I have a very sports oriented family. We’ve all played a sport, and we all love getting together to watch sports. Any sport. Baseball, football, basketball, hockey, soccer, golf, you name it.
“Lacrosse,” my brother, Troy, said after school one day, “I’m going to try out for the lacrosse team.”
My mom, dad, sister, and I exchanged a glance and shrugged our shoulders. “Okay, lacrosse it is. We know lacrosse.”
We didn’t know lacrosse.
Watching Troy’s first few games, I felt like someone walking into a mall on Black Friday for the first time. Wow, I thought, this seems chaotic. And complicated. And violent. I love it.
But even after we found ourselves glued to the “this is Sparta-esque” charging and slicing and dodging, we still had absolutely no concept of what the rules were. As a result, my family and I often yelled inappropriate (and by inappropriate, I mean probably undoubtedly frowned upon) things from the sidelines.
Some too innocent: “Hey, don’t do that!”
Some too violent: “Chop his damn legs off!”
And some Troy (understandably) vetoed: “Poke him with your stick!”
Over time however, we’ve learned (most of) the rules and have spent long days sitting on turf in fold up chairs, fully capable of having discussions about different calls or strategies, while still remaining fully invested in, and attracted to the violence. (TBD on whether you should be worried)
My brother’s school season is set to start up again next week, and though it is still a relatively new sport to the west coast, it’s growing fast. So, if you are someone like me, who likes to have all the knowledge about all the things, here are 5 things I’ve learned, both about the game and about myself as a fan:
1) Lacrosse is essentially the love child of field hockey, football, soccer and aggressive butterfly catching.
Pro tip to get your kids training early:
2) Girls lacrosse is non-contact.
Which is a bummer, but would have come as a relief if I ever played, because I know myself well enough to be sure that the second an opposing player rammed into me in an attempt to get the ball, I’d undoubtedly go into self-defense mode and probably be dragged off the field for “unnecessary roughness” or “attempted murder.”
3) The necessary hand-eye coordination is real.
I played softball for 7 years, but the moment I tried to play catch with my brother using his lacrosse sticks, this became a moot point, and remains one to this day. I’ve honestly never felt less coordinated in my life than when I try to toss a lacrosse ball two feet in the air and then catch it. I always end up feeling like…you know those chefs who cook in front of you in Japanese restaurants and can crack eggs on the side of their spatula? Yeah, I feel like one of them, if they showed up to work completely and totally hammered. (Or you know, what I look like dead sober trying to do any of those tricks.)
4) There is more to the equipment than meets the eye.In short, I look at my brother’s lacrosse stick the way he looks at one of my makeup brushes. It seems good enough to do its job and could probably make a great substitute microphone if the right song came on. On the reverse side of that, my brother looks at his stick the way I look at waffles. Honestly, I think he would 100% consider trading me in for a new stick, head, or pair of gloves if the opportunity arose. (As I would him for an authentic Belgian waffle) (Just kidding, Troy) (Kind of)
5) Bucket hats are the new black.
My brother and I went to the Major League Lacrosse (MLL) All-Star Game last year, and upon arriving, I quickly noticed and awed over the intense amount of bucket hats worn by the fans. It’s not that I have anything against bucket hats, I just feel like, you know, I missed the mark on popular lacrosse fashion. Had my baseball hat at a lacrosse game been the equivalent of a guy wearing shoes at the beach? Again, TBD. Though if my brother plays in college, I’m totally buying one, because history proves I can ROCK one:
Oh, and one more thing, “lacrosse” is often abbreviated to LAX, like in laxative, which works, because it moves quick…
…Come on, Troy, that was a good one.