Is lacrosse safer than ice hockey

Lacrosse - Like hockey, but in the air - that's lacrosse

Like hockey, but in the air - that's lacrosse

The young sport is fighting for national recognition. On the initiative of Dominique Fischer, the lacrosse club Olten Saints received female growth this year.

Raphael Wermelinger

What is lacrosse? “Hockey in the air,” replies Dominique Fischer, pioneer of the Olten women's team. In Switzerland, the sport of lacrosse, which is particularly popular in North America, is still in its infancy. Even die-hard sports fans know little about it. Lacrosse is played on a field the size of a football field. The women’s team consists of eleven field players and one goalie.

For men, there are nine field players plus a goalie. The goals are 1.83 mx 1.83 m and, like in ice hockey, are not at the end of the field, but just ten meters in front of it. Attackers can also be posted behind the opposing goal. The game is played with a hard rubber ball that weighs just under 140 grams and can be accelerated up to 150 kilometers per hour. The ball is caught, carried and thrown with clubs with a net on their heads. Ideally, of course, into the opposing goal.

Persistence was rewarded

The men's team of the Olten Saints, in German the saints, was founded almost seven years ago. On the initiative of Dominique Fischer, a women's team was set up this year. It was a long way: "Two years ago I knocked on the men's door for the first time and put forward the idea of ​​a women's team," she explains. For a long time, however, there was a lack of the necessary players. But Fischer persisted: "I started several Facebook calls and at the end of May over twenty players started their first training session." That was the start, and the club now has 31 licensed players. These are between 19 and 37 years old, the average age is just under 25 years.

What is special about the sport of lacrosse? "The speed combined with tactics and team spirit fascinates me," says Fischer. A feeling for the ball, an overview of the game and coordination are other important elements. "I am also attracted by the fact that it is an extreme fringe sport," adds the high school teacher, "I want to help the sport continue to grow in Switzerland."

Stick, kick shoes and mouthguard

“Lacrosse is very motivating for newcomers,” says Samuel Schreiber, player of the Olten Saints and trainer of the women's team: “The sport grabs you immediately. You can't catch a ball in the first five minutes, but then you make huge progress quickly. " The game is usually played in soccer shoes, and clubs are available from fifty francs. A mouthguard is mandatory for this, nothing more is needed for women, because women's lacrosse does not allow excessive physical activity.

The men are a bit more brutal. The opponents may also be separated from the ball with physical effort. A helmet as well as shoulder and chest armor are therefore part of the equipment. “Lacrosse makes use of the primal instincts,” enthuses Schreiber. "You can let off steam." The martial nature of the sport is underlined by its origin: Lacrosse was originally played by Indians in the Great Plains east of the Rocky Mountains. It served to resolve conflicts on a symbolic level and to prepare for war.

Wounds and skirts

The women of the Oltens Saints are fighting their first “war” this weekend, and the championship is being launched in Bern. The first home game will take place on October 25th on the Kleinholz sports field. The grapes are still hanging low in the premiere season. “We want to leave a team behind,” said coach Schreiber, formulating the season's goal. With the men's team, he celebrated a successful start to the 2015/16 season in Group 2 of the NLA two weeks ago.

The Solothurn Ambassadors were swept off the field with a score of 20: 2. Schreiber even expects the team to have a chance of winning the Swiss championship this year, “if we can compete with the entire squad. Last year we had seven injured players. " “Hard sport” brings injuries to me, he laughs calmly. «Bruises are the order of the day. Not only with the goalie, who feels as if rubber bullets are being shot at him. "

Due to the lower body contact, knee and ligament injuries are the main dangers for women. "As in football, there are many stop-and-go's in women's lacrosse," explains Schreiber. Lacrosse is certainly not the right sport for the squeamish, although Dominique Fischer says with a laugh: "The women play in skirts."