The average man knows no more about lacrosse than be knows about claiming the Himalayas. The word perhaps conjures up pictures of half-oaked Ojibways laying onto a rawhide ball and each other with sticks of native hickory; but the image is faint, and stops short of modern lacrosse.
This game, a far cry from the early or injun variety which involved whole tribes in daylong action over several aerea of field, is played by teams of ten sober, able-bodied American youths on playing fields all over the nation-year even on the Business School Field, home of Bruce Munro and Harvard's increase team.
Lacrosse is a fluid game, resembling hockey played on a field 110 yards long and 60 to 70 yards wide. The object of the game, according to the august words of the Official Rules, is "to score by causing the ball to enter the opponent's goal." For this purpose the lacrosse player is given a crosse made of four to six feet of wood topped by a rawhide net in which the ball is caught and carried around the field. The ball can be kicked but not touched by the hands.
Ten Men to a Team
The team is composed of ten men as follows:
One goalie, who stands in front of the six-by-six hole which is the goalmouth, but ventures forth to become an offensive player when his team has the ball.
Three defensemen, who concentrate so hard on guarding their men that the goalie has to shout out at intervals where the ball is. They are not allowed ever the center line into the attack zone.
Three midfielders, who run themselves ragged, galloping up and down the full field, act first as auxiliary defensemen then as auxiliary attackers.
Three attackmen, who are supposed to shoot most of the goals. They are not allowed to stray into their own defense zone.
Thus there are always twelve men (defense and midfield vs attack and midfield) playing at one end of the field, and six men, lined up like so many drooling spaniels, on the midfield stripe waiting for the tide of play to turn.
The key to the game, as far as the attack man is concerned, is to gain a stop on the man guarding him, by any one of a number of crafty maneuvers. Foremost of the offensive arts is "dodging," (see cut left) in which the man with the ball fakes his defender off balance and then spins past him. There are also a number of "brush plays" where one of more attackers stage a traffic jam which prevents the defenseman from keeping up with the ball carrier.
Once a team gets a man loose, it can put pressure on the defense, sometimes forcing a defender to switch to the free ball-carrier (see cut below), sometimes scoring on a quick shot past a man screening the goalie's view.
As far as hostile use of the stick is concerned, lacrosse players seldom brain a man while the reforce is looking.