The Growing Popularity Of Lacrosse

Sunday, April 29th 2007, 6:58 pm
By: News On 6

Nothing's bigger in Oklahoma than high school football, but a new sport wants to challenge its dominance on the field. Lacrosse is a game pioneered by Native Americans. It's a combination of hockey, soccer, and basketball, and the News On 6’s Joshua Brakhage reports many think it's just the right mix for Oklahoma.

"What do you like about lacrosse?" asked reporter Joshua Brakhage.

"The hitting," said lacrosse player Josh Bloom. “And it's just fast-paced."

Boom is pretty quick himself. He's been learning lacrosse for less than year. His team's only been practicing for two months.

"We started the season with about 13 kids, and now we have about 30 on our roster, so it's really starting to take off," said head coach Tim Reidy.

Reidy says it's an alternative to football or baseball, where kids of all ages and sizes get playing time right away. He says it's a natural fit for Oklahoma.

"It's a Native American sport, so it should've been around,” said Reidy. “You think it would've been popular here."

Coaches and players say the rules and equipment of lacrosse are a lot like hockey, the game play's a lot like soccer, and the strategy's a lot like basketball and for good reason.

"The reason behind that is James Naismith was a lacrosse coach, and he invented basketball for his players to have something to condition for in the off-season," said Reidy.

Dwayne Lewis' twin boys play defense on the Tulsa team.

"It's such a great game. It's very athletic, very physical, so the crossover from ice hockey to lacrosse was a natural for my sons, cause they really like to play physical sports," said Lewis.

He and his family are transplants from Canada, but says lacrosse is the best way for them to adjust to Oklahoma.

"As soon as the kids play it once, they're hooked," Lewis said.

And his boys aren't the only ones.

The Tulsa team has to travel to Dallas and Wichita to find competition, but Oklahoma interest is growing. Seventy-five middle school students have signed up for a summer lacrosse league. As many as three high schools could have teams next year.