Girls vs. Boys Lacrosse

Jack Paladin

When people think of boys and girls sports, they usually do not imagine too many differences between the two.

Sometimes, the only true difference is the gender and maybe the uniform.  Lacrosse, on the other hand, is in a completely different league.

There are so many differences between girls’ and boys’ lacrosse that it is hard to even compare the two.  While the two genders have the same objective (score the most goals within a specified time), the differences range everywhere from the rules of the game to the gear that they wear.

Both boys and girls have some similar guidelines to follow but the main differences are the rules regarding contact. The rules for girls’ lacrosse are created to limit contact among the players.

Women are allowed to try and knock the ball out of their opponents stick with their own stick, although pushing and checking at the ball carrier is not permitted for women’s lacrosse.

For men on the other hand hitting the other team is allowed but only under certain circumstances.  These conditions include only hitting the player that currently has the ball, the contact is from the front and the contact is between the shoulders and the waist.

While the contact differs for both women and men in lacrosse, any illegal contact, as well as other illegal moves, such as tripping and unsportsmanlike conduct, will result in a penalty.

These penalties can range anywhere from a one-minute penalty to a three-minute penalty to a change in possession.

Due to the lack of contact in women’s lacrosse and the allowance of contact in men’s lacrosse, the uniforms differ greatly from each other.

Women are only required to wear a mouthguard and eye protection.  While the amount of protection is limited, many injuries may still occur due to accidental checks with the stick or the body.

While the girls do not have to use much contact throughout the game, they still believe that they have many difficult aspects to their sport.

“Girls’ lacrosse requires skill where boys’ lacrosse requires strength,” junior Kristen DeStefano said.

Some of the players on the boys’ lacrosse team believe that because  women are not able to hit each other, girls’ lacrosse is not as difficult at  boys’ lacrosse and require a different type of skill that is not aggression.

Boys believe that aggression and physical nature of the games are the two qualities that separates boys’ from girls’ lacrosse.

“Men’s lacrosse is much more aggressive than girls lacrosse while women’s lacrosse does not even require running,” junior Josh Stern said.

While women only require minimal protective equipment, men are much more prone to injury because of the large amount of contact allowed.

Because of this, men are required to wear much more equipment than women. Their required equipment includes a full helmet with an attached face mask, gloves, shoulder pads and a highly recommended protective cup.

Another big difference between boys’ and girls’ lacrosse is the stick used. For men the stick has a much deeper pocket and they have to cradle much more vigorously to keep from losing the ball while being checked.

While men have to do this, women do not need to cradle the ball as much and are able to run just holding the ball in their stick because of the lack of contact in comparison to the boys’ physical brand of lacrosse.

With the deeply shaped pockets, men are able to shoot the ball much faster, sometimes reaching speeds of over 110 miles per hour.

Another big difference between the sticks that men and women use in lacrosse is at the defense position.  For boys’ lacrosse the defensive players use a longer stick while women playing defense use the same sticks as every other player on the field (other than the goalie). Obviously there are an incredible amount of differences between boys’ and girls’ lacrosse. For Paly, to help see the other sport and just have a little fun, the two teams, girls’ and boys’, have a scrimmage against each other.

In this scrimmage the two sides can really bring the differences to life and see how difficult it is for the other team to play with the gear that they have to use. During the scrimmage, the boys use the girls’ sticks and wear their equipment, even the skirts.

On the other side, the girls use running shorts and the men’s sticks.  The game is played using the girls’ rules so the girls do not use the pads that guys have to wear because checking and other forms of contact (other than just hitting the stick like stated above) are prohibited.

At the end of the day, women’s and men’s lacrosse are incredibly different sports and can barely be categorized with the same name.

While the two sports have the same objective, the rules are so different as well as the gear.

It is important to know that both sports have their difficulties and aspects that make them easy, but they are still very difficult to compare.