By Jason Donville
And Tuesday they were on, as Team Iroquois stunned Team USA with a 15-13 victory on Day 5 at the World U19 Lacrosse Championships in Finland.
Iroquois’ victory and Canada’s win against the USA earlier this week has illustrated the changing face of international lacrosse, in which USA’s dominance was up until recently a forgone conclusion. While Canada and much of Iroquois have long been adept at box lacrosse, it was only in the 1980s that each nation began developing its field programs.
The Canadians in particular were quick to adapt their offensive game to meet the standards of world lacrosse but they lagged behind in the development of defensive midfielders, defensemen and goalies. Over time, players like Virginia’s Chris Sanderson, Georgetown’s Brodie Merrill and Denver face-off specialist Geoff Snider emerged as top-level players in positions other than attack. Fortunately for Canadian lacrosse, they became teachers and/or coaches of the field game.
However, Canada and Iroquois have also benefited from having both a rich box lacrosse history and a close proximity to the U.S., Northeast.
Iroquois Nationals Defeat United States–Win More than Respect
By Chase Iron Eyes
When we win in athletics and other arenas our hearts are lifted. Our spirits rise with an indelible pride whose source is our dignity as Mother Earth’s children. Go to any high school basketball game in any small town in any gym where an Indian team is playing. See the crowds come in great numbers, sometimes on borrowed gas money and ride-hitching, to a regular season game: adults, children, elders, and supporters. See those already frenzied crowds double in size and draw legitimate heart-felt support from other reservations inhabited by people who were once traditional enemies come to cheer each other on. It is no different with the Iroquois Nationals. We would see thousands of Indigenous people descend upon any city in the United States or Canada if the Iroquois Nationals competed in international competition on Turtle Island. That’s how we roll.
For more on Indians and lacrosse, see Onondagas Support Crooked Arrows and Swarm Teaches Lacrosse to Native Kids.