Lacross star Lyle Thompson, playing with Major League Lacrosse (Image: MLL)

The Tokyo Olympics offered much of the world a needed reprieve after 18 months of pandemic loss. Now some fans are looking as far ahead as the 2028 summer Games in Los Angeles -- and not just because the coronavirus pandemic will, hopefully, be a bygone era. That year is also the year lacrosse is primed to return to the Olympic field after nearly a century.

Lacrosse is more popular than ever before. From elite US suburbs to college quads to Japan and Uganda, it is quickly blossoming into the fastest growing sport on earth, with 70 nations in its global federation. But its return to the Olympics is also not without controversy: lacrosse’s most important team -- and its best player -- may not be invited to play.

Lyle Thompson is the NCAA’s all-time lacrosse scoring leader. He’s also Iroquois and a member of the Iroquois Nationals -- the only national team belonging to an Indigenous nation. Last August, the Iroquois Nationals were excluded from invitation to the 2022 World Games, a stepping stone to the Olympics -- the latest political snub faced by a team from a once prestigious nation now boxed in by generations of legalese.