I attended a lacrosse game between Cherry Hill West and Shawnee to get a see what the game looks like in action. With the help of a friendly parent, I drew a sketch of the field and the positions. The centers take the center (duh), in which they vie for the ball when the referee calls blows her whistle. Each team has two attack wings and two defense wings on the outside of the center. Farther down the field are homes (on the offensive side) and points (on the defensive side), and each are covered by their opposites. They take their positions near the goal and goalie. The game is split into two 25 minute halves.
Once the players started moving, things moved quickly. Twenty-four people running and weaving around makes for a disorienting experience. But, I thought, with all these kids running around, their must be plenty of chances for collisions and inadvertent hits. There were none in this game, thankfully, but I could see believable opportunities for injury in my short story: when a point brings her stick behind her back to throw the ball to a player across the field, other players swipe their sticks to try to dislodge the ball from her net. From my research, I know that players did in fact receive concussions from stick contact, so this demonstrated just how that could play out. Also, if the ball flies loose, all the players in the area swarm around it to scoop it up. More than once, I saw a player scoop the ball about 15 feet into the air, and players converging on it with their sticks in the air to catch it. I’m sure the players have learned how to avoid injury from these situations, but, to an outsider, most of it looks like chaos.
Other notes I took included getting a sense of the sideline environment: parents sharing cup ‘o joes with each other, seated on blankets or bleachers and commenting on the game or making small talk.