What is Lacrosse?

By Emilia Ward, Head Coach, Northern Michigan University  @nmuwlax


           Photo courtesy of NMU Athletics.

I’m sure any coach who has started a program either at the youth, high school, or college level in a non-traditional area has experienced being asked the question, “tell us a little bit about lacrosse, we have never really seen it.” For me, this is a question I was asked on nearly a daily basis when making the move to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where the closest girl’s/women’s lacrosse program is three hours away. This is a question that has allowed me to reflect back onto why lacrosse is great and why so many of us got into the sport in the first place. Very often my answer to this question includes the following:

  1. I would describe lacrosse as a combination of sports such as ice hockey, basketball, and soccer – this for me was a main reason for getting into lacrosse. It combines so many various aspects of sports I played growing up. Maybe I wasn’t tall enough for basketball but had the footwork and understanding of the offense and defense, I didn’t love soccer anymore but still had the speed and endurance, and I had less opportunity at the college level for ice hockey but had that competitive drive.
  2. It’s a speed and finesse game – this answer often comes after they ask, “why don’t you wear pads like the men?”
  3. It’s a sport that includes lots of scoring and fast paced action – this allows excitement, even for those who may not understand all the rules yet.

Many of us across the country have the opportunity to be the sole ambassadors for lacrosse in our communities, allowing us to spread our passion for this game. As our sport evolves to adapt with the athlete of today and spans the globe, it is important that we do not forget why we fell in love with the “creator’s game” to start with.


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