Maps + Lacrosse = Bliss

So I am involved neck-deep in Lacrosse (go Warriors!). Utah is currently in the midst of reorganizing its high school lacrosse league, and the prospect of state sanctioning is always a background issue. As I wondered about what is happening in other states, it suddenly occurred to me, “you’re a cartographer, for heaven’s sake: make a map!”

This map tries to portray three themes:

  1. Whether each state officially sanctions/sponsors boys lacrosse or not, gathered from each state high school activities association (I found a handy list¬†at New Jersey’s site).
  2. How many teams each state had in Spring 2014, gathered from (I tried to only include school teams in sanctioned states, not club teams)
  3. How “prevalent” lacrosse is; that is, the ratio of the number of teams to the state population. If I could calculate the percentage of all high schools that play lacrosse, that would probably be a better measure, but I couldn’t find a table of total number of high schools by state without a lot of leg work.

Besides the obvious pattern of lacrosse being strongest in the Northeast, there are a number of interesting patterns here:

  • The much-hyped rapid growth in the South Atlantic (ACC country) is apparent.
  • Although lacrosse is generally stronger in Colorado than anywhere else in the West, it is actually more prevalent in Utah!
  • Several non-sanctioned states are “pregnant,” and should consider becoming official in the near future, especially Ohio, Utah, Oregon, and Washington (I know full well that the politics in each state are different).
  • What has happened in Minnesota? Did sanctioning lead to their great growth, or vice versa? Are they a model for other developing states to follow?

I welcome any comments, suggestions, corrections, and better data!


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