submitted by Rebecca Wilcox
Once considered a prep-school game only played by those in the North East who didn’t have the space to field larger American games like football, Lacrosse is finally making the comeback that it deserves. This is becoming more clear as high schools and colleges around the nation pick up the sport and sink funds into programs so that they can compete with the well-known lacrosse schools.
The increase in the sport’s popularity has led to the widespread availability of lacrosse sticks and other products like balls and heads from Lacrosse Monkey in sporting goods stores all around the country. In past years, people in the New England area were left to find supplies on the Internet. The new popularity is great news for lacrosse fans, who are likely to find new teams and more equipment starting to pop up all around them.
One of the biggest, most recent developments in the sport is the rise of popularity in the Southern U.S. The commissioner of the South Eastern Conference recently said that the next sport he would like to see become competitive across the conference would be ladies lacrosse. Both Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee and the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida have women lacrosse teams, and both teams are competitive nationally.
In fact, the Gator’s women’s lacrosse team reached the finals during the 2012 tournament, which shows that the Southern U.S has a chance at competing with the powerhouse teams of the North East in lacrosse college athletics. Other BCS schools including the University of Louisville, the University of Oregon and the University of Cincinnati also have added women’s lacrosse teams to their athletic programs.
College isn’t the only arena where lacrosse is spreading in popularity. There is also a brand new indoor lacrosse league that is taking over arenas starting in 2012, and lacrosse teams are popping up across the country in areas that the sport was once unknown to. The Jacksonville Bullies are a new team in the Professional Lacrosse League in North Florida, an area that was previously unattached to any lacrosse program. This could mean a lot of new popularity for the sport in a region that was once dominated by football. The rise in collegiate and professional lacrosse is a surefire marker of the sport’s popularity among athletes and sport fans alike.
In 2001 only 13 states sanctioned women’s and men’s lacrosse in high-schools. Less than ten years later that number was up to 21, with the number of total students playing the sport doubling. All around, lacrosse is becoming much more popular and this is made clear by the increase in youngsters who are playing the sport as well as the development of programs at both the college and professional level.