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Maryland State Team Sport

2005 ncaa women's lacrosse national championship (held in Annapolis, Maryland); photo by dcJohn on Flickr (use permitted with attribution).

Official State Team Sport of Maryland

Maryland designated lacrosse as the official state team sport in 2004 (Maryland also recognizes a state sport and an official state exercise). All State Sports

Lacrosse is known as the oldest sport in North America (it was played by native American tribes for centuries before the first account of it was written in 1636 by a French Jesuit missionary in Canada). Lacrosse was played by Indian tribes throughout the Great Lakes region, all along the East coast, and in what is now the southeastern United States.

Lacrosse is a fast-paced game played with ten players on each team which attempt to get a small ball into their opponent's goal while keeping it out of their own goal. A team consists of a goalie, three attackers, three midfielders, and three defenders. A long-handled stick with a net pocket on the end is used to throw, catch, and scoop the ball. The game derives its name from this stick - early French Canadians thought the stick resembled a bishop's crosier ("la Crosse").

Lacrosse became popular on college campuses in the late 1800's. The first women's lacrosse team in the country was established at Bryn Mawr School in Baltimore in 1926. Lacrosse made its Olympic debut in 1928, with Maryland's Johns Hopkins University team representing the United States. Other Maryland teams have also performed well, including the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis and the University of Maryland. In 1997, Maryland became home to the Lacrosse Museum and National Hall of Fame.