North America is home to many innovative sports such as American Football and Baseball but also the intriguing game of Lacrosse. The sport's origins can be traced arguably to the indigenous populations of North America prior to its founding by Christopher Columbus. It is thougth that a version of the sport can be traced to 1100 AD in the early dark ages nearly a thousand years ago! Originally the sport is credited to Canadian tribes who would play for two to three days straight with teams of hundres to a thousand men on a very large pitch! (must have been difficult getting to know all your team mates.) A French missionary in the US was the first European to write about the sport and he supposedly named it 'le crosse' meaning the stick. This is because each player is equipped with a stick with netting on the end to catch and hold the rubber ball that is thrown around. The aim of the game is to pass the ball upfield and eventually into the opponent's net with the netted sticks and avoid being tackled. It is somewhat similar to hockey but played in the air and is also a contact sport.
There are ten players on each team, three attackers, three midfielders, three defenders and the goalkeeper. The defenders and midfielders have the options of having a longer stick than the attackers as they will be passing more rather than shooting. Also defenders are allowed to use force to prevent the opposition from passing them and scoring. Women's lacrosse differs greatly, whereas the men have a protective helmet the women have only a mouthguard and so too much physical contact is not allowed. Furthermore there are two extra players in a team in women's lacrosse as there are five midfielders. Women's lacrosse is played largely in British schools and somewhat in Australia but men's lacrosse has grown greatly in popularity and a major league exists in the US consisting of eight teams, having grown from the founding three in just a few years.
The sport is unusual but interesting and I definitely reccomend reading some more about it or even playing some yourself! Many universities have lacrosse teams and you may well find it's the sport for you! If you like Hockey but fancy a more physical air version of the sport this may be your calling!