Hello from Buffalo, NY! You may not know it, but not only are ladies playing lacrosse up here, but they’re doing it indoors. In fact, thousands of young women are playing box lacrosse in North America.
If you know what box lacrosse is, you may have heard it called many different names: “box lacrosse,” “boxla,” “indoor box,” and “the goon’s playground.” Ok, perhaps I made that last one up, but it could catch on, ok? I will refer to this spectacular game as “box” for the remainder of this article because it’s how we label it in my community.
Box is a game of hard hits and endurance. It’s a game that will seduce you to fall further in love with your stick and running. It’s true! I speak from my own experience.
About to go loco on some fools
Box has the same basis as “field” (outdoor) lacrosse: the concept being you have a team versus another team trying to score on a goal, with a goalie trying to block your shot. The biggest differences are:
- The number of players on a field.
- Men’s field has nine plus a goalie
- Women’s field has 11 plus a goalie,
- Box has five plus a goalie
- The size of the net:
- Field uses a 6′ x 6′ net
- Box uses a 4′ x 4′ net
- The amount of contact between players (I went with metaphors here)
- Women’s field lacrosse: A graceful herd of gazelles
- Men’s field lacrosse: A few rams fighting for the pack
- Box: This video
With all that being said, it’s definitely a sight to see, but more of a pleasure to participate.
They can’t score. I won’t allow it.
On the women’s side of Box, as with any sport, we got the short end of the stick with participation (oh, the puns!). The first record of a woman playing Box was Ginny Capicchioni – a goaltender for the New Jersey Storm based out of East Rutherford, New Jersey. However, I’m certain that there have been other women that have attempted to pioneer their own acceptance and appearance within the game. All it takes is a few convincing older brothers to get a gal started.
The Canadian provinces have recently begun their own women’s box leagues for players over the age of 18. Depending on where the girl lives and the amount of competition, girls may also be allowed to compete with their boy counterparts.
But don’t jump right into it girls. Let me tell you that the women’s box game isn’t for just any girl that likes playing around with their brother’s stick because it has a crazy pinched head and a pocket. As a field goalie that prefers the minimal amount of protection and enjoys getting blasted with the lacrosse ball, I can tell you that I thought I was “big and bad” until I stepped onto the floor for my first box game and saw the lights on the ceiling just 20 seconds into my shift. Women’s Box is exactly like men’s box – same goal, same amount of pads, same ball, same need for talent and athleticism, same rules, same venues, same contact. I’ve played as a goalie and a low attacker in Women’s Field Lacrosse since I was seven. I was ready for a new challenge with girls that loved the game of lacrosse just as much as I did, but wanted to play the game that they’ve grown up watching their fathers, uncles, brothers, and cousins play. Boy, did I ever get it. Women’s box isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s not for girl’s that play lacrosse just because their friends do, or because they haven’t gotten a boyfriend yet to spend time with. It’s a game that requires a lot of desire, water, ice baths, and Tiger Balm.
About to go into sixth gear freak mode on an unsuspecting defender
Now ladies, I’m not knocking field lacrosse by any means. I’m currently the standing captain, training for the 2017 Women’s World Cup in Guildford, England for the Haudenosaunee Nationals. Women’s field is my first love. But Women’s Box, well, that’s my “weekend warrior”; my guilty pleasure; a place where I go on the weekends to run my heart out while honing my stick skills and center of gravity simultaneously.
About Amber Hill
Amber Hill is a member of the Cayuga Nation of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy and former Syracuse goalkeeper. She was the Big East MVP for the inaugural Big East Tournament in 2007, second in single-season saves, and third in career save percentage for ‘Cuse. Amber captained the Haudenosaunee Nationals Women’s Lacrosse team for the 2007, 2009, and 2013 Federation of International Lacrosse World Cups. Amber recently won a Gold Medal with the Niagara Turtle Islanders Women’s Box Lacrosse team in the Ontario Women’s Box Lacrosse League Championship in August 2015 at the A’nowara ‘Ko:wa Arena in Akwesasne, New York. She is currently the standing Captain of the team and is continuing to train for the 2017 FIL World Cup. She also currently sits on the Haudenosaunee Nationals Board of Directors and is also their Public Relations Advisor. If she finds something she can’t do, she’ll let us know. Until then, keep an eye on her here at @womenLPG.