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Vintage News paperI had a Lacrosse stick before a baseball glove and learned to pass and catch with my father pretty much as soon as I was able to walk! My father played in High School, continued at Cornell and for his whole life “Doc” was as dedicated to the sport as one could be. While I never played during High School or college, I could hold my own on various club teams and was a pretty effective youth team and High School coach. Basically we were a Lacrosse Family, and my two brothers John and Paul enjoyed great careers at Syracuse and Cornell and many memorable years of club ball and coaching. Both John and Paul recently passed away within 6 months of each other and while our genetic family was deeply affected, our “Lacrosse Family” proved that the roots of the game are the strongest and deepest of any sport.

Over the years of countless games, miles traveled, losses and wins, I always felt like I was a part of something so much larger than the game itself. I grew up respecting lacrosse not only for its unparalleled excitement and competitive style, but even more so for its tradition and history. As a child, I would often day dream about going back in time 200 years and playing Lacrosse with the Iroquois or Mohicans. Face painted, running all day, doing battle, then celebrating with the opposing tribe. To this day I still dream of doing just that, yet I believe that I have experienced exactly what bond the Indians must have felt with both their team mates and their opponents. The word camaraderie describes a  “feeling of good fellowship”, and while the word may sound cliche’ and over used, I believe the essence of the word lives on the lacrosse field and that the games founders embraced the culture and spirt of the game like no other sport that has evolved today. While Lacrosse has evolved technically, but the spirt of the game is virtually unchanged and I believe that the fabric of the lacrosse community today reflects its past heritage vibrantly.

After the passing of my brothers I witnessed a level of support and compassion that truly brought me to tears. Ex-teammates, coaches and friends of the game covered thousands of collective miles to say their goodbyes, reminisce and console. Their support for  their fallen warriors and my brothers families was unprecedented and beyond the normal call of duty.

Both the Syracuse and Cornell Lacrosse alumni raised an incredible amount of money to assist the families and help insure stability for the future. Unconditional love and compassion was the rule, not the exception. While standing in front of a room filled with my brother Paul’s friends and teammates following a fund raising golf outing, I was preparing to speak to the group and I kept asking myself how and why they all rose to this level of support for a fallen comrade. Was it because he was one of the games greatest goalies? Was it because he was a great person? Yes to both, but it was so much more. His teammates were there because they loved the man like one of their own family members. They were there because they all shared his spirt as a fierce competitor, his spirt for Lacrosse, his spirt for life.

The Native Americans who brought us this hallowed game, believed that the stronger you played the stronger the medicine became. It was good medicine, not bad medicine. It was healing medicine for the mind, body and soul.

My brothers played hard always, and it is their strong medicine that still lives on the fields they played on and in the hearts of all the players they touched. Its the primal thread that runs through the veins of Lacrosse players. Its the DNA that makes us family.

The medicine of Lacrosse is very real and strong indeed.

I am very thankful to all the players, friends and the entire lacrosse family for all of your most generous and thoughtful medicine!  Cheers, Steve Schimoler

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