Chase Charaba, Co-Editor-in-Chief
Lacrosse is said to be the fastest sport on two feet. For student Julian Howard, playing lacrosse has been a lifelong passion.
Howard started playing lacrosse when he was in third grade after receiving his first stick for Christmas.
“You can’t start playing lacrosse until you’re in third grade,” Howard said. “I just played around whenever I could. So, finally when third grade came around, that’s when I was officially about to join the team.”
He started playing for his local club team Maniax Lacrosse before moving to Sea-Town Kings Elite. Howard also has played on West Coast Starz, a Northwest travel team that’s regarded as a top lacrosse team in the United States, for about five years and on Team USA’s U19 box lacrosse team.
Playing lacrosse has made Howard more organized because his activities are based around a tight schedule. On a typical game day, Howard wakes up at about 4:30 a.m. to get ready for practice.
“I’ll get up at around 4:30-5 in the morning to go to our morning practice at 5:45,” Howard said. “We’ll practice until about 7:20 and then we hit the showers. We do a little bit of cardio and stuff like that and we don’t want to wear ourselves out.”
Then he’ll go to classes until it’s time for his team to study film of the team they’re playing against next. After going out for a team dinner, players head to the field to get another practice in or, if they’re playing away, they’ll load the bus and go.
Howard said lacrosse has also strengthened his character because it has given him self-confidence.
“I used to get bullied a lot for always being the smallest and for having a different style than everyone else,” Howard said. “Lacrosse just showed me that if I put effort into something, then I can prove everyone wrong. Now even though I’m the smallest on the field, people know my name and they know what I can do. My skills on the field have given me credibility, and that has given me confidence.”
Some of the people Howard looks up to in lacrosse include Coach Mark, Greg Gurenlian and Alf Jacques.
“My first one would probably be my coach, Coach Mark,” Howard said. “He has really helped me grow as a player. I took clinics with him when I first started playing, and he’s really helped me throughout the sport and getting out there.”
Gurenlian is another inspiration for Howard because he’s considered the best faceoff player in the U.S., which is the position Howard plays in lacrosse. Howard said he watches his videos a lot to learn from him.
Jacques is a member of the Onondaga Nation in New York and he makes traditional wood lacrosse sticks.
“He’s just so connected to the game, man,” Howard said. “Every time you hear him talk about the game, it’s just like you’re hearing about it for the first time. And, he doesn’t refer to it as lacrosse, he refers to it as the medicine man’s game.”
Howard said that’s because Native Americans used to play the game across miles of territory to settle arguments and disputes and the game is said to heal those who play it.
When Howard was in third grade, he made the elite team for third and fourth graders. During a game, the coaches put him in a braveheart, which is a one-on-one match when the game goes into overtime. Teams each send out a player and a goalie, and the winner of the braveheart wins the game for their team.
“They put me in as a new player because they trusted me enough and they thought I was good enough,” Howard said. “I scored the winning goal to win our championship.”
Howard said it meant a lot to him because they usually put only the best and most experienced players in bravehearts.
In addition to playing lacrosse, Howard keeps himself busy with other activities. He started playing violin when he was in third grade and he started playing tenor saxophone in fifth grade, both of which he still plays.
“I only play jazz with saxophone because I absolutely love jazz,” Howard said.
His favorite jazz musician is John Coltrane and his favorite song by Coltrane is Central Park West, which he describes as a mellow tune that he listens to when he needs to lose himself and forget about things for a minute.
“When some people play jazz, they just play the music that they see on the page, but Coltrane, he has this way of expressing himself and he has just this hearty sound that’s just unique and you can pick him out easily in a crowd,” Howard said. “It’s just his own, unique style and I just think that’s just, it’s super gnarly.”
Howard also practices calligraphy because it calms his down when he’s stressed out.
Almost every weekend during the winter, Howard tries to snowboard as much as possible at Crystal and Snoqualmie Passes. Howard also likes to go hiking on local trails such as Mount Peak, Mount Si and Rattlesnake.
“Occasionally me and my buddies or my significant other will go backpacking in Oregon for the weekend or we’ll head up to my buddy’s cabin in Winthrop and backpack some of the local trails there,” Howard said.
As for Howard’s future, he currently has a full-ride to Michigan for lacrosse, but he isn’t sure if he’ll go through with it.
“I kind of want to stay local because I want to go to medical school to be a CRNA, so if I could, I would love to play throughout and college and maybe get into the pros, but that’s going to be really hard,” Howard said. “But, so far, I’m just kind of sticking toward going to medical school.”
He’s thinking about attending University of Washington in Seattle for medical school.
“I’ve always wanted to do something to help others and I’ve always wanted to have a stable career,” Howard said. “There’s never going to be a shortage of people being sick.”
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