Lacrosse: The Sport That Keeps on Growing

Joe MintzerCorrespondent IMay 14, 2010

FOXBORO, MA - MAY 24:  Paul Rabil #9 of the Johns Hopkins Blue Jays celebrates after defeating the  Duke Blue Devils, 10-9, in NCAA Lacrosse Semifinals at Gillette Stadium on May 24, 2008 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Invasive Species-organisms that spread, encroach upon, and take over the habitat of native species.

Lacrosse has become an invasive species of the sports world, especially on the East coast.

Lacrosse is the sport right now. It is dominating and spreading all over the East coast. Lax power-houses such as Virginia, Johns Hopkins, Syracuse, North Carolina, and Duke are all located on the Eastern part of the map.

Living in the Philadelphia area, it is apparent how much this sport is growing. Everywhere you turn, you see something that relates to lacrosse, whether it be a stick or a goal or a pair of gloves. Gear is easy to find too. Sports stores such as Modells and Sports Authority are filled with shafts, heads, and other gear. Now, gyms are opening that are devoted to lacrosse only. Lax is everywhere.

Even the MLL and NLL are gaining popularity. I went to a Philadelphia Wings game in which over 17,000 fans attended. Thats right, 17,000 fans piled into the Wachovia Center to watch an NLL game. To put it in perspective, the Philadelphia 76ers averaged 14,224 people in attendance per game.

People are becoming more and more interested in lacrosse. Instead of growing up wanting to be the next Peyton Manning, Derek Jeter, or Wayne Gretzky, kids are starting to want to be the next Mikey Powell, Paul Rabil, or Gary Gait.

Perhaps the reason for this is how this sport can be personalized. Lacrosse heads can be strung and changed. They can be strung to make it perfect for one particular player. A few shooting strings can completely change how a stick functions. One player could dominate with his own stick and not be able to pass or shoot with accuracy with someone else's stick.

Or perhaps the reason for the sport's popularity is how it is played. Lacrosse doesn't call for the raw athletic ability that is needed for football. Once you can catch and throw, the game becomes simple. This is not to say this sport is easy. It is anything but. However, it is a better option for those who are not quite big or athletic enough to play football or basketball.

Whatever the reason, there is no doubt lacrosse is growing. ESPNU is filled with lacrosse coverage. The YouTube video "The Ultimate Lax Bro" has nearly 1,000,000 views. Warrior, a part of New Balance devoted to lacrosse, has released a shoe designed just for this sport. It may not be long before lacrosse is in primetime.