A major topic of discussion in the lacrosse world this winter has been fighting.
There seems to be a major influx of fighting in the National Lacrosse League. Some people have come out and supported fighting in the indoor game while others have strongly come out against it. Many field lacrosse purists state that fighting and rough play takes away from the pure sport of lacrosse. Others state fighting intrigues fans and players alike and adds a hockey-like element to in the indoor game.
I tend to agree that fighting has a place in our beloved sport.
I would consider myself a lacrosse purist that enjoys the beauty of any given lacrosse game. However, rough play in the NLL shows heart and is a tribute to the tough spirit it takes to the play box lacrosse. In addition to that, having played indoor lacrosse myself, I understand that there are such things are cheap shots or dirty plays. These plays, and players who commit them, must be dealt with accordingly. This could involve a penalty, trash talk or a fight.
Some fans have also made the comments that fighting takes away from teaching the young players sportsmanship. Now, I can’t speak about minor indoor lacrosse in Canada as I am from Colorado, but there are very few sports that support sportsmanship like lacrosse does. Think about the major sports basketball, hockey, football and baseball. How many of these sports have the entire team shake hands after a game?
The only sport that I can think of that is even close is football. Players meet on the field and shake hands routinely after a football game. The fact that in 99 percent of indoor games in the NLL handshakes occur, this is teaching our youth a lot. It is teaching them that even in a physical contact sport; you still respect your competitors and shake their hands when the game is over.
Some fans out there may not like this argument better but fighting and chippy play puts fans in the seat. By and large in America, indoor lacrosse is still a sport that many sports fans know very little about. That being said, if a fan turns on a game and sees a fight or see rough play during an NLL game, they may tune in long enough to truly enjoy the rest of the sport. We all know that the sport of lacrosse isn’t only about physical play, but the NLL needs to capitalize on it to succeed in the American sports scene.
If a field lacrosse fan can’t watch the NLL due to the rough play that it allows, then they are a fan the NLL doesn’t need. Lacrosse, whether it is field or indoor, is physical. People need to accept the fact that in order to be a successful indoor lacrosse team there needs to be the ability to hold one’s own physically.
For fans out there who are North American Lacrosse League fans and will argue that they do not allow fighting, I will propose an argument. The NALL will fail eventually. It will not only be because it does not allow fighting but it certainly won’t help its cause.
I am not saying the NLL need sot turn into the UFC with sticks, but the league as a whole needs to accept fighting because it is not going anywhere.
What do you think? Do you like the fighting in indoor lacrosse?