In the spring of 2014, the CU women’s lacrosse team will enjoy their first season as an NCAA Division I varsity team. Although this is an extremely exciting time for the lady Buffs, it does bring up some questions that cloud the sport of women’s lacrosse — specifically the rules that regulate the game. The differences between men’s and women’s lacrosse are absolutely absurd and promote archaic gender stereotypes that no longer have a place in women’s sports.
Why should we care about women’s lacrosse rules? Well, because the difference between men’s and women’s lacrosse are stark and unjust. Women should be allowed to play with the same rules as men, much like other NCAA Division I sports. Changing the rules would make the game more fun to watch and close the gap between what has become an aggressive men’s sport and it’s metaphoric kid sister, women’s lacrosse.
The women’s lacrosse team practices in the bubble earlier this year in February. (CU Independent File/Annie Rumbles)
What rules am I talking about? Let’s start a list, because the rules men have versus women don’t come close to comparing:
Men’s lacrosse allows full contact, but women, on the other hand, are merely allowed to stick check. Men can body check, slash, push, hold, and the list goes on of what they are permitted to do.
The only form of “checking” women are allowed to perform is checking an opponent’s stick. Of course, the rules make sure even this is impossible. In order to check, women must be directly in front of your opponent; meanwhile, men can check from any direction they choose.
Defense for women’s lacrosse mainly consists of running beside an opponent until she makes a mistake because women cannot hold, slash, block, push or use elbows under any circumstances or it results in an automatic penalty. Men on defense have the opportunity to hit and cause their opponents to make mistakes.
Did you know in women’s lacrosse it is considered a foul to distract one’s opponent by waving the stick near the opponent’s face? Is it so bad that a player doesn’t want her opponent to score?
Women also have a rule called “shooting space,” which states that she must give her opponent space if she is in scoring range. This “safety bubble” that the rulebook indicates is ridiculous; why not just give an opponent a free shot at the goal?
Two of the worst rules added to women’s lacrosse occur when in scoring position. A “dangerous shot foul” occurs when a shot is directed at the goalie’s body. This rule technically applies towards every shot on goal. When a player shoots the ball, it flies toward the goalie. How can it possibly be the player’s fault that it hits the goalie? I mean, she is standing directly in the middle of the goal.
A dangerous shot is also called if a player takes an uncontrolled shot. Well, if the player completely missed the goal, then obviously it is an uncontrolled shot. If it was a controlled shot, it would have went toward the goal. How does having an uncontrolled shot compare to men slashing their opponent?
It’s these type of rules that keep people from attending or watching the women’s lacrosse games. The rules given to women just aren’t fair.
At any rate, it’s exciting to see CU jumping on the lacrosse bandwagon, and it’s a great step forward for women’s athletics at our fine university. We have women’s soccer, rugby, basketball and many more women’s sports that enjoy the full benefits of their male counterparts. Full contact or not, these rules impede on rate of play and work to make it a less entertaining sport to watch. It’s understandable that the organization is trying to protect women lacrosse players; however, any athlete in a sport is always at risk of injury. There’s no reason to “baby” women’s lacrosse — just let them play.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Jessica Malknecht at Jessica.firstname.lastname@example.org.
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