Lacrosse Can Catch On In The South

NCorrespondent IMarch 4, 2009

Hey there football fans! If you’re anxiously waiting for spring scrimmages to start, soaking up every detail of NFL trades and mourning the loss of arena football (it was, after all, the football fan’s life raft until the fall), have we got a sport for you. 


No, the All-American League isn’t back. But this sport has high-scoring, high-powered offenses. It has bone-breaking, brain-rattling hits. It has steadfast defenses that make offenses WORK for every point. It’s got shoulder pads, it’s got cleats, it’s got helmets.


Oh yeah. And sticks too. 


Baseball might be considered America’s past time. Football might be America’s biggest passion. But lacrosse, the sport developed by Native Americans centuries ago, is purely American. 


Go figure. The Northeastern states, the home of the American Revolution also worship America’s oldest sport. 


It’s about time we Southerners got in on the action—and fast. The University of Florida recently approved plans to add a women’s lacrosse stadium to their campus. Could men’s lacrosse be far behind?


Southern universities have typically kept to playing club lacrosse. While a few (like Duke, UNC and Vanderbilt) have fielded legitimate Division-I teams, lacrosse has never really caught on in the south. 


Maybe it’s time for that to change. 


If you’ve never seen a lacrosse game, it’s time to wake up and smell the turf. There is a cure for football withdrawal. And it’s seeing someone get whacked by a stick. It’s seeing a goalie catch a 5-oz ball that’s 2.5 inches in diameter that’s hurtling at him at 90 miles an hour. It’s seeing a midfielder muscle the ball from the other team in a face-off (no kick-off’s for lacrosse players. They fight for possession.) 


“That’s all great,” you’re thinking. “But come on. Can lacrosse games be that exciting?”


Yes. Oh, yes.


In last year’s national semi-finals (yes, college lacrosse has a playoff system. Hear that BCS bigwigs?) Johns Hopkins topped Duke 10-9. Syracuse knocked off Virginia 12-11 in double overtime. In the Memorial Day title game, Syracuse defeated Johns Hopkins 13-10.


Three games. 65 goals. One memorable playoff. 


Next weekend, when you’re once again longing for football, do not head to your fantasy league headquarters and contemplate draft day. Veer away from yet another perusal of ESPN’s football updates. Turn your dial to ESPNU and take in spring’s version of football, sticks and all.


It’s just what the doctor ordered.