By: Adam Murphy, The Spartan Daily
“Little Brother of War” was a physical game played by Native Americans that involved short sticks with small nets and fabric balls. The game, which lasted for days, was referred to by European observers as a brutal fight, according to the Smithsonian’s Web site.
The game was eventually renamed lacrosse, according to the article, but is essentially the same sport, except now it is a little shorter.
Lacrosse is one of the fastest growing sports in the nation, according to Derek de Lemos, men’s lacrosse club head coach.
“Just at our practice yesterday, we had four kids come out that played at the high school level. They were all very talented,” de Lemos said.
The fast pace of the game is part of the reason that lacrosse has gained popularity so quickly.
“It’s the fastest game on two feet. It’s entertaining. It’s a combo of soccer and field hockey,” said fifth-year captain and creator of the lacrosse club Tyler Macaulay.
“There are big hits and great goals and my frat tailgates to the home games,” Macaulay said.
Lacrosse is a spring sport and SJSU is scheduled to play its first game on Feb. 7, but the team has been competing in tournaments during the offseason and practicing three times a week.
The team is scheduled to travel to Chico on Oct. 11, to compete against seven other teams, but it is the upcoming season in Division 1 that has the players excited.
“Playing schools like Berkeley, Stanford and Santa Clara is not only good for testing our talent but good for our fans,” said third-year defender Neil Figlia.
The competition will be all new next year, but de Lemos is confident the club can handle the pressure.
“This year we have two, possibly three really good goalies,” de Lemos said. “We should have one of the best defenses on the West Coast. We just have to see if we can score.”
Lacrosse at SJSU has grown remarkably considering it is a cash-strapped club sport with an annual fund of somewhere around $18,000, de Lemos said.
All the players pay dues to fund the team and participate in fundraisers to cover the cost.
“Costs range from $750 to $1200 for each player, depending on travel costs and road trips,” Figlia said.
The Spartans belong to the Western Collegiate Lacrosse League, or the WCLL, and look to keep growing as they climb the ladder from Division 2 to Division 1.
“The team has grown a lot,” Macaulay said. “When we first started it, we were just a bunch of guys that wanted to play lacrosse, and now we are part of the WCLL, part of an actual league, and now we are Division 1.”
This season will be a crucial one for the departing players such as captain Tyler Macaulay, but also for the incoming freshmen to step up into leadership roles and help the club reach the next level.
“We have a young team, and I just want to see us progress and for some of the new guys to step up into leadership roles,” Macaulay said.
Hopes are high for the new season despite the jump to a more competitive league and a large amount of freshmen lacing up for games.
Anyone can try out for the team, regardless of skill level and time played.
“We are always open to new guys joining as long as they have the drive to succeed,” Figlia said.
That drive to succeed is what has transformed this club from a group of friends into a WCLL Division 1 team competing against the best in the state.
“Our goal is to be the heart of lacrosse on the West Coast,” de Lemos said.