The Little Brother of War - Acrylic on Canvas is the tenth in a series of limited edition prints produced by the Canadian Lacrosse Foundation to honour the game of Lacrosse and one of its greatest coaches and builders – the late Jim Bishop. This painting was created by Chris Aquart. The original artwork for this piece, as well as future originals will be presented each year as the “Jim Bishop Memorial Award” to the Minto Cup (National Junior A Championship) athlete who best exemplifies leadership, skill, sportsmanship, and the spirit of the game.
Before lacrosse was a sport, it was a religious rite, practiced to honour the pantheon of Indian spirits. ‘The Game of the Creator’ required speed, strength, hand-eye skills and stamina. All of the traits necessary for survival. These ceremonies of athletic prowess, coordination and endurance also perfectly simulated the hand-to-hand techniques of close combat. And so the game evolved; the little brother of war.
The entire countryside was their venue and goals were set in villages miles apart. Whole nations were divided into teams with thousands of warriors on each side. Contestants were armed with one or two wooden sticks, each containing a woven pocket at one end, with which a leather ball, stuffed with stones, could be caught, carried or thrown. How combatants got the ball to their objective mirrored the strategies of tribal warfare.
Over the next two hundred years limits were imposed on the size of the field and the number of participants. Several lacrosse clubs emerged in the larger cities on the Eastern Shore and players adapted a wider, longer stick which placed more emphasis on catching and passing, and less on the physical aspects of the game.