By Nina Zimmerman | Sports Editor
When lacrosse players representing 38 different nations descend on Denver, Colo. next July for the Federation of International Lacrosse’s 2014 World Championship, a former Lord will be among them. Aaron Tracy ’07, a four-year member of the Lords lacrosse team, earned a spot on the Israel Lacrosse Association’s 46-man roster after a six-month tryout process.
Though not an Israeli citizen, Tracy is eligible to play for Israel according to Federation regulations because he has lived in the country for the past three years.
“[It’s the] same rules, same equipment, same intensity and fun, just in a different part of the world,” Tracy said in an online message.
At Kenyon, Tracy’s four years of lacrosse came at a time of transition for the program, according to former Lords’ head coach Brendan McWilliams. The Lords struggled in the first two years, with a 10-19 combined record but bounced back in 2006 and 2007, posting a combined record of 23-6.
“Aaron was kind of a part of the ‘stick-to-it-iveness’ of the guys on the team at that time, that were willing to buy into what I was trying to do with things, which was to continue the success of the program,” McWilliams said.
The Lords made the NCAA tournament in 2006, Tracy’s junior year, and had the rare opportunity to host their first-round game at McBride Field. Kenyon lost to Widener University, but Tracy still counts the game as one of his collegiate highlights.
“Although we lost that game which ended our season that year, it was an experience only few get to [have] during their lacrosse careers,” Tracy said.
Tracy moved to Israel in August of 2011 to attend the Sackler School of Medicine at Tel Aviv University.
“My father actually is a graduate of Sackler School of Medicine, so when I was applying to schools I figured I would send them an application,” Tracy said. “Turns out that it was one of the few schools that I applied to that accepted me, and after having a long talk with my father about the program and his experiences, I figured it would be the best one for me.”
Before relocating to the other side of the world for school, Tracy also tried to find somewhere to keep playing lacrosse. He got in contact with Scott Neiss, who founded Israel Lacrosse in 2010. Neiss told Tracy to bring his equipment with him.
“Once the first meeting and ‘shoot-arounds’ occurred, everything just snowballed from there,” Tracy said. “Shoot-arounds became practices, which turned into scrimmages, which turned into games, which basically puts us [the Israeli national lacrosse team] to where we are now — on an international scale.”
Adjusting to life in Israel presented a series of challenges, from the language barrier to coping with life in one of the globe’s hotspots.
“It took some time, but it was a long road to get to where I am now on the comfort scale,” Tracy said. “What really hit home and made things difficult was the rockets that were fired at Tel Aviv by Hamas last November. Hearing the rocket sirens and having to run to a bomb shelter was a frightening experience the first time I heard them.”
The experience instilled in Tracy a new understanding of Israelis. “That’s when I knew I was amongst a nation of strong people who deal with this all their lives and that I am very proud to represent [them] on an international level,” he said.
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