Cone, the president of the Northwest Schoolgirls Lacrosse Association and head girls’ varsity lacrosse coach at Seattle Prep, added that she wanted two days a week of playtime but left it up to the Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation to choose which days. She guesses that it was so easy to schedule time on Little Howe because the field is smaller than normal lacrosse fields. “But it’s fine for a beginning-level lacrosse team.”
Originally an American Indian game, lacrosse (French for curved stick) was first chronicled in the 1630s by French Jesuit missionaries. The game sometimes turned into violent, knock-down, drag-out battles between tribes, according to Thomas Vennum Jr., author of “American Indian Lacrosse: Little Brother of War.”
Today’s version is much tamer, of course, and the one played by girls is mellower than the one played by boys, Cone said.
“Boys can knock each other down,” she said.
Cone held tryouts last month and has a team roster of 25 girls.
“Four or five had to be turned away,” she said.
A couple of the team members are from the University District, but the rest are from the Queen Anne area. One of the players is Cone’s 10-year-old daughter, which is one reason she decided to organize a team.
“My daughter is in fifth grade and wanted to play lacrosse, but there were no local teams,” Cone said.
That’s not surprising since lacrosse is a relatively new sport in the Northwest.
“It’s really taken off,” said Patti Petesch, citywide program manager for the Department of Parks and Recreation.
She first ran into lacrosse around 10 years ago when adult teams came to the Parks Department wanting to see the sport grow.
“At that time, one or two community centers took it up.”
Schools have also embraced lacrosse. When the Washington High School Lacrosse League was formed in 1987, there were only three teams, Cone said. “Now there are 32.”
Cone first started playing lacrosse six years ago.
“When I turned 30, I wanted to start a new sport, a new physical activity.”
Cone’s husband, Matt, also plays and is the boys’ lacrosse coach at Seattle Prep, she said.
“When played well, it’s a beautiful sport,” Cone said, adding that it is a difficult game to learn.
Katie Kingery agrees. The Seattle Pacific University freshman – who played lacrosse for three years in high school in Minnesota – is the coach for the new girls’ team. Kingery said she is concentrating on teaching the new players fundamentals like cradling the ball, throwing it and catching it in the small triangular net at the end of the lacrosse stick.
Lacrosse teams are made up of 12 players, and the games for girls’ teams are played in two 25-minute halves. Kingery said she plans to rotate the players in each game.
“Since it’s middle-school level, I want everyone to have an equal chance to play,” she said.
Coaches are typically paid for their work, Cone said, adding that finding coaches is the sport’s number-one problem. Money for coaches and field rentals comes from $110 in seasonal dues that each player pays. The dues also buy players’ uniforms, which belong to the team, she said. The players buy their own shoes and lacrosse sticks.
This year’s season runs from Feb. 26 to May 9 and, of eight scheduled games, six will be played at the team’s home field at Little Howe, Cone said. Not everyone is so lucky.
“I think any (lacrosse) team that wants to exist will exist,” she said, “but there are teams that don’t have home fields.”
Interested in playing on a lacrosse team? Go online to www.walax.com for information on men’s, women’s and youth lacrosse teams in the Northwest.