Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Removing Barriers On and Off the Lacrosse Field

Fred Opie and US National Team Players as the national anthem was playing before a lacrosse world championship game in Australia in 1990

The U 19 Lacrosse world championship is going on this week in Finland. It reminds me of my time at a similar world championship in Australia in 1990. As an African-American in Australia I felt like a museum piece with so many Aussies staring at me. Seeing an occasional aborigines on city streets warmly greeting me gave me a sense of solidarity with this ethnic group which like my own has a long history of struggling against marginalization. Their fraternal greeting as fellow blacks in a white controlled world said to me that they understood that we shared similar experiences.  It might be similar to the same way lacrosse players in North America greet each other when they come in contact in the spaces controlled by the big three—football, basketball, and baseball. Yesterday I heard a segment on the radio about an aboriginal music group called the Black Arm Band Company.  Like Woody Guthrie, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, and KRS1, their music is dedicated to raising people's consciousness about the injustices in their society. As the first African-American to make the US national team, it disturbs me how the current club lacrosse and tournament scene are building economic barriers to more people having the opportunity to play our game at every level.

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