By Jonathan Hagstrom
A player of this game must have finesse and strength, and they must be prepared to catch a 2.5-inch ball from across a field over 300 feet long.
This game is lacrosse, a team sport with Native American origins, and it demands extreme hustle, toughness, and an adaptability that is rarely matched in organized sport.
It is an experience that is high scoring and hard hitting. Some compare its liveliness and intensity to soccer or hockey.
Spencer Knutson, 21, a recreation administration major, loved playing hockey as a kid — for a while.
“Mom said if I couldn’t pay for my dental I couldn’t keep playing hockey,” he said.
He looked to lacrosse, knowing it would be the next best thing to zipping around on skates. Lacrosse is called the fastest game on two feet.
Now the captain representing the mid-fielders at Humboldt State, Knutson has seen the men’s lacrosse team develop greatly since he joined the team.
Four years ago, the team was less than half the size it is now, as it struggled to win any games. The team had only 12 players.
Since becoming more than twice the size, the team has gained a huge advantage in a sport that always has 10 players on the field. The lacrosse team has now been dominating in their league, with only one loss and placement in the playoffs last semester.
Not everything is smooth sailing for this up and coming team, however, as they butt heads with other institutions on campus. The NCAA teams have priority to use the Redwood Bowl, so that the club sports such as lacrosse don’t get to use their main practice field as much.
“Half of the time they have the field (reserved), they aren’t even using it,” said Graham Paschke, 23, studying recreation administration.
The lacrosse team and other club sports interested in using the Bowl more just finished collecting signatures supporting their cause, and there was recently a hearing by Humboldt State to determine the club sports’ fate. While the verdict is still unknown, the Lacrosse team will continue to split up their practice time between two fields.
Humboldt State also has a female lacrosse team. The female version of the sport is optimized for less physical contact, and uses a different set of rules.
Most Humboldt State students know nothing about lacrosse, so they don’t even consider it an option to join or attend a game. Tessa Purdy, 21, a botany major, is exemplary of this trend.
Purdy’s interest in the sport has been piqued, though she doesn’t know much about it.
“[Lacrosse] would be fun, but I probably wouldn’t [join a team],” she said.