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lacrosse(ləkrôs`), ball and goal game usually played outdoors by two teams of 10 players each on a field 60 to 70 yd (54.86 to 64.01 m) wide by 110 yd (100.58 m) long. Two goals face each other 80 yd (73.15 m) apart; each cone-shaped goal is 6 ft (1.8 m) square at the mouth and 7 ft (2.13 m) deep. The ball, about 8 in. (20 cm) in circumference and about 5 oz (.14 kg) in weight, is made of hard rubber. The stick, or crosse—from which the game gets its name because of the traditional stick's resemblance to a bishop's crosier—consists of a handle and an adjustable, pocketlike meshwork head in which the ball is received, carried, and passed. Teams direct their play toward advancing the ball so as to hurl or kick it into the opponent's goal (each goal counting one point). The team scoring the most points wins. Only the goalkeeper may touch the ball with his hands, and no other player may enter the crease—the 18 ft x 12 ft (5.49 m x 3.66 m) area surrounding the goal. Lacrosse is a game of rough physical contact; personal and technical fouls lead to disqualification or to temporary suspensions (as in ice hockey) that leave the penalized team a player short. A referee and a judge are the officials. A game is divided into four quarters of 25 min each; two overtime periods of 5 min each are played in the event of a tie. The game was developed as a war-training and spiritual exercise by North American natives. Called "baggataway," it was violent and had few fixed rules. Adopted and named lacrosse by French settlers, it became increasingly popular. In 1856 the Montreal Lacrosse Club was organized, and in 1860 the rules of the game were standardized. After Parliament adopted (1867) lacrosse as the national game of Canada, the National Lacrosse Association (now the Canadian Lacrosse Association) was established as the governing body of the sport. Lacrosse has attracted a wide amateur following since that time, and was formerly (1920–32) played professionally in Canada by 12-man teams. Introduced into the United States in the 1870s, it is now a popular college, school, and club game in the eastern United States. The United States has dominated international play, in which Canada, Australia, and the Iroquois Nation have also been prominent. Women's lacrosse, developed in England in the early 1900s, is less rough than the men's game. Box lacrosse, an indoor version played in hockey rinks, is played professionally in Canada and the United States.
See A. M. Weyand and M. R. Roberts, The Lacrosse Story (1965); P. E. Hartman, Lacrosse Fundamentals (1968).
the Canadian national team sport. Equipment includes a ball and long rackets (crosses).
Lacrosse originated as a ritual game of the North American Indians. The main rules of modern lacrosse were written by the Canadian G. Beers in 1850. In the second half of the 19th century, the game spread throughout Canada and to Great Britain, the USA, Australia, and South Africa.
Lacrosse is played on a level grass field, usually without boundary lines; the dimensions (100-112 m X 45-67 m) are established by the teams participating. The goals, 2.1 m wide and 1.8 m high, are set at opposite ends of the field. The length of the stick is not restricted (maximum usually 180 cm) and depends on the player’s preference and his position on the team, but the width of the head cannot exceed 30 cm. The sponge rubber ball weighs about 140 g and has a circumference of up to 20 cm. There are ten or 12 players on a team, including the goalkeeper, who plays with a large-netted racket.
Lacrosse may be played by men or by women. The rules resemble those of ice hockey. For example, body checking is permitted, but striking the ball with the hand is prohibited. The purpose of the game is to score points by sending the ball into the opponents’ goal. The winning team is the one that scores the most points during the 60 minutes of play (with breaks). Demonstration games of lacrosse were played at the Olympics in 1904, 1908, 1932, and 1948.
V. A. PRAVDIN