Home Advocate State Lacrosse Coaches Advocate For Education Of The Sport’s Native American Roots | Penn State Men’s Lacrosse News

State Lacrosse Coaches Advocate For Education Of The Sport’s Native American Roots | Penn State Men’s Lacrosse News



Since people have been playing sports in North America, they have been playing lacrosse, at least in some variations.

The history of the sport dates back to the Native Americans, particularly the tribes of the St. Lawrence Valley and the eastern half of the United States and Canada before eventually spreading to the Midwest and South.

The game is very different today than it was hundreds of years ago, but it’s still a story that sticks to those involved in lacrosse today.

“I think there is a rich tradition in our sport,” Penn State women’s lacrosse coach Missy Doherty told The Daily Collegian. “I think everyone involved in it knows that, and I think people need to keep learning more about it.”

Doherty mentioned the evolution of the sport as something of particular interest to him.

Head coach Missy Doherty yells during the NCAA Quarterfinal game against Penn at Penn State Lacrosse Field on Saturday, May 21, 2016. Penn State defeated Penn 8-4.

The game, now known as lacrosse, started out as stickball.

Games can last for several days and have between 100 and 1000 players. This would take place over vast fields, sometimes occupying kilometers of space.

The rules may have varied from tribe to tribe and region to region, and given the age of the tradition, some details are difficult to piece together.

The game is believed to have been played for hundreds of years before French Jesuit missionaries witnessed it in the 1600s.

Jean de Brébeuf saw the Huron Amerindians playing the game and coined the name “lacrosse”, but it was not until the 19th century that more standardized rules began to be put in place.

The only cardinal rule since the origin of the sport has remained the same: players cannot use their hands to touch the ball.

When the game started, trees or piles of stones were chosen as the goals and the balls were made from carved wood, but eventually the Native Americans began to use deerskin to make the balls.

“I think our team recognizes the roots of the game with a lot of respect and respect for Native Americans,” Penn State men’s lacrosse coach Jeff Tambroni told The Collegian.

Penn State Men's NCAA Lacrosse Semi-Final vs. Yale, Interview with Jeff Tambroni BTN

Head coach Jeff Tambroni is interviewed by BTN following Penn State’s loss to Yale in the NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Semi-Final game at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia on Saturday, May 25, 2019. The No.5 Bulldogs have defeated the No.1 seed Nittany Lions 21-17.

Tambroni said that the motivation behind the game is something that sets him apart.

Initially, the sport was used to settle land disputes, but lacrosse has a more spiritual element as it was used as “a medicine and a chance to heal,” Tambroni said.

Tambroni said most sports don’t have such deep spiritual significance, which helps extend the game beyond the scoreboard.

“It was a way for people to connect, so if someone died you could honor or anger them through the sport of lacrosse,” Tambroni said.

Tambroni grew up in New York, near the reserve of the Onondaga Nation, a tribe where sport holds a special place.


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“Lacrosse in Onondaga is considered sacred. It is a game which was given by the Creator, to be played for the Creator, and which is known to have healing power. For this reason, it is also known as the medicine game, ”according to the Onondaga Nation.

The Onondaga, like many who played the game, believed that sport connected them to the Earth, and they reinforce that belief with one of the nation’s key traditions – the use of handmade wooden sticks. of hickory.

“I think not looking back in its original form or in the roots of the game is probably disrespectful and lacking in perspective,” Tambroni said.

Tambroni also said he wanted to do a better job of passing on the knowledge he learned growing up near the Onondaga Nation reserve to his team.

Doherty said that history leads her to be proud of the game, and one of the missions of modern sports should be to embrace the history and lore behind the game.

“I think with whatever you want, you want to respect our history, and part of that comes from educating people about the history of our sport,” Doherty said. “And then also by respecting the traditions which preceded us.”

Doherty added that communicating the story is something everyone involved in lacrosse needs to do more, and it is up to him to make the sharing of the tradition of the game his own.

Her knowledge of the true history of sport began with doing projects and reports in school, and for her, education reminded her that the game is bigger than one person.

“You’re still a part of something bigger than yourself to be a part of a sport that goes back so far,” Doherty said. “It’s just a nice reminder sometimes to step out of your little world and realize that – what it took to get you to where you are.”


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