Although played in England since 1S7G, lacrosse has never gained very considerable popularity. Its origin was due to the North American Indians, and it has become the national pastime of the Canadians.
Lacrosse is played on a pitch from 100 yards to 150 yards long, and the implements are the crosse, a ball, and the goals. The latter are set at each end of the playing-field, and are formed by two poles and a cross-piece each 6 feet long, thus providing a space six feet square, with a net at the back, into which the ball has to be manoeuvred.
The crosse is made of hickory wood, the stick having a curved end, from the tip of which to a point near the handle a net of catgut is strung. At its widest part the net is 12 inches across. The ball is of rubber sponge, and measures from 8 to 8. inches in circumference, and weighs from 4; to 4h ounces.
Twelve players constitute a team, and in a match the members of each team occupy positions in the field in opposition to and adjacent to one another, the only exception being the goalkeeper. These positions are point (nearest to goal); cover-point, in front of point; third man, in front and to the left of cover-point; right defence and left defence, near the middle and on each side of the field; centre, in the centre of the field; right attack and leit attack, the first two players in the opponents halt of the field; third home, who opposes the opposition third man; second home, opposing the opponents cover-point; and first home, guarded by the adversaries point. The players ot each team are thus paired olr, so that wherever the ball may be thrown, there also will be two players in opposition.
The ball is placed on the ground in the centre ot the field, when the game opens, between the crosses of the two centres, and at the call of play by the referee the centres struggle for its possession. The players may kick or strike the ball, carry it on the crosse, and throw it with the crosse from one player to another.
By performing a kind of rocking motion with the crosse, a player can carry the ball, and this and the catching of the ball on the crosse form much of the skilful side of the phoy.
Only the goalkeeper is allowed to handle the ball, and he may do so only when he is within the goal-crease, an area twelve feet square, with the goal in the centre. The goalkeeper may not, however, throw the ball.
The side which forces the ball into their opponents goal most times are the winners. Two umpires, one at each goal, control the game, and play continues for an hour and a half, the sides changing over at the end of the first forty-five minutes.