Lacrosse Stick

Traditionally, the Native American Iroquois tribe played lacrosse with a wooden stick, with a woven net at one end. The lacrosse ball was either made from the knot of a tree, or deerskin.

The wooden sticks were artfully hand-carved from hickory. The stick's length measured about 48 inches. The modern sticks are made from plastic and other materials approved by the ILF (International Lacrosse Federation). Yet there are players who still prefer traditional equipment. Iroquois artisans like Alf Jacques make traditional wooden sticks for those players.

Alf Jacques vigilantly harvests hickory trees by selecting the trees with the fewest knots. Such trees produce the best sticks. When Alf Jacques harvests a hickory tree, he unfailingly plants a new one in its place. This is in respect to conservation and the "Great Circle of Life." Jacques hand-carves the lacrosse sticks himself.

The curved end of the conventional lacrosse stick has webbed netting, which is woven in such a way that it creates a pocket. This webbing facilitates the catching, throwing and carrying of the ball. Originally, this webbing was prepared from slippery elm bark. The trick was to boil the bark until it became soft. The consequent soft bark fibers were contorted to form the lacing for the webbing. Apart from the slippery elm bark, sinew was also used to make the webbing. Today, the webbing - even if it is a traditional stick -- is usually made from leather and nylon.

The webbing is a significant part of the stick because players are not allowed to use hands or feet when touching the ball. Consequently, the webbing should be tight enough for the purpose of throwing the ball, yet loose enough to facilitate catching and carrying the ball.

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