Growing one stick at a time

Lacrosse is rapidly changing U.S. sports


Growing up, there were a limited number of choices in the sports someone could play. It was either baseball, football, soccer or basketball. I have played all of these sports and have stuck with soccer most of my life. However, when I started high school, I was drawn to the fastest growing sport in the U.S..

According to a study done by the NCAA, men’s lacrosse has grown 61% since 2003, and women’s has almost doubled in the same time span. SHS has recently added a girls lacrosse team, and they’re playing their inaugural season this year.

Lacrosse has started getting bigger on more than the local level. The Premier Lacrosse League, which is one of the two professional lacrosse leagues, airs on NBC and is playing to become one of the biggest sports in the U.S. They are in their fourth season and have only gained more fans and publicity.

I only started lacrosse my freshman year and there were about five new players. This season, there are about ten rookies. The growth is due in part to active players recruiting, but also the popularity of the sport.

I got into lacrosse not by seeing it on television or by being asked to play, but because I thought it looked interesting at Dick’s Sporting Goods. A kid might see a stick and wonder what it is but never follow it up and get into it. That is a player the sport lost, all because of the lack of coverage on one of the oldest sports in the world.

Lacrosse was started by Native Americans, who used it for religious and recreational purposes. It gained traction in Canada, and became a recreational sport, which then migrated to the East Coast and grew. It has traveled west and made hot spots of lacrosse across the nation.

Indiana is also an amazing environment to start lacrosse. It is a sport started by Native Americans, and we are, quite literally, in the land of Native Americans. The East coast is the most popular place for lacrosse, and as it started to migrate west, it grew here. The University of Notre Dame and Ohio State University are some of the top teams in the country for lacrosse.

It has also grown in the high school realm. Back in 2009, SHS played four games for their first season. Last season, we played 11 games and went 10-1. With over 55 teams in Indiana, lacrosse has taken a hold of the state, especially in central Indiana.

Lacrosse has morphed into a melting pot for diversity and bonding teammates from all walks of life. It has changed from its stereotypical all-white, rich and preppy image to a mixture of people who are all conjoined by a love for the sport.

Carmel was the first school to offer a team in Indiana, according to IndyStar. It is the stereotypical school for lacrosse. Almost three quarters of the school is white and less than 10% are economically disadvantaged, as opposed to the 48% white population at SHS, with the majority of students being economically disadvantaged. This shows that lacrosse is becoming more inclusive and steering away from stereotypes.

Having played basketball, baseball, football and soccer, no sport has kept me wanting to come back again and again each day. I believe that I have had an impact on the growth of this sport at our school just by having brought half of the new guys to our team. If the sport of lacrosse continues to grow at the rate it is now,  it will be one of the most popular sports in North America.