Sitting together in a chat room, the leaders of the Lake Shore men’s lacrosse team took on a more serious tone than the usual smiles and laughs. They wanted to draw the team’s attention to an important movement: Every Child Matters.
Meaning is much deeper than words convey. It is a rallying cry to the Indigenous children who have died and to those living with the traumas of Canada’s residential school system.
Eagles players wanted to recognize and support those affected. After deliberation, they decided to pay tribute through their uniforms.
“They were preparing the order before they even told me about it,” Lake Shore coach Adrian John said. “They know this team is theirs. We are all in this together. It’s not just my team; it’s not just their team.
Taking responsibility, developing a plan and executing it is exactly what John preaches to his team, on and off the pitch.
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Among the efforts off the ground is raising awareness of cultural genocide and demonstrating its relevance to the community. Nearly 3% of the inhabitants of Angola are indigenous. The players reached out to 6N Sporting Apparel, a Native American-owned apparel company, and recently debuted their shirts in the spring return game against Salamanca, a school and city with a large Native American population.
The result on the ground was the emergence of the program as one of the best in Section VI. Lake Shore went 15-0 last season and won the Class C championship and started 10-0 this season before a 7-6 loss to Canisius on Saturday.
“The big thing we’re pushing is for them to be young men,” John said. “Don’t call them boys, don’t call them children. Make them understand what it’s like to become men once they leave high school.
After ensuring that the uniforms could be worn during matches, each player paid for their kit.
The jerseys were also a sign of unity among the players, some of whom have Native American ancestry.
“It was beautiful,” said Nick Sawinsky, senior. “To be able to wear these colors and represent the people who could no longer play – it was more than just a shirt. It was a moment of realization and reality and bringing that to the sport is more than anything you can ask for. real-life sport is something that should be done regularly.
The shirts feature an orange lining around “Lakeshore” and the player’s number along with the color being visible in the neck area, on the side of the shirt and on the bottom of their shorts.
Orange has become synonymous with “National Day for Truth and Reconciliation”, more commonly known as “Orange Shirt Day”, which has been held annually on September 30 since 2013. In 2021, Canada recognized the day as a national holiday. .
“We wanted to raise awareness,” said Lake Shore senior Joise John. “We understand the problems this has caused people and we want people to know that.”
While playing for an important cause, the Eagles have been as dominant this season as they were last season, even without one of their best performers from last season, the All-Star first-team attack. Western New York Daylin John-Hill, who transferred to Westtown School in Pennsylvania. Lake Shore’s 10 wins have averaged 9.4 goals.
Their success was new experience for a program that had been average or worse for nearly a decade, including a 6-9 season in 2019, with losses in eight of their last nine games that year. Lake Shore has grown from a hard-playing, blasting, and sometimes shut-out program to a team that is one of the best in Western New York.
“It’s a great feeling,” said Joise John, who was selected to the All-Section VI team by the coaches last spring. “All my years here we have always been the underdogs. We weren’t expected to do much, but now we’re the apex predator. We’re at the top right now, and that’s a great feeling. Every time we’ve beaten a team, we’ve earned it.
“We got up, we did all the work we needed and we behaved just as we should play. If a team wants to come after us, we will welcome them with open arms,” he said. said.
Obviously, they welcome any challengers who think they can stop the Eagles from soaring. But, he and his teammates want to take it day by day, with their hopes pinned on another section title.
Adrian John, named Section VI Coach of the Year by his peers last season, said he believed his side could sweep league play again with Monday’s games remaining against Sweet Home on Thursday at North Tonawanda and Friday in Amherst. Lakeshore has out of league matches against Orchard Park and Eden/North Collins next week. The ranking meeting for the Section VI playoffs is scheduled for May 18.
“We all communicate well,” said Joiise John. “We just show and we just put in the work. We know what we did last season and we want to do it again. I don’t think anyone wants it more than us. We’re all aware of that, so we’re pushing hard to do it again, because a double would be nice.