Lacrosse, the oldest sport in North American, has been called many things over the years. Known as the Creator's game, for the spiritual aspects of the sport, it was used as a way to bring tribes together for festivities and fellowship. Today, we still play the game to honor the Creator. Apart from its recreational function, lacrosse traditionally played a more serious role in Indian culture. Another name for lacrosse, roughly translated as little brother of war, was used to train warriors, vent aggression, and settle territorial disputes between tribes instead of going to war.
The Red River Youth Lacrosse Association (Red River Lacrosse) was originally formed in May of 2012 as the Caddo-Bossier Lacrosse Association. It was formed by several local coaches who wanted a more active youth lacrosse program, one that would be developing young men and women to play lacrosse into high school and beyond. What began with 60 youngsters in the summer of 2012 has grown into hundreds of players on more than a dozen youth boys & girls teams. Lacrosse is becoming a very popular sport around the country including Louisiana, and Shreveport-Bossier is no exception. The Red River Youth Lacrosse Association is the main reason for this surge in popularity locally.
Red River Lacrosse visits local schools and community rec-centers to share the game of lacrosse with area youth. We offer spring, summer and fall rec-leagues for boys and girls of all ages. For those players interested in taking their game to the next level, we field competitive summer travel teams, the Red River Mudbugs. The Mudbugs compete in tournaments against teams from across the South.
Since 2012 Red River Lacrosse has been the seed that has sprouted a new high school team in Tyler, Texas, and two more high school teams in Bossier City, the Airline Vikings and the Parkway Panthers. They join with established high school teams at C.E. Byrd, Caddo Magnet, Capt. Shreve and Loyola to play teams from across the state in the Louisiana High School Lacrosse League. Lacrosse is the largest boys' team sport at Caddo Magnet High School, and is the second only to football at C. E. Byrd High School.
"The growth of lacrosse is not exclusive to Northwest Louisiana. There are a growing number of youth programs in Lafayette, Baton Rouge and New Orleans as well," says Michael Pabst, Executive Director of Red River Lacrosse. US Lacrosse (uslacrosse.org), the national governing body for men's, women's, and youth lacrosse, reports that lacrosse is one of the fastest growing team sports in the United States. As youth participation in the sport grows, so too will the number of high school teams. No sport has grown faster at the high school level over the past decade and it's also the fastest-growing sport over the last seven years at the NCAA level. There are an estimated 690 men's and women's college lacrosse teams in the United States. Shreveport even fields a men's club team, the Shreveport Stealth.
"As our numbers grow, it's important that we help train new coaches and officials to keep pace. This has also been a focus of Red River Lacrosse. We offer coaches' clinics and official's training to those interested in giving back to help grow the game," says Pabst. If you'd like to find out more about youth lacrosse in Northwest Louisiana, visit RedRiverLax.org, or like us on Facebook.
Red River Lacrosse promotes the growth of lacrosse which benefits kids by:
• teaching good sportsmanship, teamwork, fair play, discipline, respect, honesty, & courage;
• developing healthier, happier, more confident youth, while broadening their education through competition;
• providing opportunities for players to participate in activities such as clinics, practices, & games;
• offering proper training for coaches and officials to enable them to serve as positive role models.