This past 2014 NCAA lacrosse season was subject to some major changes. Realignments and plans of future for conferences, Duke 3-peating, and, of course, Miles, Lyle and Ty Thompson.
The Thompsons all attended University of Albany to play lacrosse but there was more behind their reasons. Throughout NCAA history, all the “good native American players” were picked up by Syracuse University, or in other terms, “bought out.” When the two brothers and cousin were targeted by SU and U.Albany, amongst a few others, they chose to defy historical odds and not play for the Orange.
All three attracted major attention with their fluid, natural styles of play. However, Miles seemed to somehow shine above/beyond the other two, and not just statistically.
Miles Thompson somehow recaptured the Native spirit of the game.
For a short while, it looked as though lacrosse was heading in a systemic direction like American football, where all plays and formations were planned out and broken down to a science. Opponents were learning personal habits and team transitions to top each other. Lacrosse is not inherently natured that way and is meant to ebb and flow just like the environment “The Creator” constructed.
While Lyle and Ty Thompson brought the offensive pressure to defenses, it was Miles who consistently threw them off their guard.
Here are the natural game aspects I saw return to lacrosse from Miles T:
Communication: Miles started the season by silently and natively communicating with his family members. Eventually, the rest of the team learned enough to jump on with him. Whereas defenders are used to recognizing certain calls or names, Miles communicated through his game, especially his passing. Defenders were put on their heels with surprises.
Shot Opportunities: #4 found fantastic shot opportunities by applying a forgotten pressure. Defenders get used to pushing attack men away from the cage because the offender usually gives way for the open space.
Personal Flow: Miles kept the pressure by showing off supreme stick control and skillage, making opposing defensemen short of judgements on how to approach him. His body language and crosse movement wouldn’t precisely gesture toward a pass, shot, or dodge. He exemplified a cultural flow that isn’t learned or even inherited. It’s a hybrid of the two plus heritage. Lyle and Ty weren’t short of it either, each displaying their warrior-like natures whenever they stepped on the field.
Playing for the Creator: Most opponents played to win and sometimes that worked. U.Albany, specifically the Thompsons, believed in a greater cause: The Creator. Whenever there’s a greater cause, a greater effort is applied. The Creator could care less about who won as long as the level of play was to his appeasement.
While NCAA lacrosse forever evolves (such as with face off rules every-freaking-YEAR!) Miles and the Thompsons brought the medicine roots back to public attention. That amplified the growth of lacrosse exponentially, along with the FIL World Championships in Denver.
Thank you, Thompson family, for bringing lacrosse back together with its heritage.