When invitations went out to men’s lacrosse teams to compete in the 2022 World Games in Birmingham, Ala., there was a big omission. The No. 3 Iroquois Nationals, a team that represents the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, wasn’t on the list. Organizers said the Nationals could not compete because they are not a sovereign nation — even though players have their own passports…
The Games’ organizers recognized their mistake, but the roster of eight teams was full.
Enter: Ireland. Its team was set to play in 2022.
“None of us would be going to Birmingham, Alabama in the first place if it wasn’t for the Iroquois and giving us the gift of their medicine game,” Sonny Campbell, a player for Ireland Lacrosse, tells Morning Edition.
He says the Irish team wanted to do more than make a statement. So earlier this month they dropped out of the tournament, allowing the Nationals to take their spot.
“We support them, and if it means we’ll give up our spot, then so be it. But the Iroquois, they need to be there,” Campbell says.
Thompson says the move was unexpected.
“A sense of me felt bad because they’re sort of sacrificing and giving up their opportunity. But a part of me felt like this is the right move, and I do truly believe that,” he says.
Thompson says Ireland’s sacrifice won’t be in vain.
“The Iroquois Nationals are going to put together the best team the world has ever seen, and representing not just the Iroquois Nationals, but Ireland lacrosse also,” Thompson says.
The eight teams competing in Alabama will be Australia, Canada, Germany, Great Britain, the Iroquois Nationals, Israel, Japan and the U.S.
The Iroquois History and Legend Podcast has a recent podcast with members of the Iroquois National Team which is well worth the listen. Check it out here.
Art by Robert W. Griffing