The Morehouse men took the field at B.T. Harvey Stadium under a blue sky on Saturday afternoon against the University of Alabama at Birmingham. However it wasn’t for football, this was the Morehouse College lacrosse team and despite losing 13-1 to a more established and experience program, have been getting better every day.
“It was a great experience ,” said junior Khadeem Wilson, who also doubles as the club’s vice president. “[UAB] had three or four player that were pretty good. We’re still adjusting.”
Wilson, a Miami native and kinesiology major, has been with the program for nearly three years of its seven year existence, and along with club president Khalif Ali, a senior, are looking to continue the club’s existence and growing popularity.
The Morehouse College lacrosse Instagram and Twitter accounts continue to pick up new followers to what is not exactly an HBCU traditional sport, in particular in the Atlanta University Center. “We have a good amount of players on this year’s team but it’s like their third or fourth game,” says Wilson of the level of experience of some of the Maroon Tigers. It’s going to be hard and there are a lot of things we are working on.”
Having already played three matches thus far this season, the Maroon Tigers are looking to get the word out on campus and off campus in order to continue building the club’s presence and existence. “I think it would be good to support a sport that you don’t see much in our community,” says Wilson who didn’t play lacrosse growing up in Florida. He played football until elementary school before switching to track and swimming in middle school and swimming through high school.
“When I got here I wanted to go where there was an opportunity,” says Wilson of participating in athletics while focussing on his studies. “Traditionally when you think Morehouse you think football, basketball, track and field, but everyone has different talents. Lacrosse is a very physical sport and its dangerous like football but not as dangerous,” laughs Wilson. Ali was in class at the time of this interview and was not available for comment.
Asked why Morehouse College needs a lacrosse club, Wilson said, “I feel it could bring even more diversity to campus. Let’s open up to other things and not keep our minds narrow.”
Lacrosse has been at Morehouse for almost a decade, there has even been Maroon Tigers players that participated in the HBCU All-Star Classic in 2013 at Greene Stadium on the campus of Howard University and also participated in the HBCU lacrosse championships in 2015 against the likes of Hampton, Howard, Morgan State and the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore at Armstrong Stadium in Hampton, Virginia.
The tradition, young as it may be, for lacrosse is here and now all the Maroon Tigers need is more fans in the stands and word of mouth about a thriving program to grow. Well that and some help defending, but that will come with time. “Lacrosse is promoted more in middle class areas,” says Wilson. Think Georgia Swarm, the 2017 National Lacrosse League champions who play their lacrosse at Infinite Energy Arena north of the AUC in Duluth. “There’s no reason it can’t be supported here too,” says Wilson.