Did you know Verona is the founder of the game in the state, founding MALA (now Badgerland Lacrosse), as well as Wisconsin Lacrosse Federation (WLF)?
History of Lacrosse in Wisconsin and MALA (Madison Area Lacrosse Association)
In the summer of 1999, Drew and Garrett Glenn who were in 8th grade at the time, and their friend Brett Schnirring started passing the lax ball around in the front yard after Brett introduced them to a crosse that belonged to his cousin.* It wasn't long before AJ Mackler and LP Govain acquired a crosse and the boys moved their play to a larger neighborhood side-yard.* Clayton Dorn joined the group and soon Deb Glenn dubbed the aspiring players, the 'Super Six'.* They all wished they had other kids they could play against. As winter approached and hockey began, Deb told the boys if they kept interest in the sport, that come spring she would do what she could to develop a team, find ways to learn the rules of the sport, and see if there were others in the community who might consider forming a team.
The kids spread the word and Deb Glenn arranged the first meeting (of parents) of the proposed Bullrush Lacrosse League in the basement of their Verona, Wisconsin home. About twenty kids and their parents showed up and enjoyed refreshments as Deb shared why they had been invited. Deb kept notes of how the meeting went, and handed out newsletters at each subsequent meeting. Deb telephoned US Lacrosse representatives to learn what she needed to do in order to follow their guidelines to grow the sport. She put together a Board of Directors, wrote a rough draft of by-laws, approached Dane County Parks to secure a place of play (Badger Prairie Park in Verona), and began to hold meetings in the Verona High School Commons Area, a larger space to house the growing interest.
Parents had questions about what they needed to buy in order for their kids to play. In the beginning it was decided that hockey gear could be worn, and Deb designed a logo and had t-shirts made so the team could be dressed alike. The fist teams organized were Memorial, Stoughton, Lafollette, Oregon, Middleton, West and Verona, and with expanded recruitment efforts by Bill Glenn, soon there were 14 including East, Sun Prairie and Edgewood. Some schools had two teams, and it warranted planning the first state event which was held in 2000 with the Bullrush Lacrosse Team taking the title in a match against Middleton. The name 'bullrush' came about when the kids were wondering what to call themselves. The Glenn twins’ uncle suggested the name because he said it meant fast-moving and hard-hitting..."a fearless charge". The teammates liked the name and it stuck.
The enthusiasm of the players were the reason why parents agreed to each pay a small stipend in order to hire Mark King as the first coach. Mark had played collegiate lacrosse out East, and worked for UW at the time. He was happy to do it. The Glenns bought a goal and some sticks and balls. Bill Glenn built sideline benches for the players, and lined the fields. Mike Mackler mowed the fields. Ken Bice became a referee and recruited others. Deb Glenn served as club president for five years and organized the First Annual Bullrush Lacrosse Jamboree, which is now the longest running lacrosse jamboree in the state.
MALA parents worked hard to make the jamboree a successful event. The Schnirring, Robertson, Storts and Rohrer families worked tirelessly to man the first-aid tent, cook hot dogs and hamburgers on a grill and offer refreshments. Other parents acted as timers, score-keepers, and ran the welcome table where teams had to sign in and pay their dues to become members of the Wisconsin Regional Chapter of US Lacrosse, which then included insurance for the players. Deb had hats made for all of the MALA parent volunteers, and had trophies made for first, second and third place winners. Parents set up a booth at the Hometown Days event, and Bill brought attention to their cause when he volunteered for the dunk tank. The parents and players put together a really neat float for the Verona parade*, and later participated in other parades as well.
It wasn't long before Deb got calls from girls who wanted to form teams. She agreed to start organizing and contacted KEVA Sports Center to hold a 'try the sport' event, which was highly successful. Many came with their younger siblings who also expressed interest. Other parents offered to help in any way possible, so girls and youth teams began to form. Hal Rosenberg, coach of the University of Wisconsin Lacrosse Club offered to be on the board, and monthly meetings were held in a conference room in the building where he worked. By 2002, there were 260 high school boys signed up to play under MALA, but with state-wide interest growing, Deb knew they needed to start working on a more formal state organization, the Wisconsin Lacrosse Federation (WLF).
History of WLF (Wisconsin Lacrosse Federation)
The Wisconsin Lacrosse Federation (WLF) formed as a mandate by the US Lacrosse (USL) when the sport moved past its infant stages in the state of Wisconsin. Deb Glenn sent cursory organizational information to USL, including forms from all the players that had become USL members. In August of 2001, under the direction of Glenn, the first meeting of Milwaukee, Green Bay, Superior and Madison organizers met at the Eagle's Nest in Verona to vote in Mark King, Verona boys head coach as president; Robin Buckley (Milwaukee) as VP, Jan Handshaft as treasurer and Amanda Brooker as secretary. With the signing of the by-laws, and officer names turned in, WLF became official and was accepted by US Lacrosse as the new state chapter of USL.
History of Verona Lacrosse Club (VLC)
The Verona Lacrosse Club (VLC) was officially formed in October 2009.
The Origin of Lacrosse
If you were asked what the oldest sport in America was, a common, but incorrect, answer is baseball. After all, it became popular in the mid-1800s, and is often called America’s “national pastime.” The correct answer is the sport of lacrosse with origins dating back the 17th century or earlier.
Initially called stickball, the game had been played in various forms for hundreds of years by at least 48 Native-American tribes throughout southern Canada and the United States. The Native American games were played in huge open areas between villages with no out-of-bounds. Often a tree or large rock was considered the goal, and a score was made by hitting it. Goals were typically 500 yards to one-half mile apart, but on occasion, goals were several miles apart. The number of participants at one time could range from 100 to 1,000 men on fields, and games could often last several days, ending at sunset and resuming the next day at sunrise.
Given the paucity of early data, it is impossible to fully reconstruct the history of the sport, but the rules were very simple. There were no boundaries except that the wooden ball, or in some instances a rock, was not to be touched by a player’s hand. The ball or rock was tossed into the air to indicate the start of the game and players raced to be the first to catch it with their stick, which resembled a large spoon.
Games of stickball were played for a variety of reasons, including recreation and to settle disputes. However, for some tribes, lacrosse was viewed as more of a spiritual and healing sport, while others viewed games as excellent training for combat and endurance for young warriors.
The first account of lacrosse came from a French Jesuit missionary, Jean de Brébeuf, who wrote about the game being played by the Huron Indians in 1636. It was he who actually named the game “lacrosse.”
By the 1800s, interest in the game of lacrosse has dramatically expanded, and by 1856 new rules were drawn up, including the introduction of a rubber ball, redesigned stick and a reduced number of players.
The first-ever recorded women’s lacrosse game was played in Scotland in 1890, and by the turn of the century, lacrosse became an accepted sport for the 1904 and 1908 Summer Olympic Games.