Marina White, manager of the British Columbia U19 men’s lacrosse team, has been involved in the sport for 31 years. This is her third time at the North American #Indigenous Games. (Rhiannon Johnson/CBC) Marina White, team manager with the British Columbia under-19 men’s lacrosse team, didn’t come to the North American Indigenous Games to support only one of the kids — for her, they’re all her kids.
"Lacrosse is like family," she said, sitting in the front row beside Team B.C.’s bench.
The air was thick and humid inside Gaylord Powless Arena on Monday afternoon as the U19 men’s teams from British Columbia and the Eastern Door and the North squared off in their first match of the games.
B.C. won in overtime with a final score of 11-8.
This is the third NAIG that White has attended. She always comes for lacrosse, the sport that runs deep through her family, who are Cosailish from Snumeymuxw on Vancouver Island.
"Lacrosse is in our blood. I have two uncles who both won Mann Cup championships," she said, referring to the national senior amateur lacrosse trophy.
One of her grandsons tried out for the team this year and he didn’t make it, so she said she thought to herself, "I’ll try out then," and she got the role of team manager.
It’s an opportunity that has afforded her the ability to travel with the team and support them, as a way of giving back and supporting the sport and the youth. A goalie with Team B.C.’s U19 lacrosse team looks down the rink as his teammates face the team from Eastern Door and the North in the second period of Monday’s game. (Rhiannon Johnson/CBC) ‘Keeps his spirit alive’
But there’s another reason why she supports the team and loves the sport so much.
"My late son was a fantastic lacrosse player. I love the sport and wanted to be a part of it," she said.
"It keeps his spirit alive and keeps the kids grounded. Playing sports teaches them determination and to follow their dreams."
White has been involved in lacrosse directly for 31 years. She started after her son, Blake, took up the sport when he was nine years old. She has been volunteering with the lacrosse teams in her community of Nanaimo, B.C., ever since.
Blake died by #suicide in 1997. No one saw it coming, White said.
She has three other children and 14 grandchildren who have helped with the healing, and many of them also play lacrosse like Blake did, she said. Supporting each other
Meanwhile, a number of team members from B.C. are from communities that have been or are now are facing evacuation orders because of the wildfire spreading through the province’s interior.
White said the team helps cheer them on and offers support to teammates whose family members couldn’t be at the games in Toronto with them.One of her favourite moments at NAIG so far has been seeing the B.C. U19 female and U19 male teams bonding and supporting each other.This is the first NAIG in which there has been a lacrosse category for girls to compete in.Ainsley Allan, who is representing B.C. on the U19 women’s team, is White’s niece. She said seeing all of Team B.C. sitting together at the NAIG opening ceremonies was a special moment, and seeing so many young people fill the Aviva Centre for the event was really inspiring. Some of the lacrosse games at the North American Indigenous Games are being played at Gaylord Powless Arena, named after the famed #Mohawk lacrosse player who was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame this year. (Rhiannon Johnson/CBC) White said a speech […]
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