The Fascinating History Of Lacrosse: Why Is It Called “Lacrosse”?

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Lacrosse is a popular sport across the world, but not many people know why it’s called lacrosse. This article will take a deeper look into the history of this sport to explain how it got its name and what sets it apart from other sports. We’ll explore the origins of lacrosse, where it came from, and how it has evolved over time. So if you’re curious as to why lacrosse is referred to by its unique name, read on!

The History of Lacrosse

Lacrosse has been around since at least 1636, when French Jesuit missionaries first witnessed Native Americans playing a game they referred to as “la crosse” in what is now Canada. It was played with sticks and balls made out of wood or animal hide that could be thrown or caught in order to move the ball downfield toward an opponent’s goalpost. The game was initially considered a means for physical training for warriors, but later also took on spiritual importance for some tribes who believed playing would bring about rain or good luck in battle.

Over time, different variations sprang up all over North America with most versions involving two teams competing against one another using sticks with nets attached at one end used both offensively and defensively in order to score goals by shooting the ball past their opponents’ posts. In 1860 Montreal became home to Canada’s first organized club team, which began spreading the popularity of lacrosse worldwide, eventually leading us up until modern times, where we have professional leagues like Major League Lacross (MLL) along with college-level teams across North America as well as international competitions such as World Lacross Championship tournaments held every four years since 1967.

Why Is It Called “Lacrosse”?

So why did this centuries-old game become known specifically by its French name, “lacrosse”? According to historians, early European settlers were inspired by what they saw Native Americans doing when they watched them play their particular version of stickball games – sticking out their arms like crossed staffs during playtime, thus resembling what Europeans at that time referred to as “la crosse” which translated literally meant “the cross”. As more people started learning about these games from Indigenous peoples throughout North America, more and more English-speaking countries adopted naming conventions based off of this French phrase – including anglicizing spelling variants such as ‘lax’, which eventually led us up until today, where we refer these games collectively under one term: “lacrosse”.


In conclusion, while there may be various interpretations on exactly how or why lacrosse became so widely accepted globally by its current title, there are no doubts that this centuries-old sport remains just as beloved today thanks largely due both cultural exchanges between Indigenous peoples and Europeans settlers alike combined with modern day technological advancements making possible larger scale competitive events than ever before. No matter how much things change though, one thing remains certain: La Crosse continues to be enjoyed all around the world and universally recognized simply under one name – Lacrosse.