Sports without Boundaries. This Spring, Hampton will be the first HBCU to compete in Lacrosse for over 30 years (Morgan State) and by doing so it will make history as the first to enter Division 1 competition. Looking beyond the obvious impact of creating new opportunities for African Americans, it has one of the most amazing backstories ever and goes to show what happens when you dream BIG.
During a pretty typical ESPN afternoon, news spread on the ticker that Hampton will become the first historically black university to play Division I Lacrosse and immediately an indescribable sense of joy filled the room. In a plan that started off as just giving black students an opportunity to compete on a Varsity level has turned into modern day Black History.
Their current coach Lloyd Carter was a member of that historic first African American Lacrosse program at Morgan State, which dissolved in 1981 due to lack of funding. That love of the game and purpose driven intent caused Carter to continue his work of introducing Lacrosse to his community by coaching as well as founding Black Lax in 2013.
“When Morgan dissolved its program, I always wanted to do something to give other people, especially African-Americans, the opportunity to play at the collegiate level,” Carter says. “That’s why we started the inner city program Black Lax and we started the Morgan State club team. I just felt compelled to do that because I had that growing up.”
Jim Brown, whose birthday we just celebrated on the 17th, happens to be the only African American player inducted to the U.S. Lacrosse Hall of Fame and is said to be just as good of a Lacrosse player as he was a running back. It’s not exactly one of those sports you expect to see blacks getting involved in but that’s exactly what makes this moment so incredible. Before Tiger Woods, blacks only referred to golf and country clubs in jokes about places we weren’t welcomed. Before Arthur Ashe, or Venus and Serena Williams you would be hard pressed to find any cultural interest in Tennis right?
Fast forward to 2016, Duke’s Myles Jones is the top preseason player of the year candidate as an African American, throw in this inaugural season at Hampton and you start to realize how big of a moment it really is.
Best of luck to Hampton University and we wish you the very best this year!