The lacrosse community owes a big thank you to Alan Childs, author of Flamethrowers, for taking the time to put together his latest work, Minnesota Lacrosse: A History. There’s not a lot of them, but there are a few “lacrosse historians” spread far and few between. We know lacrosse has some of the deepest roots and traditions in the sporting world, but much of its history has gone long unrecorded. As we know, the sport comes from various forms of Native American stick-ball games, yet most Native American cultures used no sort of written language as the game developed, thus causing a huge gap in its historic record.
On top of the that, lacrosse has lacked significant publicity compared to the mega-sports that dominate American media. That isn’t to say there hasn’t been books, newspaper articles, film and other media produced about the game dating back to the 1800s. But if it’s not on Google, how will we ever learn the roots of the game?
Luckily we have people like Alan Childs to humbly do all of the hard work for us. Childs dedicated years to traveling countless miles to libraries, historical societies, Native American places of interests and dozens of other locations where he spent innumerable, tiring hours digging through archives, meeting with other storytellers and collecting the research needed to put together one of the most thorough pieces of the lacrosse history puzzle.
Although his book is regionally specific, Minnesota Lacrosse: A History tells more than the state’s involvement in the game. Childs connects Minnesota to the growth of the game around the globe, dating from the 16th century when the Ojibwe Nation brought lacrosse to Minnesota after their journey from the St. Lawrence River Valley, to the addition of the first NCAA Women’s Lacrosse programs in the state in 2014 and all of the region’s influence in the years between.
From cartoons to newspaper clippings, vintage photography to photos of historic artifacts, Childs cut no corners to document the influence lacrosse had on Minnesota. A lacrosse fan would be hard pressed to find more throwback photos of the game from the early 1900s in one place, it really makes you wonder what else is out there, undiscovered, about lacrosse history from other parts of the country!
Recently, the Minnesota-based manufacturers at Epoch Lacrosse opened up their headquarters doors for a book signing with Alan Childs. Several notable Minnesota lacrosse pioneers attended the event: Dave White, Founder of the Twin Cities Lacrosse Club; Mark Hellenack, Founder of the Minnesota Lacrosse Chapter; Steve Jensen of Twin Cities Lacrosse Club; Matt Myers, President of the Minnesota Lacrosse Association (MLA); Deb Mau of Youth Lacrosse of Minnesota (YLM); Aron Lipkin, Homegrown Lacrosse and John Hunter, Twin Cities Native Lacrosse. This well-put-togehter video is from last week’s event…
Pick up a copy of Minnesota Lacrosse: A History and get lost in over 300 pages of rich, lacrosse-focused material. It’s perfect for book reports for any grade and who doesn’t love teaching their class about lacrosse? Mom and dad, put a copy near the fireplace this winter and reconnect your family, and yourself, with the past.
Author’s Note: I would like to include a personal thank you to Alan for mailing a copy for me to cherish. I hope I can one day share my copy with someone who will enjoy it as much as I have.