The date was February 13, 2016, and it was a little after 12pm. I remember that day because it was the day that I turned on the television and saw the first Historically Black College (HBCU) men’s division 1 lacrosse team being introduced to the college sports world. I was so excited to see this happen and also excited for these young men stepping onto the field with pride to represent Hampton University, ready to make history. An HBCU lacrosse team competing at the D1 level is a huge deal because it shows how much the game has grown in today's culture.
Every individual involved with Hampton Lacrosse is a trailblazer. This new program is in its beginning stages and has the potential to become great. Who knows what this can lead to, maybe the other HBCU’s such as Howard, Morgan State, or Morehouse will eventually have teams of their own at the D1 level. With the right plan and dedication, ideas can become reality.
Team Captain and Midfielder, Darrel Kidd from White Plains, NY, has been playing lacrosse since he was a junior in high school. He really got into the game, but unfortunately after his final season in senior year he felt that he’d never again get to play this game that he had grown to love so much. Luckily for Kidd, Hampton had club lacrosse. The club was made up of student athletes from all over the country that happened to be going to Hampton at the time and just wanted an opportunity to continue playing the game. The news of becoming a Division 1 program filled the campus with excitement. It was the start of something new. For these players along with future Hampton lacrosse players, this is an opportunity to show the country that HBCU’s can indeed have lacrosse teams at a very competitive level.
Coach Lloyd Carter and the team were trying very hard to not get caught up in the hype of playing on television. Before the first game, the team was in the locker room more so focused on the game rather than the media attention that they were recieving. They wanted to perform well, they didn’t want anything to be too distracting. They understood exactly what was going on that day but they also knew that they had to go out and play the game. It was that simple. They had to play the game and while doing that, they were showing the world that HBCU lacrosse is real and on the rise.
As for recruiting, Hampton has big plans. In order to really compete, they will need the right players to join the roster. The new program has already been meeting with recruits from all over the country. Recruits that have a lot of promising talent, ready to just go to work, and that will truly push the program in the right direction. So with time, we will see the progression of Hampton University Men's Lacrosse.
"We got a lot of recruits, a lot of people want to play for Hampton. So they are seeing the potential that we have. I'd say down the road, we could probably look at ourselves competing with high level D1 NCAA schools and possibly making the tournament." - Attackman, Kendell James
When I got the chance to meet Darrel and Kendell, I really felt their passion. These two athletes as well as their teammates are a part of something special and they know that. With the guidance of Coach Carter, the team works hard day in and day out to not just have a lacrosse program at an HBCU, but to also be respected as a real competitor. Coach Carter is the leader, and he will create a culture and set the standard for Hampton lacrosse. I believe in the leadership at Hampton University and I believe in the great influence that this program will have. I think that we will be hearing more about Hampton lacrosse and HBCU lacrosse in the years to come.
I'm De La True, Peace.