SIX NATIONS — In the past three years, two new countries have joined the long and growing list of Nations around the world that are playing lacrosse as an organized sport. This year, the Philippines officially joined the world-wide fraternity of lacrosse. They are joining a fraternity that spans around the world. Porto Rico also entered the lacrosse world recently as well.
The Federation of International Lacrosse lists some of the more remote countries you would ever believe are playing the Creators game, started amongst the Haudenosaunee people as a gift by Peacemaker to settle disputes between villages and tribes.
Leagues are now popping up all over the world and one can take in a lacrosse game almost anywhere, including; the Argentina Lacrosse Association; The Asia Pacific Lacrosse Union; Austrailia; Belgium; Bermuda; Bulgaria; Chile; Canada; China; Columbia; Croatia; Czech Republic; Denmark; England; Estonia; European Lacrosse Federation; France; Finland; Germany; Guatemala; Haiti; Hungary; Hong Kong; Ireland; Italy; Jamaica; Japan; Korea; Latvia; Luxembourg; Mexico; Netherlands; New Zealand; Poland; Portugal; Puerto Rico; Peru; Qatar; Russia; Scotland; Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia; Spain; Sweden; Switzerland; Chinese Taipei; Thailand; Turkey; Uganda; Ukraine; USA and Wales. Add to that, of course, the Iroquois Nationals and the Haudenosaunee Nation.
With lacrosse booming around the world, “why is it not an Olympic sport?,” one may ask. The answer is, it has appeared as a demonstration sport occasionally, but was an official Olympic sport only twice.
The first time it was the 1904, at the St. Louis Games, as a part of the World’s Fair. Canada entered two teams that year. The first Team Canada, the Winnipeg Shamrocks, consisted of all non-Native, Canadian players. They won Gold that year. Second place was won by Team USA and the Bronze medal was awarded to a second “Canadian” team which was made up of exclusively Haudenosaunee players.
The official list of players included, Black Hawk, brought on board from the Mohawk Indians Lacrosse Team to represent Canada. Very little is known of Black Eagle, also a Mohawk Team member. Others with names like Almighty Voice, Flat Iron, Spotted Tail, Half Moon, Lightfoot, Snake Eater, Red Jacket, Night Hawk, Man Afraid Soap, and Rain in the Face, are listed as players.
In 1908, the second, Canadian team, the Haudenosaunee team, did not compete. In fact only two teams did. Canada won Gold and USA won silver. It was removed as an official Olympic sport the following games.
The sport was new to the eyes of the non-Haudenosaunee world at that time and had not spread to countries outside of Canada, England and the USA. Understandably, the Olympic Committee removed it as an official Olympic sport since it was only played in two or three places around the world. It was brought back in 1928, 1932, and 1948, but only as a demonstration sport.
But today, lacrosse has become the fastest growing team sport in the world. There are teams good enough to compete internationally everywhere. More than 59 countries are actively building or already have high level lacrosse programs and national teams. Perhaps it’s time to try again.