Jousters at St. Margaret's, Annapolis, Maryland, July 2005. Photos by Diane F. Evartt.
Jousting, the world's oldest equestrian sport, developed in the Middle Ages as combat training for the cavalry. Two armored combatants on horseback charged at each other in an attempt to break the lance on their opponent's armor or knock him off his horse. Eventually losing its military connection, jousting became a very popular sport, and tournaments were held in which knights, noblemen, and even kings competed.
Jousting tournaments have been held in Maryland since early colonial times but became increasingly popular after the Civil War. Retaining the pageantry and customs of medieval tournaments, modern competitors are called "knights" or "maids", and many dress in colorful costumes. Men, women and children compete equally with skill and horsemanship determining the class.
Jouster at St. Margaret's, Annapolis, Maryland, July 2005. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.
Today, jousting competitions are held from May through October in Maryland.
Effective October 1, 2004, Lacrosse became the official team sport of Maryland (Chapter 272, Acts of 2004; Code General Provisions Article, sec. 7-329(b)).
Known as the oldest sport in North America, lacrosse was played by native American tribes probably for centuries before the first account of it was written in 1636 by a French Jesuit missionary in Canada. Among native Americans, lacrosse was played by tribes throughout the Great Lakes region, and in what is now the southeastern United States, and all along the East Coast, a range which encompasses Maryland.
Lacrosse players, University of Maryland vs. The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, April 2002. Photo by Rob Brown.
In the United States, lacrosse became popular on college campuses in the late 1800s, beginning with New York University in 1877. The University of Maryland fielded its first team in 1910. In 1926, the first women's lacrosse team in the country was established at the Bryn Mawr School in Baltimore. Lacrosse made its Olympic debut in 1904, with the Johns Hopkins University team representing the United States at the summer games in 1928 and 1932. That school has remained a lacrosse power-house, ranked number one in the postseason coaches poll in 2002, 2003, and 2004. Other Maryland teams have performed well. The U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis won its eighth consecutive intercollegiate title in 1967, and in 2005 is ranked fifth in the nation, behind Johns Hopkins, Duke, Georgetown, and University of Virginia. In 2017, the University of Maryland women's team won its thirteenth National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) championship, while the men's team won their third championship.
Since 1995, lacrosse has grown rapidly as a club sport and at middle- and high-school levels in Maryland.
In 1997, Maryland became home to the Lacrosse National Hall of Fame and Museum.
The Chesapeake Bayhawks debuted in the Nationals Division of Major League Lacrosse in June 2001 as the Baltimore Bayhawks. In March 2010, during a restructuring of the League, the team relocated and assumed their current name. They play at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis.
Maryland college lacrosse teams have won national championships in recent years. On May 30, 2005, The Johns Hopkins University Blue Jays defeated Duke University's Blue Devils to win the Division I Men's Lacrosse championship of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). The Johns Hopkins University Blue Jays again defeated Duke University's Blue Devils on May 28, 2007, to win the Division I Men's Lacrosse championship of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Played at M & T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, the victory gave the Blue Jays a record-breaking ninth national title. Most recently, on May 28, 2012, Loyola University Maryland's Greyhounds defeated the University of Maryland's Terps to win the Division I Men's Lacrosse championship of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).
Maryland not only wins, but also hosts competitive lacrosse events. From June 23 to July 2, 2005, Annapolis, Maryland, hosted the World Cup, International Federation of Women's Lacrosse Associations. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) men's lacrosse championship match was played at M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, on May 28, 2011 and returned May 24-26, 2014.
In 2003, 2009-2011, 2015, and 2016, Balitmore hosted the National Convention for US Lacrosse. This convention is open to US Lacrosse member coaches, officials, and administrators, and offers field demonstrations, and educational clinics and sessions. The conference returned to Baltimore in January 2017.
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