Box Lacrosse For Your Girlfriend
Gentlemen, do you have a special someone in your life? That girl that makes you giddy inside. She’s perfect. Beautiful eyes, luscious hair, a sexy voice. She’s got it all. But wait. You have a second love. Your love of lacrosse. And that’s REALLY got it all. You look at lacrosse and your girl. You look back at lacrosse, then your girl again. You realize she’s not quite perfect. Why? Cause she doesn’t understand lacrosse! Wouldn’t it be nice if you could talk lacrosse and she understood what you were saying? Shaking your head in agreement? This article is for you!
I’ve become accustomed to this conundrum. Yes, your boy has his special someone too. She’s awesome; yet, she doesn’t know anything about lacrosse. When I talk about lacrosse, it makes as much sense to her as when she discusses The Bachelor with me. Hell, I write about lacrosse and she’s completely clueless about it. I watch a game with her and she pesters me with random statements (“baby, look at this Tik Tok”). That’s when it hit me. She doesn’t listen to me talk, but she remembers my articles. If I merely pen the basics, she’ll understand. That and she’s been nagging me to write this.
So, there you have it. Here is my girlfriend-edition box lacrosse 101. She’ll have a basic understanding of the game after reading this. If you don’t have a significant other, I’ve been sure to include interesting facts for all levels of box fandom. This will provide you with a basic understanding of box lacrosse, its history, and its teams. Let’s get into this.
Box lacrosse is mainly played in North America. It’s called box lacrosse since it’s played inside on a hockey rink (when the ice is melted or covered). Box lacrosse originated in Canada during the 1930s. Its creation is attributed to Paddy Brennan. Brennan was a field player/referee from Montreal who grew annoyed with the constant stoppages in play (from the ball going out-of-bounds); thus, he decided to move the game to a hockey rink (where there’s no out-of-bounds).
Box lacrosse became a local hit almost immediately. In fact, it is Canada’s national summer sport (move over hockey). The first professional box game occurred in 1931. The professional league dubbed itself the International Lacrosse League (ILL). The league was comprised of four teams. The squads were the Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs (those two sound familiar), Montreal Maroons, and Cornwall Colts. Unfortunately, the league folded in two years.
There were on-and-off leagues from there until 1986. Here, the Eagle Professional Box Lacrosse League was founded. After one season, it was renamed the Major Indoor Lacrosse League. In 1998, the league rebranded itself once again. Ever since, it’s known as the National Lacrosse League (NLL). This is the current professional box lacrosse league.
All that history seems intimidating, but I promise, box lacrosse is easy to understand. Simply put, there are six players per team on the field (5v5 and 1 goalies per team). The five players can be one of three positions. They can be a forward. A forward plays offense and his main objective is to score. They’re generally the most well-known players. There are transition specialists. These guys tend to play defense; however, they have a more offensive mindset. Their job is to get the ball and bring it down to the offense. If they get a fast break, they will try and score. Lastly, there are defensemen (my favorite players). Their goal is to stop the other team from scoring. Goalies are self-explanatory. They stand in front of the net and block shots.
Players wear protective gear. This includes chest pads, elbow pads, gloves, and a helmet. The helmets are hockey helmets with a special lacrosse facemask. They look different than field helmets. Goalies wear massive hockey pads to prevent injury.
Players wear all this because contact is allowed. Defensemen can hit ball carriers with their sticks and body. You are allowed to hit the ball carrier anywhere except the head, back, and legs. Chest and arms are fair game. If the defenseman hits the ball carrier in the head (with his stick), this is a slash. He gets a two-minute penalty, which is released after time expires or the opposing team scores a goal. Another common penalty is a “push”. A push is when a defenseman pushes his opponent in the back. You cannot do this; however, a push does not result in a two-minute penalty. The other team just gets the ball. Think of a push as a travel in basketball. It’s a penalty, but doesn’t count as a foul. Fighting is allowed but results in a five-minute penalty. Just like hockey.
We got the positions, gear, and basic penalties out of the way. Now, what is the ultimate goal of the game? It’s simple. It’s 5v5 with each team attempting to put the ball in their opponent’s net. There is a thirty second shot clock in between possessions; however, if a shot goes on net, the shot clock resets. Just like in basketball. If the shot clock expires without a shot on net, the defense gets the ball.
Valerie, I know what you’re thinking. “Just go right up to the goalie and shoot the ball in.” No. That’s not how this works. You see, there is a circle around the goalie. This is called the crease. An offensive player is prohibited from entering the crease or the ball is turned over. You cannot make contact with the goalie, in the crease, either. If a player scores, but his foot is in the crease, the goal doesn’t count. Players are allowed to dive into the crease; however, the ball must enter the goal before they actually touch it (same goes for goalie contact).
When a goal is scored, players line up for a faceoff. A faceoff is when two players kneel at center field with the ball being placed between the heads of their sticks. When a whistle is blown, the players attempt to clamp the ball and pop it to themselves or a teammate. The two men facing off cannot be touched by other players until the ball comes out.
There’s much more to the game (including strategies and the like); however, to understand and watch an NLL game, this is all you really need to know. Now, this is great. But what team do you cheer for? I’ve got you covered!
Currently, the NLL is comprised of thirteen teams. They are as follows: The Buffalo Bandits, Calgary Roughnecks, Colorado Mammoth, Georgia Swarm, Halifax Thunderbirds, New England Black Wolves, New York Riptide, Philadelphia Wings, Rochester Knighthawks, San Diego Seals, Saskatchewan Rush, Toronto Rock, and Vancouver Warriors. If you want in-depth explanations on each team, read my NLL articles or go to the league’s official website.
I’ll always encourage newbies to cheer on the Saskatchewan Rush (my personal favorite). The Rush always compete for championships. They are the New England Patriots of box lacrosse. If you want a team with nice jerseys, I’d recommend Halifax or Vancouver. If you want to make it easy, just cheer for the team closest to you. Whoever you choose, they won’t disappoint (unless you choose New York or Vancouver… sorry about that).
My Pitch for Box Lacrosse
Hopefully, you now have a basic understanding of box lacrosse and its history. I’ve given you enough to stop you from pestering your boyfriends during live games. Now you can watch, understand, and enjoy NLL games. You can finally stop asking your man for selfies because you’re confused and bored. This is doubly true for when he’s playing (looking at you Valerie).
Now, I’ve loaded you up with ammunition. So, get out there and enjoy. Get into the games. Follow the teams on social media. Learn more about the players (just don’t talk to your boyfriend about the hot ones). If you aren’t a girlfriend and just a box newbie, I still hope you found this article knowledgeable and entertaining. Obviously, this article utilizes satire, so those worried I secretly detest my girlfriend, fear not. We both get a kick out of teasing each other. That aside, stop asking your boyfriend to watch that latest rom com. Instead, beg him to take you to an NLL game. I promise you won’t regret it.
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