Randy Staats on Playing the Native's Game
Boston, MA -Â "Lacrosse is everything to me. Ever since I was a kid it's all I have ever wanted to do." For many natives, lacrosse is part of their very identity and for Atlanta Blaze attackman, Randy Staats that is no different. Staats was born and raised on the Six Nations Reservation, home to members from the six tribes of the Iroquois Confederacy. Growing up, lacrosse was always on Staats mind.
The sport was recorded first in European history in the 17th century but it was used by natives for many earlier generations. There have been several recorded purposes that Native Americans played lacrosse. Staats commented his understanding on the purpose of the game, "it was called the little brother of war in order to settle wars between tribes." Sometimes those games would go on for days or even weeks.
Lacrosse was also heralded as a "healing game." Staats says no matter how a person is feeling, "the game heals through the excitement and positive energy."
Staats celebrates that he was born with a stick in his hands. Lacrosse has been "passed down from generation to generation." Everyone he knows played the sport including his father and grandfather, and presumably their fathers and grandfathers.
Growing up, Staats said everywhere you go in Six Nations you see people shooting around, playing catch, or having a backyard game. He called the love for the sport in his community "really special."
After growing up on Six Nations, and two years at Onondaga Community College, Staats went on to star at Syracuse University. He was a Tewaaraton Award nominee his junior year, and a USILA All-American honorable mention during his senior year.
Professionally, Staats has scored 136 points in five pro seasons. He was named an All-Star this year with the Atlanta Blaze.
Staats has also represented the Iroquois National Team for over a decade now. Playing for the Iriqoius's gives Staats an added sense of purpose. He said "I feel like the game is bigger than myself." He added, "It's a big deal to represent the entirety of indiginous people in both the United States and Canada."
Staats is grateful for all that the sport has provided him. Almost reminiscing on his career, he said, "I cherish all that this game has given me. I probably wouldn't have the friendships or been to the places I have been if it weren't for lacrosse."
Everytime Staats takes the field he remembers just "how lucky I am to be Native American and how much of an honor it is to represent my people."
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Major League Lacrosse Stories from November 6, 2019
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