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The First Truly American Sport

The First Truly American Sport
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   4.96

     challenging words:    fast-paced, lacrosse, violent, agile, equipment, particularly, lasted, fastest, schools, health, sport, college, missionary, allow, goal, cure
     content words:    Native Americans, Native American, United States, George Beers, New York University

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The First Truly American Sport
By Jane Runyon

1     Do you know what America's first sport was? Here are some clues. It is played with a ball. Not enough? Here's another clue. The players run up and down a field. Do you need more clues? Players need to be fast and agile. Young and old can play the game. Passing the ball occurs in the game. Passes are made using a stick. The ball is not hit by the stick. Players move the ball by throwing, catching, or scooping the ball into a net on the stick. Give up? The first truly American sport is lacrosse.
2     Lacrosse was played by early Native Americans. The French watched the Native Americans play the game and taught it to settlers in Canada. The Canadians changed the game in a few ways and started playing it with their own rules. Many people like to play lacrosse because you don't have to be particularly strong to play. You do need to be able to run fast, stop quickly, and twist and turn with the movement of the ball.
3     Native Americans played lacrosse for many reasons. In some tribes, disputes between two families could be resolved by sending them onto the field to play lacrosse. Some tribes believed that playing the game had magical powers. Many believed that playing the game could cure the sick and bring them back to health. Still others believed that playing lacrosse would help turn young boys into strong, healthy men.

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