The growth of the sport has taken off in the last few years, mainly in the South and especially in the state of Florida. The sport has grown by leaps and bounds to the point that the high school state championship program is comprised of more than 70 schools.
That growth has now continued its upward trend with the addition of women’s lacrosse at Jacksonville University and Florida, along with the first Division I men’s program in the state at JU.
I have to admit, what little I know of lacrosse is due to watching the men’s Final Four on television. This may come off as blasphemy, but I have never seen a game live, with the extent of what my eyes have witnessed is 30 minutes of a women’s camp this summer.
So, here’s what I’ve heard about this lacrosse:
- It’s the fastest game on grass. I can see this in what little I’ve seen. It takes the precision of basketball plays, along with the physicality of football and the stamina of soccer.
- There’s a major difference between the men’s and women’s game. That is very evident as well, which I like. Unlike basketball and soccer where the game is the same, the difference between men’s and women’s game is evident. The women’s game is finesse and teamwork, rewarding the teams that push the action and stay aggressive. The men’s game is gritty, hard nosed and physical. That’s from what little I’ve seen.
With some of the common perceptions about the sport being held true thus far, how is it going to be accepted in region where it is truly a foreign sport?
Before we look at lacrosse, I think it’s important to look at some other sports that have attempted to invade the South and take some of the luster off of King Football.
Soccer, while it is big in the little leagues, has never really taken off past that level. Hockey, the hot sport of the 1990s when the NHL expanded deep into the South, has seen the luster taken away as several of the Southern teams have experienced problems.
What gives lacrosse a chance?
To me, the sport has one thing that soccer and hockey don’t provide – scoring. The casual sports fan in the South is built with the short attention span – usually around 40 seconds (long enough for a football play), so lots of scoring is important. On the men’s side, throw in the physicality and its going to be a hot ticket. On the women’s side, the amount of movement and the rapid scoring opportunities give it a chance as well.
It’s an exciting time in the South to see this sport take root and begin its growth. Welcome to the South lacrosse. We hope you enjoy your stay.