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Lyle Thompson teaches kids at a lacrosse camp.

Michael Greenlar/Syracuse.com

Proud to Play

John Other Medicine/Courtesy of Janice LaFloe

Dakota LaFloe of Minnesota can’t get enough of lacrosse. The 12-year-old midfielder races up and down the field with his stick. He works hard to help his team score goals.

“I love everything about it,” Dakota says.

Dakota is a member of the Ojibwe (oh-JIB-way) Native American tribe. For him, lacrosse is more than a game. It’s a tradition. That’s because Native Americans created lacrosse hundreds of years ago. Many Native players say they’re proud to keep the tradition alive—and to see the game grow.

Dakota LaFloe of Minnesota can’t get enough of lacrosse. The 12-year-old midfielder races up and down the field with his stick. He works hard to help his team score goals.

“I love everything about it,” Dakota says.

Dakota is a member of the Ojibwe (oh-JIB-way) Native American tribe. For him, lacrosse is more than a game. It’s a tradition. That’s because Native Americans created lacrosse hundreds of years ago. Many Native players say they’re proud to keep the tradition alive—and to see the game grow.

Long History

Lacrosse is one of North America’s oldest sports. It was created by tribes in what is now the United States and Canada. A group of tribes called the Iroquois (IHR-uh-kwoy) played an early version of the game on which today’s game is based.

Like players today, tribes back then used sticks with nets on the ends to toss and catch balls. The balls were made of wood or deerskin and fur. And the games were bigger. Hundreds of players could take part. A game could last for days!

Tribes played some games to settle differences or to prepare for war. Other games were played as ceremonies meant to heal sick tribe members. The game still has deep meaning for many Native Americans.

Lacrosse is one of North America’s oldest sports. It was created by tribes in what is now the United States and Canada. A group of tribes called the Iroquois (IHR-uh-kwoy) played a form of the game on which today’s game is based.

Like players today, players back then carried sticks with nets on the ends. They used the sticks to toss and catch balls. The balls were made of wood or deerskin and fur. And the games were bigger. Hundreds of players could take part. A game could last for days!

Tribes played some games to settle differences or to prepare for war. Other games were played as ceremonies to try to heal sick tribe members. The game still has deep meaning for many Native Americans.

A Growing Game

Today, lacrosse is popular across the U.S. More than 770,000 kids ages 18 and under play the game. That’s about twice the number of kids who played 12 years ago.

The game is big with adults too. North America has two professional leagues. Another one is being planned. In recent years, lacrosse has even spread around the globe. Some people are pushing to add it to the Olympic Games.

Today, lacrosse is popular across the U.S. More than 770,000 kids ages 18 and under play it. That’s about twice the number of kids who played 12 years ago.

The game is big with adults too. North America has two professional leagues. Another one is being planned. In recent years, lacrosse has even spread around the globe. Some people are pushing to add it to the Olympic Games.

Carlos Gonzalez/Star Tribune via ZUMA Wire

Sticking With It

Many Native Americans work to share their tradition. One of them is pro lacrosse player Lyle Thompson. He is a member of two Iroquois tribes and one of the sport’s biggest stars. Thompson and his brothers run lacrosse camps for kids across the country. They teach skills and tell kids about the sport’s origins.  

“I love seeing kids fall in love with the game,” Thompson says.

Many Native Americans work to share their tradition. One of them is pro lacrosse player Lyle Thompson. He is a member of two Iroquois tribes and one of the sport’s biggest stars. Thompson and his brothers run lacrosse camps for kids. They teach skills and tell kids about the sport’s origins

“I love seeing kids fall in love with the game,” Thompson says.

1. At the beginning of the article, what does the phrase “can’t get enough” mean? What details in the article help you know?

2. How was the lacrosse that tribes played long ago similar to today’s game? How was it different?

3. What evidence does the article give to show that lacrosse is a growing game?

1. At the beginning of the article, what does the phrase “can’t get enough” mean? What details in the article help you know?

2. How was the lacrosse that tribes played long ago similar to today’s game? How was it different?

3. What evidence does the article give to show that lacrosse is a growing game?

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