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Weapons Of Baggataway Essay, Research Paper
Table of Contents
Overview of the Game3
“Born of the North Americans, Christened by the French, adopted and
raised by the Canadians, Lacrosse has been wooed by athletes and enthusiasts of
the United States and British commonwealth for over 100 years. Practically all the
English-speaking nations have succumbed to the charm and challenge of Lacrosse
at one time or another (Lacrosse Foundation, 1994)”
In this paper you will take a journey from the origins of lacrosse (originally
baggataway) to some possible futures of the equipment, and hopefully you will
learn the basic concepts of the sport. You will also learn how human needs and
social trends have changed the stick from a curved piece of wood into a complex
alloy and polymer piece of equipment.
Overview of the Game
Lacrosse is a fast paced full contact sport played on a 110 long by 60 yard
wide level playing field. The game is played by two teams of ten men, a Goal
keeper, Attack, Midfield and Defense. Defensive players are limited to the area of
the first dividing line (restraining line) to the endline in which their teams goal is.
They nor the goalkeeper is allowed to leave this area unless a midfielder stays
behind the restraining line until the player who leaves returns to his area.
Midfielders are permitted to travel the length of the field with no restrictions
unless they stay back for a defensmen or the goal keeper. Attackers are restricted
to the area from the restraining line to the end line that has the opposing teams
goal within it. Any combination of men at these positions that equals ten is
permitted. Regulation games are 60 minutes long consisting of four 15 minute
periods. Between the first and second period as well as between the third and
fourth periods there is a two minute interval. Between the second and third period
there is a ten minute interval.
Players are required to wear protective gloves, shoulder pads, helmet,
mouthgaurd, shoes and jerseys. The mouthgaurd must be of yellow or other highly
visible color. The helmet must meet NCAA inspection standards and have a
snugly fitting chin strap. Optional equipment includes arm guards and rib pads.
The lacrosse stick used by the players may be of either 40-42 inches (short
stick) or 52-72 inches (long stick). The goalkeeper’s stick may be 72 inches or
less. The stick is usually made of two pieces which attach by means of a screw in
the head. The head is the plastic part of the stick that has a laced netting used to
catch and throw the ball. The shaft is a wood or synthetic material that the head
fits on to and then is affixed by a screw. Sidewalls are the sides of the head and
are usually about two inches in height. Any pocket (netting) used on a head that is
deep enough so that when a ball is placed in the net it is below the sidewall is
deemed illegal and must be removed from play.
Personal fouls are fouls of serious nature: illegal body checking, slashing,
crosse-checking, tripping, unnecessary roughness, unsportsman like conduct and
the use of illegal gloves or stick. These fouls result in suspension from the game
for up to three minutes, the fouling player shall spend this time in the penalty box.
Time spent in the penalty box will be decided by the referees as deemed necessary.
Fighting or the accumulation of five personal fouls will result in expulsion.
Technical fouls include holding, interference, pushing, stalling and withholding
ball from play. These fouls result in either a thirty second suspension or awarding
the ball to the other team.
The lacrosse stick was invented by the Indians of northeastern North
America in the early fourteen hundreds. Originally all that was needed to make a
lacrosse stick was steam, a piece of wood, gut, rawhide and time. Today to make a
good lacrosse stick you need aerospace alloys, molds, specialized rubbers, nylon
and the equipment and knowledge to put it together. With out our present
technology the game of lacrosse wouldn’t exist, the synthetic stick is totally
dependent on the inventions that have been made in the last three decades.
Originally the game of lacrosse was training for war. Hundreds of players
on a team with fields miles long, games could last for weeks. Fortunes were made
and lost from these games, people would bet cattle, chickens and even wives or
children on the outcomes of these games (Levinson, 560). The games were very
violent as well, with almost no form of rules just about anything could happen to a
person. The original settlers of the northeast who saw these games thought them
so violent that one was quoted as saying, “If one was not told they (the Indians)
were playing a game, you would think they were at war” (Levinson, 562) but, the
games could also prevent war. Several times the Indian nations have found the
game of lacrosse to be an agreeable alternative to a war.
The synthetic stick used in the game today helps younger players learn the
game and the skills it requires. Instead of being a difficult sport that only the best
players could master, today, with some time, almost anyone can pick the sport up
and become good at it.
The trend in society that have effected the lacrosse stick the most was the
want for a lighter, more durable stick that could be easily wielded and mass
produced. It would not be until 1966 that this wish would be answered. In the
1870’s America and the English commonwealth were quickly gaining in support
for lacrosse, the game was beginning to spread through society like wildfire.
However, the game of lacrosse was heavily opposed to by the church which saw it
as an ultra violent waste of energy (Levinson, 561). This influence leaned heavily
on the growth of the sport and considerably slowed it. Despite this the game
continued to grow all over the world.
