Editor’s Note: Join us to welcome the Six Nations, Syracuse, and Iroquois Nationals lacrosse star, now turned pro, Brendan Bomberry, to LaxAllStars.com. Through part of our collaboration with MSN Lazer to bring completely custom lacrosse memorabilia to the community, we are working alongside the athletes to record some of their most cherished memories of their lacrosse careers. Current Georgia Swarm and Chespeake Bayhawks offensive threat, Bomberry is the first player to share his story.
Playing for the Iroquois Nationals has been one of the proudest achievements in my life.
It has brought me unbelievable experiences, on and off the field. It has taken me all over the world, to places I never would have otherwise seen. It opened my mind to the expansiveness of humanity and showed me the impact sports can have on people.
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But for as amazing as the on-field moment are, and for as thankful as I am for them, those aren’t the ones you remember for the rest of your life. It’s what happens off the clock that stays with you.
Last year, I was in Langley, British Columbia, for the 2019 World Indoor Lacrosse Championship, preparing to play in another massive tournament. We were at the Katzie Nation, and while they are not the same as where I’m from and my home nation, there was a feeling of connection.
To welcome us, the Katzie Nation held a welcoming ceremony for the Iroquois Nationals, fit with a cookout and a collection of gifts. We were given blankets and other articles of gratitude, but the bandanas they awarded us with caught everyone’s attention.
For the Katzie Nation, those bandanas represented strength and a coming together as one mind. Our team fully embraced the message and decided to incorporate their positive message into our warm up.
Before our next game, we all donned the bandanas around our foreheads to signify what our hosts had told us and to pay homage to their efforts all tournament long. As Native people, we knew we were playing on their land. We knew we were representing them even though they’re not Haudenosaunee. As fellow Native people, we all represent one another.
A year prior at the 2018 World Lacrosse Championships in Netanya, Israel, we had similar experiences, too.
Uganda Lacrosse reached out before the event and told us the team wanted to do a ceremonial song and dance for us as a way to give back to the Haudenosaunee, the original people who played the game. One beautiful day in Netanya, we went outside of the hotel and shared songs with the Ugandans, exchanging aspects of our respective cultures, showing appreciation for one another and bringing smiles to everyone’s face.
Peru Lacrosse also honored us in Israel.
It was their program’s first time at the World Championships, and the Peruvians wanted to show their love and gratitude for our invention of the game, too. Their song and dance, and the incredible coming together of people from various parts of the world as one, will never leave me.
It happened at the 2014 World Lacrosse Championships in Denver as well.
New Zealand did the haka for us and presented us with a paddle in dedication, and that one sticks out to me the most. That was one of the strongest and most powerful things I’ve ever witnessed in my life. To see that live and come together with them was one of many off-field moments that overtakes the on-field ones.
The Katzie Nation, Uganda, Peru and New Zealand were all trying to do the same thing: honor our people.
While a song and dance might not sound like much, the meanings behind them are giant, especially to us. They are a big part of our culture, and when these things happen, we always share one of our songs and dances.
We want the exchange of cultures, the coming together of peoples from across the globe with one common goal: to love lacrosse and be human.
This is how people come to respect those different from them. It brings an understanding of where people are coming from and what they’ve done with their lives. Above all else, though, it humanizes, and that is the crucial mark necessary for love to conquer hate.
Growing up, I dreamed of representing the Haudenosaunee on the world stage, and actually doing it has been everything I thought it would be and more. Each time I’ve put on the Iroquois Nationals jersey, I have understood how lucky I am to be in that position. But it’s not the scores and games that you carry with you as much. It’s the relationships you build with the other nations that make up the stories I’ll tell my kids and their grandkids.
There is so much animosity in the world, whether it be political, racial, socioeconomic or something else. We humans are great at finding reasons to divide ourselves. But settling our differences and becoming true friends is the only way forward.
To be a good human to one another, this is one of the biggest lessons I have taken away from my time playing for the Iroquois Nationals, and it’s not one I will ever forget.
WIN BRENDAN BOMBERRY GAME USED + AUTOGRAPHED GEAR
The best part about our collaboration with MSN Lazer is all of the unbelievable free stuff we are about to unload on the lacrosse community. Up for grabs this week: 1/1 EXCLUSIVE Brendan Bomberry x Iroquois Nationals GAME-USED and AUTOGRAPHED work of art created by MSN Lazer.
- Game-worn + autographed Iroquois Nationals Nike Vapor Elite gloves.
- Game-worn + autographed Iroquois Nationals WILC 2019 box helmet.
- 1/1 Live edge wood display with laser cut Iroquois Nationals embellishments + carbon fibre details.
Hit the button for the full contest rules, details and ways to collect entries!