A Brief History of Lacrosse and Lacrosse in Lithuania

History of Lacrosse

The following article is a history of lacrosse found on Wikipedia

Lacrosse is based on games played by various Native American communities as early as 1100 AD.[14] By the 17th century, a version of lacrosse was well-established and was documented by Jesuit missionary priests in the territory of present-day Canada.[15]

In the traditional aboriginal Canadian version, each team consisted of about 100 to 1,000 men on a field several miles (several kilometers) long. These games lasted from sunup to sundown for two to three days straight and were played as part of ceremonial ritual, a kind of symbolic warfare, or to give thanks to the Creator or Master.[16]

The French Jesuit missionary Jean de Brébeuf saw Huron tribesmen play the game during 1637 in present-day Ontario. He called it la crosse, “the stick” in French.[19] The name seems to be originated from the French term for field hockeyle jeu de la crosse.[20]

Anglophones from Montreal noticed the game being played by Mohawk people and started playing themselves in the 1830s.[19] In 1856, William George Beers, a Canadian dentist, founded the Montreal Lacrosse Club.[22] In 1860, Beers codified the game, shortening the length of each game and reducing the number of players to 12 per team. The first game played under Beers’s rules was at Upper Canada College in 1867; they lost to the Toronto Cricket Club by a score of 3–1.[19]

The new sport proved to be very popular and spread across the English-speaking world; by 1900 there were dozens of men’s clubs in Canada, the United States, England, Australia, and New Zealand. The women’s game was introduced by Louisa Lumsden in Scotland in 1890. The first women’s club in the United States was started by Rosabelle Sinclair at Bryn Mawr School in 1926.[23]Richmond Hill “Young Canadians” lacrosse team, 1885.

In the United States, lacrosse during the late 1800s and first half of the 1900s was primarily a regional sport centered around the Mid-Atlantic states, especially New York and Maryland. However, in the last half of the 20th century, the sport spread outside this region, and can be currently found in most of the United States. According to a survey conducted by US Lacrosse in 2016, there are over 825,000 lacrosse participants nationwide and lacrosse is the fastest-growing team sport among NFHS member schools.[24]

History of Lacrosse in Lithuania

Lacrosse in Lithuania is in its early stages of development, with great progress being made towards the goal of establishing lacrosse teams for boys and girls that will compete against each other and throughout the Baltic region.  Lietuva Lakrosas has provided instructional clinics in schools throughout the country since 2018, gaining support from school administrators, donating equipment, and providing coaching and athlete instruction.  Schools in Kėdainiai, Vilnius, Kaunas, and Klaipėda have hosted Lietuva Lakrosas instructional clinics, with the list of interested hosts growing every year.

If interested in participating in a clinic or if you are or know a school administrator that would like to host an instructional clinic, please reach out to Lietuva Lakrosas to start the conversation and help grow the game in Lithuania.