History of Lacrosse

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Shark River Lacrosse

“Play Hard, Play Fast, Play Shark River Lacrosse”




  • Lacrosse is the oldest sport in North America. Rooted in Native American religion, lacrosse was often played to resolve conflicts, heal the sick, and develop strong, virile men. To Native Americans, lacrosse is still referred to as "The Creator's Game."


·         Lacrosse also served as a preparation for war. Legend tells of as many as 1,000 players per side, from the same or different tribes, who took turns engaging in a violent contest.  Some tribes used a single pole, tree or rock for a goal, while other tribes had two goalposts through which the ball had to pass. Balls were made out of wood, deerskin, baked clay or stone.


·         The evolution of the Native American game into modern lacrosse began in 1636 when Jean de Brebeuf, a Jesuit missionary, documented a Huron contest in what is now southeast Ontario, Canada. Canadian dentist W. George Beers standardized the game in 1867 with the adoption of set field dimensions, limits to the number of players per team and other basic rules.


·         New York University fielded the nation's first college team in 1877.


·         The first women's lacrosse game was played in 1890 at the St. Leonard's School in Scotland. In 1926, Miss Rosabelle Sinclair established the first women's lacrosse team in the United States at the Bryn Mawr School in Baltimore, Maryland.


·         Men's and women's lacrosse were played under virtually the same rules, with no protective equipment, until the mid-1930s. At that time, men's lacrosse began evolving dramatically, while women's lacrosse continued to remain true to the game's original rules.


·         Before lacrosse was a sport, it was a religious rite, practiced to honor the pantheon of Indian spirits. 'The Game of the Creator" required speed, strength, hand-eye skills and stamina; all of the traits necessary for survival.


·         The Indians of the Iroquois Nation called their festival "baggataway". The entire countryside was their venue and goals were set in villages miles apart. Whole nations were divided into teams with thousands of warriors on each side. Contestants were armed with one or two wooden sticks, each containing a woven pocket at one end, with which a leather ball, stuffed with stones, could be caught, carried or thrown.


·         Indian shaman would serve as referees, and it was not uncommon for squaws to follow skirmishes, whipping their husbands with reeds to inspire more enthusiastic performances. Lacrosse festivals might last for days and it was not uncommon for braves to be maimed or killed.


·         French Missionaries who first witnessed the sport were struck by the resemblance of the curved wooden sticks and the 'crossier' or what we would call the shepherd's crossier, and renamed it La Crossier or Lacrosse as we call it today.


Lastly, in June of 2012 a significant moment in lacrosse history...Shark River Lacrosse (K-4th grade) merged with Manasquan River Lacrosse (5th -8th grade) to form Shark River Lacrosse (K-8th grade).