Friday, September 27, 2013

Race and Our Game

Navy Coach Rick Sowell Leading the Midshipmen, Photo by Phill Hoffman
Fred Opie: The very nature of growing up black in a white suburb in the 70s, 80s and then playing what was then and essentially still is a “white boys” sport in the the 80s and 90s, as my African American friends so often remind me, put me in unusually intimidate spaces with white folks, and sometimes in spaces in which some racist whites folks in our game made it clear I might be seen on the field maybe, but my opinion and critic was not welcome. I remember as a player and as Hank Janzyck’s defensive coordinator at Gettysburg College, on more than one occasion, I would challenge a referee's call in an assertive but respective way, and white officials would turn on me with an intolerance that they frankly did not show toward white players and coaches on my team or the opposing team. For many folk seeing a black lacrosse player or even more so, a coach is as rare as seeing a black member of the U. S. Senate. I wondered if Rick had similar experiences.

Rick Sowell: I think it would be na├»ve to think I didn’t experience racism growing up [and in our game]. Some of it was subtle, some not so subtle, but it pales in comparison to all the positives I’ve been able to take away from being involved with the sport of lacrosse and growing up in this environment. The friendships, competition and travel are all experiences I would not trade for anything. Through lacrosse, I was able to meet my wonderful wife and we now have two wonderful girls, so I have been blessed.

Rick Sowell Stories: http://lacrossememoir.blogspot.com/search?q=Rick+Sowell+

Rick Sowell, Winning Beyond the Game: http://www.americanathletemag.com/ArticleView/tabid/156/ArticleID/142/Winning-Beyond-the-Game.aspx

1 comment:

  1. Rick Sowell is a big inspiration to me. I grew up watching him coach at G'Town and I think he coached at my high school before I moved to DC in '94 (St. Albans). I continue to follow his career til this day!

    Harry A.

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