CHOCTAW, MS Players from the Tahlequah, Oklahoma-based
Nighthawks stickball team competed July 5-16 in the 2016 World Series
Stickball tournament in Mississippi.
Since 2013, the Nighthawks have competed in tournaments and
games throughout Oklahoma, where only three stickball teams are
based. The teams host tournaments and games at their home fields
and compete coed style.
Foreman, second from left, Waylon Squirrel, No. 19, and Wesley
Proctor, right, scrum for the ball for the Tiak Hikiya stickball
team against Nanih Waiya players on July 8 at the World Series
Stickball in Choctaw, Mississippi. Foreman, Squirrel and Proctor
all play for the Nighthawks stickball team in Tahlequah, Oklahoma.
(photo courtesy of Marcus Thompson)
In Mississippi, the WSS is held annually in July with simultaneous
tournaments for different divisions such as men's, women's, men's
35-and-over, youth (ages 14-17) and Pushmataha (ages 10-13). The
majority of teams come from surrounding communities.
This year some Nighthawks experienced playing in the WSS. Cherokee
Nation citizen Utselvnvhi Foreman played with the Tiak Hikiya men's
team. He said to prepare he had to contend with travel time, be
in good condition and have plenty of practice. He said there was
also a certain amount of focus he had to attain going into his team's
"Butterflies come on, but they go away as soon as the first
ball is thrown up," Foreman said.
Hikiya players, purple jerseys, defend a goal against a
shooter from the Nanih Waiya team on July 8 at a World Series
Stickball game in Choctaw, Mississippi. Several players
from the Tahlequah, Oklahoma-based Nighthawks stickball
team played in the stickball tournament for different teams.
(photo courtesy of Marcus Thompson)
Hikiya, purple jerseys, and Nanih Waiya players vie for the
ball during a toss-up at midfield during a game at the World
Series Stickball in Mississippi. Players from a team in Tahlequah,
Oklahoma, played for teams at the July tournament. (photo
courtesy of Marcus Thompson)
CN citizen Marcus Thompson, who played for the men's 35-and-over
team Toli Ayasha, said the playing style and skill of the Mississippi
Choctaw is at a high level. He said most Choctaw players have been
playing since they were kids and have skills to pick up the ball
quickly and catch it midflight.
United Keetoowah Band citizen Kyle Bark also played for the
Tiak Hikiya team. He said the Choctaw teams were "more focused and
more knowledgeable about the game." He said he did better than expected
and even had the chance to score but became "overzealous" and dropped
the ball. He said he knows what to expect now and expects to play
better next year.
CN citizen B.J. Frogg also competed with the Tiak Hikiya team.
Though playing goalie was not his first choice, he said he "took
one for the team" and did what he had to do.
As defensive captain for the Nighthawks, Frogg said he liked
the way Tiak Hikiya set up its defense and could put it to use.
"I'm probably going to steal their defensive set-up, or borrow it,
and maybe try to apply that to how we play up here (in Oklahoma)
and hopefully, maybe, we can play some better defense up here."
On the women's side, the skills were at a level comparable to
the men. In Mississippi, there are full-fledged women's teams whereas
in Oklahoma, the number of women players is smaller and averages
seven to 10 women per coed team.
CN citizen Samantha Sanders played in her second WSS and said
the Choctaw women are talented and the games are fast-paced so she
felt she had to "step it up a notch."
"When I play with the Lady War Eagles, it's more of a rush because
it's all women. They are tough and rough and expect the same out
of me," Sanders said. "They can get tackled and knocked down and
not take it personal. The ladies always show us a good time and
treat us like family."
Frannie McKay, a Salt River Pima-Maricopa citizen who also played
for the Lady War Eagles, said playing stickball, whether coed or
on all-women teams, is "a lot like living life."
"If you know you're actively going to step on that field, you
have to be prepared for anything," McKay said.
The Lady War Eagles and Tiak Hikiya did not make it past the first
round, while Toli Ayasha made it to semifinals before being eliminated.
"They said if you want to play and call yourself a stickball
player, that's (Mississippi) the place to go play, down in the World
Series," Bark said.
World Series Stickball Team: Nighthawks
|Bok Cito Ohoyo:
|Lady War Eagles:
||Carla Feathers, Frannie McKay, Tresa Eagle
and Samantha Sanders
||Clint Proctor, B.J. Frogg, Dustin Polk, Kyle
Bark, Brian Hummingbird, Waylon Squirrel, Jerome Still, Wes
Proctor, Josh Foreman and Chris Foreman