DENVER – Lacrosse player/coach/board member Dana Dobbie is grateful for this fast-paced new version of her sport called “Six.”
Not because the 37-year-old helped design the blueprint for the fast-paced format that produces plenty of offense. Not because Dobbie helped Team Canada to a gold medal with the sport’s latest rendition at the World Games last month in Birmingham, Alabama.
Here’s why: It could be the version that incorporates lacrosse, invented centuries ago by Native Americans, into the Olympic program for the Los Angeles 2028 Summer Games.
Lacrosse is competing with baseball/softball, cricket, flag football, break dancing, karate, kickboxing, squash and motorsports for a possible spot when the Summer Games return to North America for the first time from Atlanta on 1996. Competitive sports should find out. its entry status ahead of an International Olympic Committee session in Mumbai in mid-2023. There are currently 28 sports on LA’s Olympic programme.
Dobbie and the lacrosse community are imagining the possibilities of a return to a sport (think basketball meets football meets hockey) that was once in the Olympics. Lacrosse was part of the 1904 Games in St. Louis, and four years later in London. It last appeared at the 1948 Olympics, also in London, as a demonstration sport.
“People will be really excited to watch and once they see the first game, I think we’ll have them locked up.” said Dobbie, who plays, coaches at Loyola University in Maryland and serves on the World Lacrosse board as vice president of the athlete commission. “We’re going to have a lot of new fans from around the world when they see it for the first time.”
Dobbie played a role in fine-tuning this form of 6-on-6 lacrosse and warp speed. It features a 30-second shot clock and no face-offs after scores, with goaltenders starting the game. The game also consists of four 8-minute quarters and is played on a smaller field. There are also reduced list sizes.
Translation: Just what the IOC may be looking for. The streamlined game borrowed a page from rugby sevens, which made it to the Olympics at the Rio de Janeiro Games in 2016. Not only that but 3-on-3 basketball, which debuted last summer at the Olympics in Tokyo
“I wish I could go back in a time machine 10 years, because I grew up playing hoops and this version of lacrosse and the short court ‘Sixes’ format is as close to lacrosse as I’ve ever seen to basketball” . said Paul Rabil, the 36-year-old retired lacrosse great who founded the Premier Lacrosse League with his brother, Mike. “So I’d like a little bit to get in on that action.”
The growth of lacrosse has been on an upward trajectory for the past two decades. It has seen member federations increase from 12 in 2002 to its current number of 77, according to World Lacrosse, the sport’s governing body. The African Lacrosse Association was formed earlier this year to give lacrosse representation to each of the five continental regions recognized by the IOC: Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania.
World Lacrosse recently launched a campaign to celebrate the origin and growth of the sport. titled “LAX: Made Indigenous, Played Globally” (hashtag: #LAX28) this initiative was designed to highlight their Olympic caliber credentials.
“Lacrosse Sixes” – or “six” — was established in 2018 and formally launched in 2020 — a modern take on what is considered North America’s oldest team sport.
The new version was exhibited at the World Games, an event that featured more than 30 sports and many that are not on the current Olympic program. It was standing room only for the men’s medal games (Team Canada won the gold) and nearly full for the women’s championship.
Rabil can only imagine the upswing if lacrosse was there “LA28 Games”.
“When you’re the next generation and you see your favorite sport competing for a gold medal on the Olympic stage, you feel something special.” Rabil said. “Maybe a new fire (is lit) and chase that dream to be an Olympian.”
The picture told the story: Dobbie had the gold medal firmly gripped in his left hand and a cut section of the lacrosse net tucked into his shirt. Also a beaming smile as he posed with his fellow Canadians.
This was the scene of celebration after helping Team Canada to a 14-12 win over the United States in the World Games final.
To have the opportunity of a celebration similar to the “LA28 Games”, Dobbie might even be willing to stick around a little longer as a player.
“I can’t say no, but I can’t say yes either. We’ll just keep it up in the air.” Dobbie said laughing. “Lacrosse and the Olympics: It’s got a nice ring to it.”
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