In The Locker Room with Lacrosse, Football Dual-Sport Athlete Leander Herman

Third-year Leander Herman is a dual-sport athlete on both the lacrosse and football teams who still finds time to participate in ultimate Frisbee on campus. A Computer Science major, he loves playing board games, spending time with friends, and playing ice hockey.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

When did you start playing lacrosse and football?

I started playing lacrosse in probably fifth grade. I went through a lot of sports in my life, but I stuck with lacrosse. People always used to ask me if I played football or basketball because of my height though. You know, maybe that’s what got me to play football now – all the years of people just asking me if I did. I joined the team two weeks ago. I’d been thinking about it since the end of last year and was waiting to talk to the coach. I had never played before, but I have the build for it and I thought it would be fun to try a new sport. It keeps me organized too.

Why did you choose Oberlin to play lacrosse?

I chose Oberlin to play lacrosse because after visiting all the schools I planned to apply for, Oberlin seemed to fit what I wanted academically, and the team had the best community feeling compared to other schools’ teams. I felt that I would be part of a great community right when I got to school.

Are your positions in lacrosse and football different?

Sort of. In football I’m a lineman. Initially I was an offensive lineman, which is a lot like defense in lacrosse. I have recently moved to the defensive line in football, which is a lot like my position in lacrosse as the attacker. So I’d say now it’s a lot more similar because in lacrosse, I’m running at the goal trying to get by a defender, and as a defensive lineman, I’m trying to block a path or get to the quarterback. It’s a similar thing though, and I’m essentially just trying to run through people.

In what ways do the two sports differ?

Lacrosse is a very fast-paced game; you’re always going back and forth offensive- and defensive-wise. With football, there are breaks between each play. There’s always some time to plan the game out, and it’s meticulous planning; there’s a lot of specific plays you have to know. When the coach calls something out, you have to know what he’s talking about. But in lacrosse, we have more of a general flow on how you’re supposed to play. We have certain plays in lacrosse, but usually it’s more in the moment.

Was the football team welcoming when you first joined? How was it similar to when you joined lacrosse?

The football team was very welcoming. Once I joined it, I felt like I was instantly part of the team. It felt a lot like freshman year with lacrosse – how I already had a group of friends that I could do things and socialize with, even under many COVID-19 restrictions which made it hard to meet new people. Both teams are hardworking but are always fun to be around.

Do you play any other sports for fun or do anything else on campus? 

I try to play some ultimate Frisbee here and there. I never really played before college, but I had a lot of family members who played, and I always tossed with them when I was young. The team here practices at the same time as lacrosse so it’s not easy, but I enjoy playing it. And I like playing ice hockey as well; I played ice hockey for almost the same amount of time that I played lacrosse. But it’s hard to do other things with two sports.