Lacrosse, A Boy, A Stick And A Dream
by Amy Bomberry | on July 10, 2012
If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It ~ Walt Disney
Two days ago I sent my oldest child off around the world to fulfill one of his childhood dreams.
I still remember when Brendan was 3 yrs old, lacrosse had become a part of his daily life. He lived to watch his uncle Cal play.
He was a big fan, rooting for his uncle Cal who was playing in the 1998 Minto Cup, and had traveled to the 1996 U19 World Championships in Japan.
He asked me how old he would be when he was old enough to play for the Iroquois Nationals.
So we did the math, and since the World Championships are held every 4 years, I told him you’ll be 17 in 2012 and you can play then.
After that whenever he mentioned lacrosse it was usually something like, “when I play for the Iroquois Nationals, I wonder where I’ll get to travel to…”
He fully believed he would be on the 2012 team.
He always had that dream in mind and worked to make it happen.
I knew minutes after he was born he was destined for great things.
Of course that’s something that most parents would say.
There was just something different about him, his energy drew you in like a magnet.
Maybe it was his full head of crazy hair that was standing in every direction.
Or it could’ve been the double cow-licks on his crown…but nurses from all over the hospital came to see him over the course of our time there.
They would all say, “we heard all about this cute little guy with the wild and crazy hair, so we had to meet him.”
That was just the beginning… I mean it’s not everyday that you encounter a 6 month old baby that will sit and watch NHL hockey on the TV.
Or a baby that drags around a hockey or lacrosse stick as he’s crawling.
During the Fall and Winter he lived and breathed hockey, and still does to til this day. But, even before the first signs of Spring are in the air, he’d have his lacrosse sticks out getting them warmed up and ready for action.
It’s not just a game to us, it’s a way of life, and a sacred medicine.
To be skilled, is considered a gift.
You see, as Haudenosaunee (Iroquois), our ancestors were the originators of the game. To us, lacrosse is known as “The Creator’s Game.”
We like to say “it’s in our blood.”
The game has been passed down in families for generations.
In our communities you’ll often hear people say “he was born with a stick in his hands,” when describing one of our athletes.
For our young men to be chosen to represent our Nation at the World Championships, it is the highest honour, and a dream come true.
A dream that was almost crushed by politics.
The 2010 Men’s Iroquois Nationals were denied the opportunity to participate in the World Games over a passport issue.
Since the 2010 World Championships, the Iroquois Nationals have been involved in a political scrimmage in order to ensure the 2012 U19 team would be able to compete.
The official announcement that they would be a part of the 2012 games was made just a month ago, on June 8th.
That announcement was such a relief. Even the suggestion that there was a possibility that Brendan and his team mates would be denied this opportunity was sickening.
For many Haudenosaunee children lacrosse opens the door to a world of opportunities that might not otherwise be available to them.
It is increasingly becoming more and more popular.
Lacrosse programs are rapidly growing for Men, Women and Children across both Canada and the United States.
Lacrosse is providing lucrative scholarship opportunities for serious athletes, mostly in the USA since 398 colleges and universities currently offer Men’s Lacrosse programs, while over 1500 high schools offer Men’s Lacrosse programs. Many of those programs also offer Women’s Lacrosse.
NCAA College programs and professional leagues such as the NLL and MLL, along with the help of Inside Lacrosse magazine are fueling the popularity of Lacrosse which is steadily becoming a mainstream sport.
Plus, this past Spring, Crooked Arrows was released as the first Hollywood produced movie to feature Lacrosse.
The Lacrosse community has hopes that within the next several years, Lacrosse will become an official Olympic sport.
This incredible growth means that more Haudenosaunee children will have the opportunity to pursue athletic scholarships and professional careers than ever before.
For Brendan and his teammates it means that they are role models and leading the way into the future.
The eyes of every Haudenosaunee boy will be on them this week.
As a mother I am overcome with love, gratitude, and above all, pride.
It has truly been an honour to watch my son pursue his dreams and watch him grow into the young man he has become.
The commitment and dedication he has shown for The Creator’s Game, simply amazes me.
Regardless of the outcome of the tournament, I am just so happy and proud that he has worked so hard to get to where he is.
The road to Finland has been a long one, and it hasn’t come without sacrifice.
He’s been training and working out 5-6 days a week since he was 8 years old, playing hockey and lacrosse at their highest levels, year round as the seasons overlap.
It’s meant giving up many things that some of us take for granted as a kid….family time, birthday parties, holidays, vacations, and hanging out with friends, all for the love of the game.
It has also afforded him many experiences that wouldn’t have happened otherwise, like traveling across North America to play in several provincial and national championships in both hockey and lacrosse, meeting several of his heroes, making friends and connections every where he goes, and now fulfilling a childhood dream.
As I said earlier, regardless of the outcome, watching my son board the bus as he embarked on his journey to Finland was truly one of my proudest moments as a mom.
The only thing sweeter would be seeing him win a Gold Medal.
I plan to be there for the championship game, wouldn’t miss it for the world.
Go Iroquois Nationals! Bring home the Gold!!
Did I mention I have 2 younger sons who have every intention of following in their big brother’s footsteps? I had to start this blog to start saving for their future lacrosse endeavours!
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