Soul of Lacrosse Day feeds the spirit of HLL Laxers, stomachs of Harlem homeless

HARLEM, NEW YORK CITY  -  On the Saturday morning before Thanksgiving, forty Harlem Lacrosse & Leadership middle school players met in the cafeteria at Frederick Douglass Academy for the first annual Soul of Lacrosse Day. They arrived slightly before 9 AM to find seven tables lined with cans of peanut butter, jelly, and nearly a mountain of bread. What followed was a monumental competitive effort by the boys to build over 750 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the homeless, benefitting the soup kitchen at St. Matthew's Baptist Church on 152nd Street and Edgecombe Blvd. The sandwiches helped to feed families over the Thanksgiving Break. [gallery]

Following the sandwich drive, the boys hopped on a downtown train bound for Bowling Green Plaza, where they spent the rest of the afternoon at the Smithsonian National Museum for the American Indian. Thanks in large part to the efforts of the museums volunteers, who spared no personnel to accommodate our group, the boys were able to enjoy the Haudenosaunee Friendship Day. This day celebrated the history of the six allied nations that make up the Iroquois Confederacy. For an hour the boys were given a hands on demonstration of the history and craft behind traditional Iroquois lacrosse sticks, led by renowned Onondaga artisan Alf Jacques. Next they were able to chat with a modern bearer of the Iroquois tradition, a skilled Tomahawk steelworker named Jeffrey Tripp who - with his father and their union - had worked on some of the most well-known buildings across New York. Fred Kennedy, from the Seneca nation, described to the boys the game of snow snake, in which participants launched a spearlike stick down a snow-laden track. At the day's end, boys were given a tour of the Smithsonian Museum and it's major exhibits, all housed within the historical U.S. Customs building in Financial District.