I tested for you lacrosse, an unknown sport, at the Philippe-Marcombes stadium in Clermont-Ferrand

“It’s one of the oldest sports in the world.” Before starting training, Thomas Estevez, 30, initiator of the young club “Otters Clermont”, introduces lacrosse. “At the time, the terrain was miles long and the game was mostly played to resolve disputes between First Nations. Pre-game rituals were even practiced by Native Americans. So much for the historical part.

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The objective of the game

Using a stick to catch, carry and pass a ball, players from both teams must score into the opposing team’s goal. Whoever scores the most goals wins the game. So far good.

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At the time, the terrain was miles long and the game was mostly played to resolve disputes between First Nations.

Thomas Estevez (Initiator of the Clermont Otters, lacrosse club)

There are several variations, but lacrosse is usually played in teams of 6 against 6 indoors (box lacrosse) or outdoors on a hockey field. There are also 10 against 10 matches (field lacrosse) played. A match is organized in fifteen minutes. The playing time varies by variant, but does not exceed 20 minutes per period. And a maximum of 30 to 60 seconds to shoot.

Equipment

The ass, of course. The essential tool. “A handle surmounted by a head with a net (pocket) makes it possible to catch and protect the ball while moving”. Watch out for kicks. A helmet, chest protector, elbow pads and lower back protection are needed to master fitting and receiving.

Some of the equipment for training.

“Understanding lacrosse remains the foundation when you start out,” Thomas tells novice players, including us. Two by two, passing exercises begin the training. Stay flexible and measure to catch the ball in the stick pocket. Not so easy. “After two or three practices, it comes and we start making good passes.”

The club

The Clermont lacrosse association has been structured since 2019. Julie, 21, a college student, “got totally immersed in the game” while watching the American series “Teen wolf” where this sport is featured. The young woman is one of the first graduates of Auvergne.

Walking around with the ball in the stick pocket is not easy. Rotating the stick with wrist movements leaves the ball in the net for the more experienced player.

Today, about twenty people come to the training on Saturday. In France, the sport is developing. There is an Auvergne Rhône-Alpes squad with 7 players coming from the “Otters”. Lorna and Alexandra, two players from Clermont, have even been selected for the French team. Clermont-Ferrand, land of rugby and perhaps soon French lacrosse.

The sport will return to the Los Angeles Olympics in 2028.

If this appeals to you.
Meet on Saturday from 2 pm to 4 pm at the Philippe-Marcombes stadium (on the hockey field).

Facebook contact: @ClermontLAX

Text: Bastien Durand
Photos: Thierry Nicolas