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Reid Bowering Says Origins of Lacrosse Give Him Deeper Appreciation of the Sport

Vancouver Warriors’ defender Reid Bowering has a passion for lacrosse and over the last couple of years, he has expanded his knowledge about the history of the game. 

Bowering leads the Warriors’ Stick to School program and has gained a deeper appreciation for the sport because of it. 

The Stick to School program teaches students about the history of lacrosse, the Indigenous roots of the game and how to play. Over the past year, the Warriors have visited 80 schools and Bowering is honoured to share some of what he’s learned with children across the Lower Mainland. 

Before he led the program, he didn’t know the intricacies of how the sport came to be and why the sport has been played for over a thousand years.  

“I knew it was the Creator’s game and it has Indigenous roots, but I didn’t fully grasp it to be honest. Even just how the sport started, how playing signified a celebration and the fact that they played on big, open fields miles long – I didn’t fully understand that,” Bowering said. 

He says researching and learning has been a humbling experience. He feels the best thing he can do is continue to educate himself, pass on what he’s learned and encourage others to do the same. 

The Coquitlam product says Indigenous month is another opportunity to highlight the rich history of the first North American team sport and Canada’s national summer sport. 

“I started learning more about it myself through the Stick to School program and it’s been eye-opening. I think it’s pretty cool to pass that on and I think it’s important to pay our respects to the Indigenous community. The Warriors organization, myself included, we all love lacrosse so much and it’s done so much for us, the least we can do to show acknowledgement to who created this game and who we are thankful to for doing this years ago,” he said. 

History shows there were variations of the game from band to band and the sport was played for different reasons, but the main purpose was to honour the Creator.  

Lacrosse is also known as the medicine game, which resonates with Bowering who was a multi-sport athlete growing up.  

“They played in terms of celebrating or coming to a solution to a problem between communities, which is so different compared to how it’s played now. It’s played to win or for fun, but the meaning of lacrosse extends far beyond the game and competition.” 

“I think it’s special to have that in a sport and I think that’s a great testament to lacrosse as a whole because you just feel amazing after you play it. Having a deeper meaning is something special and I definitely feel it when I play lacrosse,” Bowering said. 

In some tribes, when a Chief names a boy at birth, the child is given a traditional wooden lacrosse stick on their cradleboard as a symbol they’ll use throughout their life. They honour the life of the tree from which the stick came using it for healing through the game itself and helping others along the way and then are buried with a stick when they die. 

The history has had an impact on Bowering and has also learned how much lacrosse is part of some Indigenous cultures from birth to death, understanding that the game is much bigger than wins and losses.  

Bowering is invested in learning more about the history of the sport and is committed to honouring and sharing the origins of the game.

Vancouver Warriors