Merging my two passions: Israel and lacrosse
My name is Alex Freedman and I am so proud to represent Israel as a member of the Israeli women’s national lacrosse team, especially because Israel has helped to shape my identity for my entire life.
Growing up in the suburbs of Philadelphia, I attended a Jewish preschool followed by religious school leading up to my bat mitzvah. My childhood memories are filled with fundraisers benefiting the Sderot indoor playground, with pictures of Israel, and praying for “Next Year in Jerusalem” at my family’s seder. My first trip to Israel was in the winter of 2008 with my family and other families from my synagogue. This trip ignited my passion for Judaism and my connection to Israel.
I began playing lacrosse in the third grade. I grew up in a lacrosse hotbed — which meant there were many talented and driven players who started playing in the same youth programs I did. I never dreamed about being on Team USA, I just strove to be the best player I could possibly be, and see where that took me.
In January 2013, my dreams took me to a private school in New Jersey on a Sunday night for a tryout with some of the top Jewish lacrosse players living in the US. I can say with confidence that one of the defining moments of my life was actually when I found out I didn’t make the Israeli national team. At that moment, I set my goal to work as hard and as passionately as I could in order to make the next Israeli national team four years later.
And I did. Hearing Hatikva, the national anthem of Israel, played before our first game at the 2017 FIL World Championships is a feeling I will never forget. The fusion of my two passions — lacrosse and Israel — merging together in that one moment was indescribable. The ability to represent Israel, the country and the people I feel so passionately about, while playing lacrosse at the highest level possible for women, was simply incredible.
If it’s even possible, I truly believe that this summer will be even more special. Israel will host the Women’s European Lacrosse Championships this July. Not only will I have the once in a lifetime chance to represent the country I now call home, I will be able to show my players what they are practicing for every week. I will serve as an example for young women and girls in sport. I will show how their hard work will be worth it in the end for that one moment with your arms around your teammates, singing the national anthem, taking in the meaning of each word and everything that had to happen to get you to this moment. I am so lucky to have this opportunity, and I will never take it for granted.