Reports of the Native American sport lacrosse date as far back as the 1630s, when Jesuit missionaries documented the indigenous peoples of this continent engaging in competition using curved sticks with webbed pockets and a small deerskin ball. The game was rooted in legend and surrounded by ceremony; conjurers prepared equipment and players for each contest, and victory was thought to be supernaturally ordained.
The Colorado Mammoth may not use medicine men in its pre-game warmup, but the spirit of competition is alive and well among its players as they take to the field for their second season in the National Lacrosse League.
After an inaugural year in which the Mammoth claimed the 2003 Western Division Championship of the NLL, a promising followup was nearly canceled because of squabbling between the league and the players' union over long-term contract agreements. But cooler heads prevailed, and the players agreed to work under current conditions while the league irons out the kinks.
The Mammoth, which shattered first-year franchise attendance records last season and will host this year's All-Star Game, is hoping to top last year's performance at the Pepsi Center. Gary Gait, the NLL's 2003 MVP, and the rest of the crew will take on the San Jose Stealth in the home opener, tonight at 7 p.m. Tickets are available at the Pepsi Center box office, at 303-830-TIXS or at www.ticketmaster.com. -- Adam Cayton-Holland
Coeds hit the Telluride powder
Hey, kids! Before you hit the books this semester, hit the slopes at Telluride's second annual College Week. A week-long party with deals on lift tickets, lodging and libations, College Week runs today through January 10 at Telluride ski resort. Students with a valid college ID ski or board for just $32 (advance purchase) or $42 per day.
"Last year was a big success, and we've really beefed up the scheduled of events both on the mountain and off for aprŤs-ski this year," says Telluride spokeswoman Annie Carlson. "It's a great time of year to ski, and the college kids will basically have the mountain to themselves."
Events include drink specials at most local bars, a performance by the Reverend Horton Heat Band on Monday, January 5, and a Leather and Lace James Bond party on Thursday, January 8. "Everyone in town is really excited to have the students here, because it's such a great vibe," Carlson says.
For details, call 1-970-728-7432 or visit www.tellurideskiresort.com/collegeweek. -- Julie Dunn