Lacrosse team seeks players

Published 6:00 am Thursday, December 7, 2006

On Nov. 11, there was a lacrosse exhibition at Grand Village of the Natchez Indians that included two high school teams from Lafayette, La. and New Orleans and a club team from Ocean Springs that included members from several schools in the Biloxi area.

Representatives from the teams at the exhibition are anxious to have more teams developed in this area, as more teams will mean more games and more fun.

Lacrosse is and was an Indian game long before Europeans arrived in North America. However, it became a very popular sport among the high schools and colleges in the east at the beginning of the last century.

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Children at the age of 4 and 5 can be seen in Baltimore practicing lacrosse. All of the school systems there sponsor lacrosse teams, and as the students get older, the competition gets stronger. The colleges around Baltimore have very competitive teams that usually vie for national championships.

Other areas of the east that are serious about lacrosse are Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York State and New England.

North Carolina is infected as well with the lacrosse bug. When college players finish their matriculation, most will find an adult lacrosse club so that they can continue to play the sport that they love.

Lacrosse is really not violent. Sure, there is contact. Players do block each other, but there is no tackling, as in football. Yes, there is stick contact, usually stick on stick, but if one hits the arm or hand of the other player, the arm pad takes the blow, or the shoulder pad or the player’s glove. No one gets hurt.

The game is an exhilarating sport. It allows the player to make moves like Reggie Bush to avoid and pass by another opposing player.

It provides every player with great exercise, involving running up and down the fields, throwing the ball accurately to teammates and ultimately taking shots at the goal and scoring.

Most of the colleges and high schools in the East recommend that their football players play lacrosse in the spring, as it provides strengthening and increased agility. However, the men and boys who are too small for the football programs are just as adept at the sport as the bigger football players.

The Grand Village would like to sponsor a club team made up of high school players in the area. The Grand Village will provide the field for practicing and for actual games.

The U.S. Lacrosse Association may make a grant to the Grand Village if enough players agree to sign up for the club team.

If a team is organized, there would not necessarily be any cost the first year for equipment, should the grant come through. It is felt that due to other team sports in the spring, the club practices and games should occur only on the weekends so players could practice and play their other team sports for their schools during the week.

We would like to have anyone interested in learning about the sport and who might want to consider playing to come to a meeting at the Grand Village at 4 p.m. Friday, Dec. 8.

We would also like any adult who wants to learn about the sport to come, especially any adult who has played in the past. There will be a need for assistant coaches, as well as referees, during the games.

Andrew Peabody is a Natchez resident.