At the close of my interview, I asked Ed Howard if he ever experienced any racism on the field “I never experienced anything like that,” he says, but on two occasions (one at Adelphi University on Long Island and the other at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania) white opponents called his teammate and fellow Buffalo native Mac Nelson, nigger. “When I heard that, you know I got in there because” I was ready to fight, “I wanted some,” recalls Howard. It’s interesting to me that these incidents did not happen down south when Hobart traveled to North Carolina and Maryland at the start of the spring semester in the mid to late 1970s. No, the incidents happened up north where historically most of us assume white folks are beyond that stuff. What’s also interesting is a story Ed told me about playing in the North South All Star game held at John Hopkins University in Baltimore his senior year. In contrast with the racist slurs Nelson confronted on Northern college campuses, for the first time in his college lacrosse playing career, two boys asked for Ed’s autograph, “Two white kids,” says, Ed. The request “shocked me” remembers Howard years later. Ed never played post-collegiate lacrosse after leaving Hobart, that’s a shame too. “By the end of his career he was spectacular,” says Marc Van Arsdale, Associate Head Men’s Lacrosse Coach at UVA and a former Hobart ball boy in the 1970s. Coach Van adds, “I often thought that if he had continued playing after college he would have been a good bet to be a USA Team Player.” In 2003, Hobart inducted Ed Howard into its Athletic Hall of Fame. His bio for the event reads in part, “A stifling defenseman, . . . Howard was a four-year letter-winner and a member of the College’s first two NCAA Championship teams (1976-77).” The bio goes on to say, “During his career, the Statesmen posted an impressive 49-8 (.860) record, including a 15-0 mark and the Division II/III championship in 1977.” Ed lived in New Jersey where he worked as a senior executive for Chubb Insurance.
My Series on Hobart All American Ed Howard: http://lacrossememoir.blogspot.com/search?q=Ed+Howard