Guilderland Lacrosse: Our Roots are in Our Blood

By Allan Rabil

When you think about Albany and the surrounding communities in up-state New York, you have to appreciate the rich traditions of lacrosse.  Guilderland Lacrosse, a Verified Partner, supported the last regular season PLL games by hosting a Sunday clinic with Scott Marr, who's been the Head Coach of Albany for the last 22 years.

Guilderland’s mission stems from the roots of the Creator’s Game. “I always had a stick in my hand, it was in my blood,” said John Wemple, the outgoing President of Guilderland for the past 6 years. “We built the Guilderland Program for kids to have fun, so things would grow organically." John, himself played goalie, but was cut from his High School JV lacrosse team. So, John understands mentally the challenges to love the game, persevere to achieve your dreams, and to pass that stick forward to his son and the Guilderland program of the future.

On Sunday at the Albany Games, the PLL Academy sponsored a well-attended training clinic. Coach Scott Marr highlighted the training of Cannon Pros Stephen Rehfuss and Reece Eddy. Coach Scott spoke about the history of the “Medicine Game” tied to the Native American culture. Coach shared about Lyle Thompson - the Great Dane star - and his effort & attitude to play the game for the creator; his trip to N. Dakota with his Native players to visit “Standing Rock” reservation, where a controversial pipeline was being built through Native American soil; the Syracuse graduate & Native American player, Billy O’Brien, who co-founded the Thompson brother’s lacrosse brand; and Alf Jacques, a wooden stick maker on the Onondaga Nation.

Guilderland Lacrosse embraces that history of the Medicine Game, yet, like many organizations across the country, the game has never been taught fundamentally & historically like it can be in upper state NY. “My job was to get them to the door, not you can’t come in,” shared John Wemple. We knew he meant to get the kids to love the game, and to expose them specially to the Native American culture reference for the game and the stick.

It is a beautiful privilege when our sons and daughters mesh the meaning of the game to their own enjoyment. It is why the PLL embraces the roots of the game in up-state New York. It is special to pass that stick forward like Guilderland Lacrosse does.

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