A little something to think about…..
Let’s talk a little about the game you are playing. Most of you know lacrosse or some form of lacrosse was played by every Native American tribe from Canada to Mexico. It was more than a game to the Native Americans. It was spiritual. It was a way of connecting with the afterworld and the nature. It was social. It was community. It was a rite of manhood. It was all those things to the Native Americans. They had great respect for Baggataway (which is the Huron name) and means “the game.” A common thread ran through every version that was played – RESPECT.
The Native Americans believed the respect was extremely important. So much so, that they went to great lengths to show respect for their enemies. They believed that if you revered your enemy in an almost spiritual way, you would always be honored in a contest or battle. Why? If you respect your enemy, consider him worthy and formidable and you lose to that enemy, you have lost to someone worthy and there is no dishonor in that. If you disrespect your enemy, consider him unworthy, consider him weak, and you lose to that enemy, then you have lost to a no body, and what does that make you?! Less than a no body!
The Native Americans would never understand trash talk, getting in people’s faces, “dissing” a team. It shows a lack of respect and is considered wrong. The talking belongs on the scoreboard, and cheering and shaking hands after a hard fought contest, letting a guy know that he rocked you with a clean shot and patting him on the back, smiling after a loss that was played well, is how to show respect for your opponent and “the game.” If a guy beats you and gets off a shot and scores, you have more work to do on your game. If you get caught from behind on a fast break, you need more conditioning. If a guy dodges around you leaving you standing all alone, you need to get busy learning how to better defend.
The Native Americans gave us (his brother) the game of lacrosse. With it come the Native American tradition of respect. You are now part of the tradition. Carry it forward with honor. And carry that same tradition and attitude into your citizenship and social relationships. It really isn’t whether you win or loose – It really is all about how you play “the game” - on and off the field!