Unfortunately, for the likes of England, Spain, Australia and all but 16 countries, the World Cup is now over, so why not look away from Football and try something new? There are hundreds of World Championships in Sport that do not get the coverage that the FIFA World Cup gets, some of which England might actually see through the group stages…
Take for example the Lacrosse World Championships which open on July 10th this year in Denver. Fantastic news for English fans: We’re already in the top 6!
The FIL Men’s World Championships are structured slightly differently to most World Cups: 38 countries participate and are placed into coloured “Divisions”. All divisions, with the exception of ‘Blue’, contain 4 countries which have been grouped randomly and have a ‘group stages’ format. The winner of each of the 8 four-team divisions has the chance to go through to the quarter finals (only 2 will not make it). ‘Blue Division’ is different. The top 6 ranked teams in the World, which currently are USA, Canada, Australia, England, Iroquois and Japan, compete in their own group stage, the top two teams will go straight through to the semi-finals and the 3rd and 4th place teams go to the quarter finals. The opening game of every World Championships is a repeat of the final from the previous quadrennial, meaning you don’t have to wait to see an amazing game.
If you are feeling put off by the fact that you may not know much about Lacrosse, fear not, for it is a lot simpler than it seems. Lacrosse, much like the Olympics, is based upon an ancient Sport but was revamped at the end of the nineteenth century. The Native Indian War Game was modernised and, in 1890, the first game of Modern Lacrosse was played at a school in Scotland. In the 1930s, the game was redesigned, creating a far more violent version which required safety equipment; thus Men’s Lacrosse was born. The game played today is a national sport of Canada and is played 10 a side including a heavily padded goalkeeper, with an offside rule defining how many players are required in certain parts of the pitch at all times. The goals are 6 x 6 foot and the balls are made of solid rubber, with average shot speeds at 80-100mph. The players use metal or wooden sticks with a specifically designed ‘head’ on top, containing a shaped mesh specially designed to control passing, shooting and catching. Some players have short sticks (approx. 30 inches long) whilst defensive players have longer sticks (60 inches). The rules with regards to penalties is similar to Ice Hockey, if you commit a foul you send a certain amount of time off the pitch and run straight on afterwards. Also like Ice Hockey, substitutions are unlimited and can happen during gameplay.
One can only really learn so much from reading about Lacrosse, so feel free to research it further or search for Youtube clips of Games and go and watch some live. I insist on everyone watching at least some of the World Championships, as it is the best quality Lacrosse you can find and it would show you why the game is known as ‘the fastest game on two feet’.
England are yet to win the Championships, which began in 1967 and then were repeated in 1974 before running every four years; though they have been top 6 contenders in every year since its founding; hosted the Championships thrice, including in 2010 and will host once again in 2018; and they won the European Championships (for both men and women) in 2012. It’s a lot less than 50 years of hurt, so why not support your nation again this summer. This year you can watch the Men’s Championships whilst the women’s competition will be taking place in 2017 in Guildford. More information can be found at: http://worldlacrosse2014.com.
If you want to witness the game first hand (or even take part) look into your local Lacrosse teams or feel free to attend a 3 vs 3 high intensity version of the Sport called Chumash on July 5th: https://www.facebook.com/chumashuk.