This past weekend Maryland hosted both the Men’s and Women’s NCAA lacrosse semifinals and championships. The women’s Division I championship game at Towson University, saw Maryland take home the national title against Northwestern and, according to the Baltimore Sun, the match drew 9,782 people — the most ever to see a women’s lacrosse game in the US.
The mens’ games started on Saturday at Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium, continued through Sunday and culminated with the DI Championship game between Notre Dame and Duke on a scorching Memorial Day. Although attendance for the final game was low, a mere 37,126, the entire weekend’s turnout was 116,289, up from last year’s 102,601 turnout at Foxborough, MA. The games stay in Baltimore for 2011, go to Foxborough for 2012, and 2013 and 2014 are up for grabs.
While the increases in attendance are good reasons to keep both championships in the MD area, in recent years lacrosse has begun to grow beyond its traditional East Coast/Prep School roots. The game’s popularity on the West Coast, Colorado and the South has been growing like gangbusters, with many footballers taking up sport in the off-season for fitness maintenance. The same is true for female athletes who need to stay in shape for fall season sports like soccer and field hockey.
The sport is also seeing a growth in popularity among the non-prep schoolers, as demonstrated in “City Lax” playing Thursday at Silver Spring’s AFI Silver. This documentary follows a sixth grade, inner-city Colorado lax team as they learn how to play the Native American team sport and take on the prep school crowd.