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College Crosse Prospectus: Marr, Thompson, O’Brien At Standing Rock

All the lax news and then some for November 23, 2016.

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NCAA Lacrosse: Quarterfinals - Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Albany Great Danes Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

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Albany head coach Scott Marr and alumni Lyle Thompson, along with current New England Black Wolf Bill O’Brien, have made their way to Standing Rock.

As Inside Lacrosse’s Matt Kinnear writes, they hosted a game with wooden sticks yesterday.

“We’re trying to bring some positivity to this. This game is fun. That’s what we preach — that's what this game is about and what we’re bringing to the people,” Lyle Thompson said Tuesday, just a few minutes before the game was set to start.

Thompson and his coach have spent countless hours together, but likely none more meaningful than these. Marr drove 30 hours to get to North Dakota, picking up O’Brien and Thompson along the way. Along the road, they shared some deep conversations about the situation at Standing Rock and more.

“It gets pretty deep when you talk about stuff like this. What’s going on in the world and how people are treated in the world… We had some deep talks, some laughs,” Thompson said.

Marr said his former player, who set the NCAA points record while at Albany, “has got something to him a little different than most.”

“I think the Native American are being completely disrespected … There’s nobody that knows what’s going on out here,” Lyle said. “They’re fighting for a greater cause than themselves. They’re fighting for all of the nations.”

Michael Kelly of The Daily Gazette also has a great article on their trip.

Walking around the camps set up within the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, Marr said the situation was unlike anything he’d previously seen.

“It was surreal. When we were over there, it was pretty calm. We got there around 5, 6 o’clock,” Marr said Tuesday. “People were eating dinner and stuff like that. They were camping. It’s a little village, really. ... But it’s surreal [because] you’re walking around on sacred Native land, and then across the river you see bulldozers and huge mounds of dirt. You can just feel that people are hunkered down. They’re not willing to give in.”

Marr and Thompson — an Onondaga Nation member who now lives on the Six Nations reservation in Canada — began their trek to the Standing Rock Indian Reservation early Sunday morning with Thompson’s wife, three children and friend Bill O’Brien. They did not stay overnight on the site — they opted for a nearby hotel because of Thompson’s young children — but used part of their time Monday night on scene to recruit players for “medicine” games of lacrosse, meant to offer fun and healing.

“Lacrosse is a Native American game,” said Thompson, who perhaps played the sport better than anyone at the college level during a career at UAlbany in which he shared the 2014 Tewaaraton Award with his brother Miles and won it solo as a senior in 2015. “Throughout the different tribes across the country, they play some form of lacrosse.”

Marr said: “So Lyle [was] trying to bring that game to the forefront to show that’s part of their culture.”

New U.S. Soccer Men’s National Team head coach Bruce Arena played lacrosse at Nassau Community College and Cornell and was a midfielder! He was also an assistant for lacrosse and soccer at the University of Virginia for seven years before solely focusing on soccer at the school.

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