Ladd Hamrick ’13 was kind enough to wear a jersey with his name printed on it to our Sunday afternoon interview in the Eco Café. This was fortunate, since I wasn’t entirely sure who he was. Although I’d perused pictures he’d posted online beforehand, I realized that I hadn’t paid enough attention to what he looked like. The other subjects of his photos must’ve stolen the spotlight.
Confession: I totally stalked your Facebook, and I have to put this out in the open. Roughly 80 percent of your profile pictures contain one or more fish.
[Laughs]. I love fishing! I have three brothers, and none of them are very responsible with things like cameras. So I usually end up taking all the pictures. It’s a rare occasion that someone actually takes a picture of me with a fish. I’m very proud when they do, so I have all of them up on my Facebook.
This begs the classic question: What’s the biggest fish you ever caught?
After we graduated, we did a big trip to Guatemala. I caught a sailfish that was a little under 10 feet long and 150 pounds.
Are you serious?! How did you reel it onto your boat?
It was a like a 45-foot boat. But I probably fought [the fish] for 10 or 15 minutes.
This reeks of The Old Man and the Sea.
That’s a great book! But we wanted to keep the fish healthy, so we brought it up on the boat just long enough to take a measurement and a quick picture and then let it go.
Do you name your catches?
No. Sometimes I kiss the fish.
[Laughs]. I’m gonna get so much crap for this. But I used to watch fishing shows growing up, and one of the fishermen always used to kiss fish! I was like, “That’s pretty cool. I’m gonna do that.” There was a while when I kissed pretty much every fish I caught.
Why do so many “One in 2000” subjects love locking lips with animals? Anyway, were hunting and fishing popular where you grew up?
Not where I grew up, but where my dad grew up in rural North Carolina, they were popular sports. I never got into hunting because I didn’t like to kill animals. But I felt there was more skill involved in fishing.
Do you call yourself a country boy?
I wish! I’m from Charlotte, which is a pretty big city. But my grandparents live in this small town that’s famous for two things: NASCAR and tobacco. I do have a Toyota Tacoma pickup truck that I drive around.
I drive a pickup at home, too! Don’t you feel like there’s difference between truck drivers and other motorists?
It’s definitely a personality thing. Pickup trucks are practical, down-to-earth. Imposing on the road.
And now for something completely different, is it true that you go to one lecture every week?
That’s my goal. This year, I went to the money and power talk, the Israeli-Palestinian divide talk and You Are Not Alone. My friends and I come away from each lecture and talk about it – what we liked, what we didn’t like, whose argument we agreed with.
That’s really admirable. Kudos. What’s the best lecture you’ve heard during your time here?
Ambassador Wilcox came last spring to talk about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I thought his explanation and solution for the future was really impressive. I wish that more people would listen to him. He talked about how the U.S. should have an alliance and a relationship with Israel, but that we should tell them what’s in their best interest: a Palestinian state.
How do you make time for talks?
It’s tough! But think about how much time you waste on Facebook. If you spend five minutes here, five minutes there, that adds up to 45 minutes over a few days. Well, if I take 45 minutes to go to a lecture and just don’t go on Facebook, it evens out.
That’s brilliant! Who accompanies you to these lectures?
Well, I live with guys from the football team, including my brother. We have very different interests, so we drag each other to different lectures.
How would you describe thesefriends you’ve mentioned?
The guys that I live with? Smart. Which is good and bad, because they’re tough to argue with. Loud. Funny. My whole class of football friends? I’d add goofy and different.
Tell me about your brother [Hill Hamrick ’13]. You guys are twins, right? How did you both end up here?
We wanted to go to different schools, but we both ended up really liking Williams. My parents call us a married couple. We have the same interests but different personalities.
What do you mean?
He’s gonna get mad at me for saying this, but he doesn’t like to keep our truck clean! I try and focus on being more organized and clean; he’s more focused on what he’s doing in the moment. A lot of twins have a dependence on each other. We enjoy being together, but we’re more like close friends.
I heard you’re into community service. Can you tell me about it?
I’m on the Student Athlete Advisory Committee. I kind of act as the football liaison for that. We did two weekends of helping Habitat for Humanity. They needed some big guys to come in there and use the jackhammer. And when the hurricane came through right when preseason started, we went to The Spruces to help inspectors clean up. I feel like the Williams College campus is a bubble, so it’s good to engage with the surrounding area.
Absolutely. The purple bubble seems so impenetrable sometimes. But it’s so nice to get to know people who aren’t students or faculty.
And that’s even as simple as talking to staff that work in your building. They’re great people!
Are you buddy-buddy with anyone on the staff?
I lived in Hubbell last year, and my two custodians were Chet and Don. It was pretty neat because we’re both into sports, so they came to football games. Chet took pictures and sent them to us. He placed second in an ice-fishing tournament last year! And Jason at Driscoll is a big NASCAR fan, so we always talk about the race and his favorite drivers. He’s a cool guy.
Oh, I’m glad you brought that up. Is it true that NASCAR is the most watched sport in America?
I think it’s the number two sport behind football.
But is it actually a sport?
Whoa. This might get a little heated.
Oooh, okay. Here’s your opportunity to state your case before a student body that may or may not view NASCAR as a backcountry cult obsession for people with mullets. How is it a sport?
Think about the reflexes they have to have and the pressure they’re under! Think of how stressful it is to be going 80 miles an hour on a freeway in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Now imagine how stressful it is on a racetrack, going 200 miles an hour and actually touching the car in front of you!
You don’t see bungee jumpers proclaiming their athleticism. Some would say that’s stressful.
But look at the science of it and think of the force that you have to withstand. It’s three Gs of force at every turn! You’ve gotta maintain focus every second!
Fair enough. Do you ever drag race?
Nah. I’m a pretty passive driver.
Silly of me to ask. You don’t see many pickup trucks in the Indy 500.