Spirit Game: Pride of a Nation

How much do you know about Lacrosse? Until I watched this informative documentary, I only knew it was a sport. I had no idea where it came from or what was involved in playing it. As I watched, I learned that the white man picked up this sport from Iroquois tribes over 150 years ago but only just "allowed" the tribes to compete with the white man's teams in the last 20 years. Before that they weren't allowed to join in because they were classified as "Professionals." A tribal elder says that, to his tribe, the three most important things are: 1. Family. 2. Work/Education. 3. Lacrosse.

When the documentary team met with one of the elders, he observed, "From 1613 to the present in a few minutes? ...but that's how you do things." Then he smiled.

I learned:
  • This is an unbelievably fast-moving sport. (Watch the trailer.) I could only see the ball when it came to rest after each play. A participant is whip-smart with the reflexes of a cat.
  • The ball is managed by nets on the ends of sticks. That is over-simplifying, but you get the idea. It is never touched with a hand.
  • Players are hit with sticks, shoved, tripped and pushed. I don't know how much of it is legal, but there never seems to be any hard feelings. Each player is padded EVERYWHERE!
  • There are no cleats and I never saw any blood. The skills are astounding!
When the confederation chose to compete against the U.S., Britain, Australia and Canada, they insisted that they be acknowledged as a sovereign nation. Eventually they were, with their flag flying amid the four others. ... There were passport problems but the team stuck together and refused to use U.S. passports; they are a proud, borderless nation.

Back in the 1600s the game was originally a three-day religious ceremony for the Six Nations (Seneca, Cayuga, Onondaga, Tuscarora, Oneida and Mohawk) with hundreds of men participating, but has been modified and codified over the centuries. The white man plays lacrosse, but he does not associate it with its origins.

The underlying rationale for his rejection is "discovery," which means if someone "discovers" your land, it becomes his, you don't count even if a number of treaties are signed. In 1493 Alexander Pope said the lands were empty of Christians, therefore empty.

I could go on and on, because this unrated documentary is endlessly fascinating, but please see this one. It is interesting, exciting and humorous. No guns, no vehicular mayhem, no sex (and no captions).  I particularly enjoyed the vocalists, Joanne Shenandoah and Theresa "Bear" Fox. One elder, a former lacrosse super-star who is a handsome, eloquent spokesman, says "We have lost many games, but we have never been defeated." I believe him!
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Please watch the trailer:
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