From the Iroquois Nationals to University at Albany's Lyle Thompson to the Iroquois Ironmen, Native American lacrosse players and teams are excelling at every level of the Creator's game. And the sport itself is growing in popularity, arguably the fastest growing game in the U.S. these days, with major NCAA schools like the University of Michigan adding varsity squads in recent years. It's even hoped that the sport will be again added to the Olympic program in 2024.
In the wake of this surge, Emmy-winning producer and Syracuse University professor Dennis Deninger–with a whole lot of help from his students–has created a documentary film on lacrosse: America's First Sport. (Read more: An Emmy-Winning Producer's Doc About Lacrosse's Native Origins)
From the film's description:
The first sporting event ever observed by Europeans in North America was a lacrosse game in 1637. Jesuit missionaries from France saw hundreds of native men playing a ball game with sticks that they thought resembled a bishop’s crosier, so they called the game “lacrosse.”
That makes lacrosse the oldest sport in America, and in the 21st century it is also the fastest growing. This rapid growth in participation, domestically and globally, presents the sport with a new set of opportunities and several challenges.
Students in The History of Sport class at Syracuse University’s Department of Sport Management researched the history, current status and future prospects of lacrosse during the 2012-13 academic year. This film is a product of their research which was led by Sport Management faculty.