Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Do I Ever Lacrosse Your Mind?

I went to my first lacrosse game last month. A friend of mine is on his high school varsity team, so despite having no experience with or knowledge about the sport, I went to see him play.

This was my reaction moments into the game: It's a bunch of boys running around a field hitting each other with sticks. ... No wonder they like it!

This was followed by much confusion as to how in the world the game is actually played. I understood that the goal of the game is to get a goal, but some of the things that went on while the players were trying to get a goal were confusing to a lacrosse newbie like myself.

Take the face-off thing that happens at the beginning of quarters, after goals, and maybe at some other (not) random times. These two guys are crouched down all intense, ready to fight over the ball, with some other players stationed at various distances away. The whistle blows, they start grappling for ball control, and the other players dash in. One team gets the ball, and suddenly one of the guys that was hell-bent on getting to that face-off turns around and runs off the field. Just runs right off the field!

Tell me how that makes sense (and I don't want to hear sensible things about how lacrosse has specialized positions, and some players are better at offense or defense, and one player runs off the field so another can take his place. That's beside the point).

I also couldn't see any rhyme or reason as to which team got the ball after it went out of bounds. And why were players from both teams running after it holding out their sticks? More confusion.

My friend's team won that game, which was cool, but I decided I needed a little help before I went to another. So I went to my ever-helpful local library and checked out "Lacrosse for Dummies (2nd Edition)."

It was quite informative. I was excited to learn the official name for the stick thing that the players use to throw, catch, and carry the ball. It's called (wait for it) a stick. And when the players run after the ball holding their sticks out as it goes out of bound? That's because sometimes, the team closest to the ball when it goes out gains possession of it when play resumes.

I went to another one of my friend's games this month. Even though they didn't do so well, I was able to understand the gameplay a little more thanks to the "Dummies" book.

Maybe if he plays next year I'll actually read more than just the first four chapters.

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