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Effects of Western Culture on Lacrosse

  • Date Submitted: 03/19/2013 12:26 PM
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Effects of Western Culture on Lacrosse

“Sport is a kind of physical play that is constrained by rules: “a physically exertive activity that is aggressively competitive within constraints imposed by definitions and rules” (Blanchard and Cheska 1985, 60).   Lacrosse is a sport that is currently played in the United States but has existed in North America long before the United States had formed.   Lacrosse is a stickball game that has been played by American Indians for centuries.   According to Thomas Vennum Jr. author of American Indian Lacrosse: Little Brother of War, “Early data on lacrosse, from missionaries such as French Jesuits in Huron country in the 1630s and English explorers, such as Jonathan Carver in the mid-eighteenth century Great Lakes area, are scant and often conflicting” (uslacrosse.org).   One reason for this is that the many American Indian tribes had different variations of the game.
Traditionally, the game served more than just a source of entertainment.   Thomas Vennum Jr. claims that in American Indian culture, “Its [lacrosse] origins are rooted in legend, and the game continues to be used for curative purposes and surrounded with ceremony. Game equipment and players are still ritually prepared by conjurers, and team selection and victory are often considered supernaturally controlled” (uslacrosse.org).   In todays’ Western society, this ritualization of the sport may seem a little ridiculous, however, the ritualization of lacrosse is still commonplace in professional as well as non-professional lacrosse teams today.   This ritualization of the sport gives way to a lacrosse subculture that is unique.  
Merriam-Webster defines a subculture as “an ethnic, regional, economic, or social group exhibiting characteristic patterns of behavior sufficient to distinguish it from others within an embracing culture or society”.   In this case, lacrosse is a subculture of western culture.   That being said, one can more deeply conceptualize this in terms of...


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