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[


FROM THE EDITOR


] Sports and Geopolitics


How human connection offers its own form of diplomacy


their homeland possibly on the brink of war with Russia, the Ukrainian soccer team turned a friendly exhibition against the U.S. into a statement of unity. Ukraine defeated


I


the U.S. 2-0 in a game March 6 that originally was scheduled to be played in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second- largest city, but was moved to Cyprus due to the political unrest stemming from an overthrown president and neighboring Russia’s military advance into Crimea. Players entered to


chants of “Ukraine is one.” Even in a meaningless game, it sent a powerful message to see athletes from a divided country link arms in oneness. In a contained and non- threatening environment, sports trumped geopolitics. It’s frightening


to see tensions rise in Eastern Europe PUBLICATION


Managing Director of Communications Bill Rubacky Director of Communications Brian Logue Editor Matt DaSilva ( @mdasilva15) Assistant Editor Corey McLaughlin ( Art Director Gabriella Ferraro O’Brien Graphic Design Manager Heather Hughes


Staff Writers TJ Buchanan, Lucia Clark, Jac Coyne, Lane Errington, Emily Gibson, Paul Krome, Charlie Obermayer, Paul Ohanian, Bill Tanton


Advertising Sales Keith Scully Chief Photographer Kevin P. Tucker Staff Photographer John Strohsacker LaxMagazine.com Editor Sean Burns ( LaxMagazine.com Asst. Editor Jac Coyne (


while so much remains unresolved in the Middle East. It’s sad to see tribal rifts and poverty linger in Africa. And yet, it’s uplifting to see athletes emerge from troubled regions to share a space with the superpowers. The international friendly in


March was meant to prepare the U.S. for the FIFA World Cup this summer (June 12-July 13) in Brazil. With political, social and economic uncertainty in many parts of the world, the event for some will carry a greater meaning.


8 LACROSSE MAGAZINE April 2014 >>


t should have been a meaningless game. But with


As the World Cup ends in


Brazil, here in the U.S., the FIL World Championship will start July 10 in Denver. Four years ago, the


Iroquois Nationals turned the World Championship into a platform on sovereignty after they were refused entry into England on their Haudenosaunee passports. This summer, all eyes in


the lacrosse world will be on Uganda and its Dream 2014 campaign to become the event’s first African team.


Even in a meaningless game, it sent a powerful


message to see athletes from a divided country link arms in oneness.


Fields of Growth, a lacrosse volunteer corps founded in 2009, has done tremendous work in Uganda, a country wounded by years of civil unrest perpetuated most recently by the Joseph Kony- led Lord’s Resistance Army. Not only has Fields of Growth established a compound in Kampala, but it also has built a school for children of the Kkindu Village in Masaka. And yet, shortly after


Fields of Growth reached its minimum fundraising threshold to send a team to Denver — for visa purposes, it had to produce sufficient evidence it had enough money


to bring the team back to Uganda — President Yoweri Museveni signed an anti- gay bill in late February that strengthened laws against homosexuals, including potential life sentences for “aggravated homosexuality.” In a statement, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called for a repeal of the law that “blatantly violates human rights obligations” and “threatens a dangerous slide backward” for Uganda. It could complicate the relationship between the two countries and, in turn, imperil the Dream 2014 campaign. “We are monitoring


the situation very closely,” said Aimee Dixon, Fields of Growth associate director. “The legislation will have a strong impact on our ground operations in Uganda.” Perhaps this will be just


another obstacle. Maybe we’ll hear “Uganda is one” chants as Otim Ronald — whose father was beaten to death by the LRA, whose malaria- stricken sister drowned after fainting near a stream and whose mother died of AIDS — leads his team on the field at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Then I’ll be reminded of these words from Fields of Growth founder Kevin Dugan, as told to Lacrosse Magazine’s Jac Coyne in September. “Whether it’s a kid coming through a gang-ridden neighborhood in Jamaica, or a former child soldier in Uganda who is now finding community through lacrosse,” Dugan said, “it’s that power of human connection that can be celebrated through sport.” LM


— Matt DaSilva


mdasilva@uslacrosse.org A Publication of US Lacrosse


©JOHN STROHSACKER


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