Thompson brothers headed to Lake Forest for lacrosse camp

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Every few years, at least according to Lake Forest Lacrosse Association president Marc Thiergart, there are heroes of the lacrosse world who ignite greater interest in the sport.

This year, it’s the four Thompson brothers — Jeremy, Jerome, Miles and Lyle — members of the Onondaga Nation of the Iroquois Confederacy known for their creative style of play and long, dark braids.

“Right now, these guys are the guys,” Thiergart said.

The Lake Forest Lacrosse Association, a youth organization for players from kindergarten through eighth grade, is hosting the four Thompson brothers in Lake Forest for two youth lacrosse clinics Sept. 20. At least 100 children are expected to attend the clinics.

A youth session for third- through eighth-graders will be held from 10 a.m.-1 p.m., and a high school session will be offered from 4-7 p.m. Both clinics will take place at Townline Community Park in Lake Forest.

The brothers also will sign autographs from 2-3:30 p.m. at The LAX Shop in Bannockburn.

Lacrosse is primarily an East coast sport, Thiergart said, “so when you get anybody to come to the Midwest, it’s kind of a big deal.”

The Onondaga Nation is based just south of Syracuse, New York. All four Thompson brothers have played with the Iroquois Nationals team, and Jeremy and Jerome Thompson now play professional lacrosse. Miles Thompson graduated from University at Albany-SUNY this past spring, was drafted into Major League Lacrosse in January and is set to be drafted by the National Lacrosse League later this month; Lyle Thompson is now a senior at Albany.

After breaking college records this past spring, Miles and Lyle Thompson, known for making shots through their legs and behind their back, were co-awarded the Tewaraaton Trophy, the lacrosse equivalent of the Heisman Trophy. They both broke the NCAA single-season points record.

Lacrosse is a major part of the Iroquois culture and is passed down through generations, Jerome Thompson said. At birth, boys are given wooden sticks for lacrosse and they grow up playing the game.

“It’s much more than a game. It’s more like a way of life,” he said.

Jerome Thompson said the Iroquois, who are credited with helping invent lacrosse, believe the game was given to them by their creator. Known as the medicine game, it is believed to have pitted winged animals against ground animals. Each animal had specific traits while playing the game, and Jerome Thompson said the Iroquois are told the game shows players their strengths.

Jerome Thompson is quick like a hawk, while brother Miles Thompson — smart and strong — identifies with a bear.

“We believe the game will show you your strengths,” Jerome Thompson said.

The brothers’ style of play is creative and quick, Jerome and Miles Thompson said.

“That’s the exact type we play back home,” Jerome Thompson said.

“It’s basically our goal with Thompson Brothers Lacrosse, to bring the game back to its original form,” Jerome Thompson said. “We feel we canhave an impact on the game and instill those values.”

At the beginning of a clinic, Miles Thompson said the brothers share the history of the game, where lacrosse came from, and their thoughts on staying away from drugs and alcohol.

Their message to young lacrosse players: “Choose a path that is going to make you better,” Miles Thompson said.

Miles Thompson said the brothers have held clinics in California, Florida, New Jersey, Maryland and Utah, with the hope that their style of play will gain followers. Parents of children who attend the camps have thanked the Thompsons for making the game more entertaining.

“Lacrosse is looked at a lot different now because it’s more exciting and we brought that excitement back to the game,” Miles Thompson said. “We want to grow the game the way we feel it should be played.”

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