This athlete panel featuring the Thompson brothers is a part of First Voices Week, an annual Indigenous-led series of political, social, academic and cultural events held at Concordia from February 4 to 8. For the full schedule of events, please visit the First Voices Week Concordia's Facebook page.
The Thompsons will be talking about their careers and experiences as Indigenous athletes and role models. They are all professional athletes who play in the National Lacrosse League (NLL). They are also Nike athletes and N7 ambassadors. The brothers grew up in Onondaga where they discovered their passion for lacrosse at very young ages.
"Lacrosse has always been somewhat of a guide that has helped me through my path in life, it has always been here for me in a positive way — my Onogwatra' (medicine).
“There was a time in my life where I found myself steering away from the good path and in the wrong direction, one I never wanted for myself. With the pressures of drugs and alcohol surrounding me in my youth, I struggled. But it was this game — lacrosse — that has always pulled me back to my path.
“Lacrosse is intertwined within our culture as Haudenosaunee peoples. For me, it has helped on a spiritual level that I can only try to explain — it has allowed me to see the bigger picture of life. Lacrosse is my medicine — it is happiness — and I want to be able to share the impact the game has had on my life in hopes to help others to find their medicine."
"I walked into Lafayette Public School in the fourth grade not knowing how to read or write English — it wasn't easy. It wasn't until the seventh grade that I was introduced to field lacrosse within the schooling system. This helped me find a way to look forward to school and I learned that I had to get through my classes to get on the field.
“Jeremy and I knew nothing about college lacrosse until after we won our first state title in ninth grade. We were 15 years old and receiving letters in the mail from some of the top Division 1 lacrosse programs in the country — it was important for our family.
“The pressure was on — I needed to succeed in school to play this game and, although school didn't work out, I never let that stop me from playing professional lacrosse. I've been cut, I've been benched, but I have always stuck around. I want to show our youth that even when the odds are against you, all it takes is a goal and a dream."
“Speed was never my thing — I've never been the fastest guy on the field nor have I been the strongest. Without speed or strength, you're left with one thing — talent. For 18 years of my life, I have played lacrosse based on my talent.
It wasn't until my second year at Albany that it hit me and I realized that the only obstacle I had to overcome was dieting and training — everything else was laid out for me. My brothers paved a path through their experiences — no drugs or alcohol. I was fortunate enough to always have people surround me on that same journey.
“So, I made a decision — I would dedicate my life to living a healthier lifestyle. I started with making better choices in the kitchen, then training at the gym. I dropped 53 pounds by that season and went on to have the best one of my life, followed by an even better year after that. Moving forward, my goal is to pass on what I didn't know and was able to learn throughout my life."
“I was born into this game. My father put a wooden lacrosse stick in my hands the day I was born, and my stick quickly became my best friend — I slept with it and touched it every day regardless of the elements. I was fortunate to grow up surrounded by competitive athletes every time I stepped foot out the back door.
“The opportunity to learn from my older brothers on and off the field has made me who I am today. They were my teammates, competitors and idols. I wanted to be as strong as Jeremy, to be as smooth as Haina and to have the brains of Miles. I worked to make it happen by watching, listening and playing higher divisions.
“Playing at the U19 world lacrosse games was my biggest revelation, I was 15 years old going up against 19-year-old men who had already played a year of Division 1 lacrosse. That was when I knew I wanted to play lacrosse at the highest level.
“Lacrosse has been a vehicle for me. I believe I've been given the opportunity to make a difference and I want to be able to impact others' lives the way my brothers have impacted mine."
Lyle Thompson holds the record for most career points in Division 1 with 400, as well as the most career assists with 225.