ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The “Thompson” name is synonymous with lacrosse in the Capital Region. The sport has given so much to Lyle, Miles, Jeremy, and Jerome “Hiana” Thompson, and the four brothers are doing their part to return the favor, creating the 4 The Future Foundation with a simple mission.
“We go travel kinda all over the world, and try to give back,” said Hiana Thompson, who’s currently a forward for the Albany FireWolves of the National Lacrosse League. “(We) give sticks, give nets, give balls to all these underserved communities that just want to play the game, and, unfortunately, maybe don’t have the funds to buy a stick, or get into a league.”
A few years out of college, the Thompsons had a lucrative business—being paid to come and hold camps nationwide. But one experience on their journey led them to embark on a different path.
“We happened to just hit a couple areas in Denver, Montana…Cherokee…that didn’t…they didn’t have the funds to pay us to be there,” said Lyle Thompson, who is the all-time leading scorer in University at Albany men’s lacrosse history, and currently a forward for the Georgia Swarm of the NLL. “And we felt guilty taking that. I don’t play lacrosse to make money. I just want to affect people in a positive way. We just want to grow the game in those areas, and that’s all they wanted too. They wanted to be able to understand…a game that their ancestors once played.”
And what’s a great way to grow the game? Spark the interest of the future generation.
“We just wanna see people playing this game, and growing it from the grassroots, which is the younger generations,” said Hiana Thompson. “(That’s) where it all started for me. I fell in love with this game at a young age, and hopefully we can put a stick in one kid’s hand, who can fall in love like I did.”
The 4 The Future Foundation hosted a free clinic at UAlbany’s Fallon Field last Saturday, sponsored by CityLax. The Thompsons hope their guidance during these events ranges beyond the field.
“Teaching them the skills of the game is important,” said Lyle Thompson. “But more importantly, allowing them to understand the cultural significance, and the values that come along with playing this game is what I hope stays with them even more.”