Originally training for war, lacrosse has turned into one of the fastest
growing worldwide sports ever seen. Although it is still highly competitive the
game has been turned into a very organized sport as well with a large emphasis on
player safety. Although the game has changed over time the sticks have not
changed slowly, but has changed in sudden bursts. In 1969 all the sticks used in
the National Championship were made of wood. In 1971 both teams played with
all synthetic sticks (Conover, 33). Along with the invention of the synthetic stick
the most important change to the lacrosse stick has been the introduction of the
aerospace alloys (STX fax, 1), these alloys have allowed the advancement of the
game instead of its forecasted extinction.
Quality construction and materials (STX fax, 2) are wanted by every
consumer. These categories include weight/strength ratio, stiffness of the head
and accuracy of shot. The old sticks were heavy and hard to use, they were
expensive, broke easily and no two sticks had the same feel (STX Stick Shift, 3).
They remained basically the same until in 1966 Bill Crawford, Jack Davis,
Fielding Lewis and Dick Tucker Sr. created the synthetic stick (STX Big name,
48). In 1971 they founded STX Incorporated which is still based in Baltimore to
this day (STX, Stick Shift, 3). In 1983 the Laser Hi-Wall head was created and by
1985 the first open sidewall was created.
STX, as the creator of the modern lacrosse stick, has received every major
patent for the lacrosse stick ( STX Big name, 49). Its main competitor is the New
England Based Brine Corporation which is an STX Licensee (STX, Stick Shift, 5).
Despite the competition from Brine and other companies, such as Debeer and
Warrior, STX remains the single largest supplier of lacrosse equipment in the
Today lacrosse has a definitely positive impact on society as a fast paced
continually growing competitive sport. Arguably the “fastest game on two
feet”(Conover, Little Brother, 33) the sport has enchanted players world wide and
does not show any signs of slowing growth. As people keep wanting a lighter shaft
and more durable product, the lacrosse companies keep experimenting with metals
and compounds to find the next big thing. Although most sticks cost about seventy
dollars, the next big thing can end up being very costly, some advanced sticks cost
up to about two hundred dollars. New technology in influencing industries, such
as the aerospace, golf and skiing industries, new products are able to be created.
Seemingly impossible designs turn out wonderfully with the help of computers and
robots in large production facilities and the sport continues to grow more and more
A good lacrosse stick today needs an ultralight shaft that is durable and very
strong; it also needs a flexible head that won’t break and netting that forms easily
and throws accurately. These are the most important features in a stick, and most
players won’t settle for less than top of the line. The game of lacrosse continues to
grow in popularity and with it the sticks own popularity. As time passes on
athletes are finding themselves seduced and then addicted to this fast paced sport.
Within the last decade there has been a forty five percent growth (STX Big Name,
56). The people who use the stick the most are players aging from twelve to
twenty five (STX Fax, 2) although there are many older and younger players who
enjoy the sport. New sticks continue to become stronger and more durable,
complying with the demands of these consumers.
I conducted a survey of 23 lacrosse players aging from nine to twenty three
and found very similar results in each survey. Many sticks (head and shaft) used
by the people surveyed were combined products of two companies, which totally
None of the people I surveyed used a complete stick by any company except
for STX or Brine. This result really surprised me. The heads and shaft types used
also came as a surprise.
The majority of the people I surveyed thought that the most important aspect of a
stick was its shafts strength to weight ratio. For changes, among a few other items,
all respondents put lighter and more durable shaft. Also wanted was a deeper
pocket, netting that wouldn’t stretch as easily, more accurate throw from the pocket
and a stiffer but lighter head. The few women I interviewed were also interested
in some design changes, such as a semi transparent head and new shaft graphics.
Unfortunately the varied changes I proposed left me unable to create a graph that
could accurately show the responses. With these improvements the respondents
were willing to pay a considerable amount more than their original sticks cost.
Making the desired improvements and marketing a stick with them would give the
company who made the stick a considerable lead in the Lacrosse Equipment
market, some respondents were even willing to pay over two hundred and fifty
dollars for an improved stick.
Based on the response of my surveyees my final proposed changes to the
stick come together to form a totally new stick. For the shaft there will be used a
titanium/ carbon alloy composite. The main part of the shaft will be made of
titanium but will also have carbon alloy threads woven throughout the metal to
make an incredible strength to weight ratio. The netting used would be a synthetic
durable soft mesh that does not harden or shrink when exposed to water or cold
temperatures. The head would be semi transparent plastic with two and a half inch
open side walls. Near the top of the head the traditional straight edges would be
curved outwards to improve a player’s scoop and catch. The changes will result in
a stick that is far superior to any other, but I estimate that it may have a cost of
about $140. After presenting these changes to my focus group I am sure that these
changes are what is wanted in a lacrosse stick.
As this somewhat obscure sport continues to grow the demand for more
performance from equipment continues to grow as well. The stick has changed so
much in the last three decades that one can only wonder what it will be like in the
next millennium. I believe that the stick that I have “created”, should it be
produced, would do very well on the market. If the sport and technological
development continues to grow as it has in the past, you may see a stick like this in
your neighborhood in the near future.
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