This upcoming weekend of November 2-4, Trent will be hosting the 2012 Canadian University Field Lacrosse Association Men’s Lacrosse Championships, making this the first time that the championships will be held in Peterborough. The CUFLA was first recognized as the Ontario Field Lacrosse Association in 1985, but as it grew to include more Lacrosse teams outside of Ontario, the name changed to better fit the new expansion.
This year, six teams, the top three teams from each of the two divisions, will go head -to-head to battle for the 28th annual Baggataway Cup championship. Since Trent is hosting, they have earned an automatic spot in the championship games. This will be the third time since 2007, when Trent first started competing, that they will be in running for the title. Since some people may not know how Lacrosse is played, I will be going over the major points of the game in simple terms so, just maybe, everyone will understand.
Let’s start off with the players. There are four types of players on a team:
- The Goalie – The person that stands in front of the net for the entire game, stopping other people from getting a goal. The goalies are said to either be brave or crazy… or maybe a little bit of both seeing as they stand in front of a ball that sometimes flies over 100 mph.
- The Attackmen – No, these are not people who go around attacking things. The attackmen are the offensive players, they chase the ball around the field trying to get it. They are said to be some of the best stick handlers on the team—but a shorter stick makes it a bit easier to handle, if you know what I mean.
- The Midfielders – They are the ones who run around like chickens with their heads cut off. They play both offensive and defensive, so they run after the ball no matter where it goes. Speed and endurance are essential for what some people call the middies.
- The Defensemen – They are the tough looking guys standing in the back. They are on the defense and it’s their job to take down the opponents before they can score a goal.
Only ten players are allowed on the field per team including the goalie, so that means three of each type of player. Four of those ten players must stay in the defensive zone, goalie included, and three of them must stay in the offensive zone. The other players can go roam wherever they please.
So now that we have the players down, let’s discuss the field. The field is generally really big; 60 yards wide by 110 yards long. It is divided down the middle by a big line, so each team gets half of the field. Markings on the midfield line include vertical markings for the “wing area,” now if only that meant that it was a designated area to eat chicken wings in… that would totally make the game more entertaining, but unfortunately it is not. The “wing area” is marked ten yards in from the sidelines and 20 yards from the center of the field.
Now for the good stuff: The Attack and Defensive Area. I wish I could say that this is where you will see players fighting in a vicious battle for the ball, but again, this is not was these areas are for. These areas are marked 35 yards away from the end lines, which appoint the certain amount of players allowed in depending on the position of play. The last area that should be mentioned is the Goalie’s little personal bubble, known as the Goal Area. No other player is allowed to enter the nine-foot radius around the net.
The sticks: there are many different types of sticks, each with a different length and width. If you are taking this the wrong way, it is time to get your head out of the gutter. I was talking about the Lacrosse sticks that the players use to carry the ball. The goalie gets a wider stick so he has a better chance of catching the ball. The defensemen use the long stick; 72 inches, so they have a better chance at stopping other players. The middies can use whatever size stick they would like, although most prefer the longer sticks. This leaves the attackmen with the short end of the stick—I mean literally. They use the shortest sticks permitted so they have a lesser chance of losing the ball.
Now that the players, field and equipment have been covered, let’s talk a little bit about the actual game. Games are generally 60 minutes long, spilt into quarters, which are each 15 minutes long. Before the game begins, the team participates in a coin toss and the winner chooses the end of the field it wants to defend first. Then the men line up for the face-off. This is where the referee places the ball between the sticks of two squatting players at the center of the field. They look like rams head butting each other in combat for the possession of the ball. Once a team has control of the ball, the game starts rolling.