister during games, and practices alone are so much fun.” Secret sister, an incredibly fun activity our team does, is an exchange of snacks during away games, like secret santa during Christmas; you don’t know who your secret sister is until the very last game.
Due to covid-19, the season was unfortunately cut short since it is a spring sport, however the team is still active off the field. In quarantine, there is communication through zoom and group chats. There have been drive-bys for seniors and one for the coach’s birthday. Quarantine is not stopping the team from being a team and bonding. Lacrosse is an extremely rewarding, and overall fun sport; its continued growth proves the enjoyment of the game.
Hannah Sung, Grade 10
Crescenta Valley High School