Minnesota Swarm vs. Portland Lumberjax

If you like hockey or soccer, you'll probably like the Minnesota Swarm of the National Lacrosse League. But before you can go to a game and truly revel in it, you need to first understand America's fastest growing NCAA sport. So here's a primer: There are 12 teams in the world of indoor lacrosse and six players on each team: five "runners" and a goalie. Teams play 16 one-hour games each season. Each team attempts to chuck a ball into a goal by cradling the ball in their netted sticks and flinging it from distant lengths across the field (there's a reason players wear helmets). The ball moves quickly between teammates, and the sport is similar in pace to ice hockey. Now that you know what's going on, here's some interesting stuff that's been happening in the NLL lately: Lacrosse players and owners actually seem to care enough about the sport (or putting food on their tables) to work through collective bargaining. The players association went on strike, which prompted the owners to cancel the 2008 season, but the sides eventually came together and saved it. The NLL, at the ripe old age of 22, finally has a little history to reflect on: John Tavares recently scored his 597th goal, making him the all-time goal leader. Finally, like all good professional sports, the league has some legal drama. Toronto Rock head coach Glenn Clark was charged with assault in January after allegedly thumping Swarm player Sean Pollock twice in the head.
Sun., Feb. 10, 3 p.m., 2008

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