A History of the Game
A comprehensive history of modern lacrosse, from the appropriation of the Native American game to its ever-increasing popularity today.
Honorable Mention in the Best Sport History Book awards from the North American Society for Sport History
North America's Indian peoples have always viewed competitive sport as something more than a pastime. The northeastern Indians' ball-and-stick game that would become lacrosse served both symbolic and practical functions—preparing young men for war, providing an arena for tribes to strengthen alliances or settle disputes, and reinforcing religious beliefs and cultural cohesion. Today a multimillion-dollar industry, lacrosse is played by colleges and high schools, amateur clubs, and two professional leagues.
In Lacrosse: A History of the Game, Donald M. Fisher traces the evolution of the sport from the pre-colonial era to the founding in 2001 of a professional outdoor league—Major League Lacrosse—told through the stories of the people behind each step in lacrosse's development: Canadian dentist George Beers, the father of the modern game; Rosabelle Sinclair, who played a large role in the 1950s reinforcing the feminine qualities of the women's game; "Father Bill" Schmeisser, the Johns Hopkins University coach who worked tirelessly to popularize lacrosse in Baltimore; Syracuse coach Laurie Cox, who was to lacrosse what Yale's Walter Camp was to football; 1960s Indian star Gaylord Powless, who endured racist taunts both on and off the field; Oren Lyons and Wes Patterson, who founded the inter-reservation Iroquois Nationals in 1983; and Gary and Paul Gait, the Canadian twins who were All-Americans at Syracuse University and have dominated the sport for the past decade.
Throughout, Fisher focuses on lacrosse as contested ground. Competing cultural interests, he explains, have clashed since English settlers in mid-nineteenth-century Canada first appropriated and transformed the "primitive" Mohawk game of tewaarathon, eventually turning it into a respectable "gentleman's" sport. Drawing on extensive primary research, he shows how amateurs and professionals, elite collegians and working-class athletes, field- and box-lacrosse players, Canadians and Americans, men and women, and Indians and whites have assigned multiple and often conflicting meanings to North America's first—and fastest growing—team sport.
About the Author
Donald M. Fisher is a professor of history at Niagara County Community College.
"A sweeping history of the game. Fisher traces the emergence of modern lacrosse in both Canada and the United States."
"A thoroughly researched, clearly written, handsomely designed, very comprehensive history of North American lacrosse since the mid-nineteenth century... this is one of the most informative histories of any sport that I have ever read."
"This book will long serve as the standard history of lacrosse."
"Rather than provide a narrative of great players, which has been the tendency in some of the earlier writings in sports history, Fisher situates the history of lacrosse in North American its broader social and cultural context. Thus, the book is an important contribution to our understanding of how sport emerged as a professional, commercial spectacle in modern North America."
"[A] Definitive history of Lacrosse... Will be enjoyed by sports fans and referenced by social historians."
"This is the most complete history of the sport of lacrosse to date."
Other Titles in SPORTS & RECREATION / History
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