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Sean Nowak
UWRT 1103
Prof. Emilia Grant
5 November 2014
The Evolution of Lacrosse
A bunch of sweaty guys running around on a field, using sticks to hit each other and
chucking balls at each other, sounds a bit outlandish, yet somehow it is a multi-million dollar
industry and the fastest growing sport in North America. The speed of play and the illusion that
can been spoken of by anyone who has ever watched a game make it a captivating experience
and may be part of the reason such a poppycock concept can be accepted by a general public.
This is not the way it has been forever.
Lacrosse has changed much over the years and has a rich history. It began as an ancient
tradition reserved to Native American tribes used as a war game and a coming-of-age tradition
for men. Some tribes used the game as a god-sent explanation for different naturally occurring
phenomena. When Europeans began coming to the Americas, lacrosse slowly died out and
eventually it virtually disappeared. The concept was only retained by a small number of Native
Americans living on reservations in North America. Later, in the 19th century, it was reinvented
as a sport in the sense of the word that we understand today. This can all be considered common
knowledge, but for the inquiring man there remains much to learn about all of it. What exactly
was it originally, and how much has it really changed from that? What made it disappear and
why for so long? Was it racial-superiority? What caused it to resurface?
In the beginning, gods created lacrosse for native tribes of North America. The purpose
of the game varied by tribe. Every tribe had its own version of how the first game happened to be

played by their gods of Creation. For most, it served as a tool for diplomacy. It could settle a
dispute in a much quicker way than warfare. Warfare was costly, both emotionally and
materially, and extremely destructive. However, a game of lacrosse could be scheduled for a
convenient time when neither tribe would be at as great a loss. This way, they could still uphold
or attain honor and superiority without the losses that could have accompanied warfare. Thus,
lacrosse was also a tool for upholding tradition and served as a social stabilizer. (Aveni)

Is there anything that is maybe not common knowledge that needs to be sourced? There
are probably a few things that I would know just because I play lacrosse and/or have
watched lacrosse, but the common reader may not have experienced enough to already
know these things.

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Works Cited
Aveni, Anthony. “The Indian Origins of Lacrosse.” History.org: “Colonial Williamsburg”
Journal. (2010): n. pag. Web. 8 November 2014.

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