March 29, 2020
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UNCOMPROMISED EXCELLENCE: Men’s Lacrosse – Healing Game


[THEME MUSIC] The game of lacrosse originated
from the Native Americans, who played for more
than recreation but for its legends, ceremony,
and curative purposes. Living tangent of the Onondaga
Native American Reservation, Men’s Head Lacrosse
Coach, Lars Tiffany absorbed his hometown’s
culture as a young boy, centering on lacrosse. When you grow up in
Lafayette New York or on the Onondaga Reserve, you
have the stick in your hands at a very young age. And so we really didn’t
know anything but lacrosse. You know, we played
the other sports as well, football,
basketball, baseball. I played with my white
friends and my native friends but we always had a
stick in our hand. Let’s go, boys. Let’s go. He’s carried the culture
of the Iroquois Nation into the Virginia
men’s lacrosse program since arriving on grounds
in summer of 2016. I’ve maintained my connection
to the roots to the game, to the aboriginal
people, to the Onondagas, and what I learned from them. How the game should be played. Here at UVA, we play
the game very fast. Frenzied, phonetic,
athletic style of play. That’s how the Native Americans
played it once upon a time and still do today. For the Native Americans,
the game of lacrosse is more than just a
game, it’s something that connects them to their
creator, to the spirit world, to appease the creator. You don’t do that by
playing the game slow, you do that by playing fast. When making the trip to
play Syracuse last spring, Tiffany wanted his players to
connect with his background. Immersing them into the history
and tradition of their sports origin. It was enjoyable to
see them all crowded into Alfie’s little shack. And we were surrounding
a wood stove because it was about 10
degrees outside but they were enthralled. And I wasn’t sure you know,
because the history doesn’t mean they need to know it. There’s no direct
connection between beating Syracuse tomorrow and
knowing this today. But I found an inquisitiveness
and a curiosity amongst the team that made me
smile, that warmed my heart. And certainly be
something that we continue to do moving forward
when we head up to Central Day North to play Syracuse. After the horrific
events in Charlottesville last August, Coach
Tiffany, once again, found help from the
roots of lacrosse in the form of a healing game. The purpose and
the main point here was that a medicine
game, a healing game, is put on by the
Onondagas when there’s something amiss in the
community, when something’s not right or they feel that
there is something wrong. That the message to the creator
is and the creator’s not happy. And what a better context here? Something’s amiss in our
community here in Charleston. To have that start the game
off with something completely unrelated to winning or
losing or numbers or anything like that. To be introduced to the game
with sage and with prayer and just a complete different
approach to the game was definitely moving. Especially because
so many of us can get caught up in winning
and losing and competing and battling. It was interesting
to see that there’s a whole other side to this game
that the Native American people approach it with. Coach Tiffany’s history
with the Iroquois Nation just adds another benefit
to his coaching staff and the program he’s
building at Virginia. Coach Tiffany has brought in
so many great values to the way that he’s been coaching
us and his background with being from a Native
American Reservation in Lafayette and the
Onondaga Reservation. It’s just been an
honor to see how he can include that heritage
in what we do every day and show us that there’s a whole
different part of this game that we might forget being
division one lacrosse players.

David Frank

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1 COMMENTS

  1. Remy Reyes Posted on January 26, 2018 at 4:37 pm

    Good luck this season guys!!!

    Reply
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