A Complicated Game
After 13 years of watching from the sidelines, this will be my last year watching Suffield girls’ lacrosse.
It started when my oldest daughter signed up for “Lax Cats” in first grade, and it will end sometime in June when my youngest daughter’s 7th/8th grade team finishes its final playoff game.
Even after all the hundreds of games I’ve observed as an invested spectator, I still don’t know it. I’ve read the rule book. I still don’t get it.
Girls’ lacrosse is different than a lot of sports, including boys’ lacrosse. For one, it’s a non-contact sport. Unless you’re the goalkeeper, there are no pads or helmets – just safety googles, a mouthguard and a taut net at the end of stick to keep a rubber cannonball from knocking you out. But, contact happens. You’re not supposed to hit an attackers’ stick if it’s near the head, but if that stick so much as droops down, it gets whacked like a piñata.
Lacrosse is played on a pretty big field. The refs can only be in so many places at once. I remember one game in Simsbury, my daughter was getting harassed by two defenders away from the play, and she demonstrated the illegal two-handed cross-check on one of them, and offered to show the other the sharp end of what I assume is called a “face check.” That’s my girl!
I know that the object of lacrosse is to put the ball into the net, like so many sports, but there are so many obstacles along the way in attempting to complete that goal. Just as the game gets going, the whistle blows. Some sort of offense has occurred. The referee dutifully explains the reason play was stopped and everyone on the field nods in comprehension. The players from both teams stand back, the offended party gets the ball and shoots – or sometimes she doesn’t. I don’t why.
But, the girls do, and that’s what’s important.
In girls’ lacrosse, though it helps, it’s not enough to be athletic. A player needs to know the game. A team needs players who know how to not get tripped up by penalties. Sometimes, the most efficient method of teaching is to learn by doing. You make mistakes, and someone blows the whistle on it. You remember why. You score or help score a goal. You remember how.
My daughters, one of whom played for Suffield High School and the other who hopes to play for Loomis Chaffee, got a great education in girls’ lacrosse.
And, they got it in Suffield.