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White Flight from football to assault rifle

Lacrosse baggataway warriorRyan dons the rest of his gear in the car. Pads, armor, helmet, even mouth guard. I adjust the rearview mirror downward until I see his small frame in the backseat. We’re only halfway to practice and he’s already biting down, breathing through his nose, focused straight ahead. It’s the same routine for football, except today he’s got a lacrosse stick across his knees. In his grip, I should say. When we pull the car to the edge of the parking lot, he jumps and literally hits the ground running. From my height he gives me the sense I’m a helicopter pilot who’s dropped soldier reinforcements to join the team on the pitch. There’s a steep hillock between Ryan and the field, but his charge never slows, he ascends like a Cavalry of One, his stick brandished like an assault rifle.

Would an M16 be held any different? The difference between football and lacrosse is that your little assault squad is armed.

In 1763 a band of Chippewa Indians seized Fort Michilimackinac by feigning a game of baggataway, the Native American origin of lacrosse. The Indians pretended that an over-spirited drive led players over the fortifications and within minutes they’d stormed the ramparts.

In a spirit of honoring American Indian tradition, like the harvest celebration of Thanksgiving, American dads are pushing a new sport unto the youth athletic season. Because the first early adopters where also the first white men to hit the New World, the sport now has a Mayflower WASP identity too.

Lacrosse has an exotic appeal in spite of its New England tradition. It’s sort of field hockey gone aerial, full court jai alai with armor, East Coast blue blood rooted with the authentic red bloods, the original old money land owners.

Is that what’s behind the lacrosse resurgence? As Ryan’s team wrapped up the other day, they passed baseball diamonds and could not hold back from chanting “lacrosse, lacrosse” toward the children playing baseball, as if to instigate a cross-sport rivalry. Lacrosse teams are still relatively scarce. On weekends they have to cross neighboring metropolitan regions to play each other.

How many sports programs do you need to round out your kids? Boys have baseball, football and basketball, among the big team sports. Neither of which are the biggest sports internationally. Soccer and handball. Curiously both those require little equipment. They are perfect for the Third World, but imperfect for consumer cultures which have wheels of commerce to drive, especially in recreational pursuits.

Which could explain why Lacrosse teams have to traverse great distances to encounter adversaries. The usual cross town rivals can’t pony up the money for this game.

Lacrosse is White Flight from football. Most schools have barely enough money to keep their athletes in football gear, let alone a completely redundant lacrosse kit. And so the only kids playing lacrosse are from families who can afford the hundreds extra for the specialized equipment. Added bonus, there are no players bringing a black athletic advantage to the game. Like the other equipment intensive sports of the northern climes, lacrosse is a venue where white boys can dominate, and give their accustomed advantage some elbow room.

I remember a fencing instructor encouraging prospective young pupils at a toney gym, about a peripheral advantage to the sport. Ivy League schools offered fencing scholarships, and prospects outside the usual New England states would be at an advantage for consideration. It was the first glimpse I had of counter-insurgency strategies in America’s race war.

Lacrosse may be the arena where prosperous families can let their white boys roughhouse with supremacy, but the joke’s definitely on them. It’s a sport for social climbers, and this ladder is definitely pointed elsewhere. Is your Playstation 3 teaching options trading or first person combat? Lacrosse is real world preschool basic training.

What does lacrosse impart that Football doesn’t? The teamwork is the same, the size differentials are still key. In both games there is only one ball, but in lacrosse, regardless who has the ball, everyone has a stick. If ever there was a sport which prepared athlete soldiers, lacrosse is it.

The sport of real blue bloods was always Rugby. In England, where commoners play rugby, you can always tell the rugby veterans by their broken noses and missing teeth. In America it’s the preference of the prep schools and private colleges, where offspring of the affluent can acquire scars without fear that it will hinder their job prospects because their futures are secure.

America’s white settlers weren’t blue bloods, they were the ground troops dispatched to seize the continent. It looks to me, the same American Dreamers are being tweaked again into service of the empire. The poor bigoted middle class is turning their boys out for real war.

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