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Weapons Of Baggataway Essay, Research Paper


Weapons of


Research Paper

Robert Vance


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

surprised me.

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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