It takes a special kind of person to play professional sports at a high level and consistently, so it's easy to say that the Native tribes that once inhabited the Great Lakes area were possibly some of the strongest athletes of all time, based on the sport they invented, which in the modern day is called Lacrosse.

Known by them as Baaga’adowe, one infamous match took place on Mackinac Island at Fort Michilimackinac, which led to natives somewhat staging a game to make their way into the fort, according to historical documentation:

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In June 1763, as a part of the larger Pontiac’s War, a group of Ojibwa and possibly Sauk gathered outside of Fort Michilimackinac and started to play a game of Baaga’adowe. A crowd quickly gathered to watch the fast-paced, spirited game. As the crowd watched the game, several women with guns under their blankets wandered into the fort. The ball was sent soaring toward the gate and the [Native] players followed it, and then rushed into the fort, taking the guns from the women, and quickly killed and/or captured the British soldiers.

 

What Made The Games So Difficult?

First off, the goals could range from 500 yards from each other, to up to 6 miles apart. So you've got thousands of guys whacking sticks around and you need to move it 6 miles from you to score. How does anyone ever win? That's gotta be the equivalent of putting a man on the moon.

The rules for the games were decided the day before the event and generally, there were no out-of-bounds, and as is in the current form of the game, the ball couldn't be touched with the players' hands. The goals would be selected as large rocks or trees and in later years wooden posts were used. The game would be played from sun up until sundown.

Listen, I'll watch this game but my ass is dead after a half hour of nonstop action. Can you imagine getting the ball 3 miles away from your net, only to have to go 3 miles back?

Michigan Native American Grounds & Artifacts

Abandoned Native American Boarding School & Asylum, Mount Pleasant