The new culture that has sprouted around lacrosse is being called “lax bro” culture. There are debates questioning the influence this culture can have on the growing sport, and whether those influences are good or bad.
Lacrosse is attracting athletes from all different sports, but especially baseball, football, and hockey. The mindset, training, and strategies are similar to that of hockey. Football players are always looking for a sport similar in aggression to play in the off season, and the conditioning for lacrosse is far greater than football, at least in terms of cardiovascular fitness.
Baseball players who enjoy playing games in the spring, but find their own sport a bit too slow or uneventful are moving over to lacrosse. The sport’s intensity, dynamic style of play, and apparel designing all contribute to a specific culture surrounding lacrosse.
Because of this movement in and across sports lacrosse is the first sport to be truly liberal with uniform designs, allowing manufacturing companies to play around with different color combinations, brightnesses, patterns, etc. Though teams are limited to 3 colors on their uniform (for the referee’s sake of making accurate calls), the colors are usually bright, oddly patterned, and standout in many ways.
Lax bros fully embrace this new culture, wearing the bright colors and funky patterns in combinations with board shorts, a practice pinney or no shirt, and when going out on the town. Ray Ban styled sunglasses, half-calf socks, and boat shoes or flip flops are all expected.
Some wear a lot of hats, but most grow their hair long to a “lettuce” style (this is their ‘flow’). They use vocabulary consisting of, but not limited to: bro, word, gnarly, lax, flow, and stoked. They enjoy “having a lax catch” and “tricking out,” which means doing tricks with a ball and stick. Most of the lingo is influenced by hockey, where players call their sticks “twigs.” In lacrosse, sticks are “spoons.”
Most “lax bros” are “gear heads,” meaning they constantly find ways to spend money on the sport. Many players own multiple spoons; I own three. They understand the different parts of sticks, helmets and other gear, and know where to buy each piece separately to assemble their equipment in a custom fashion. For a stick, they can string their own, which takes time, money, and patience. This provides the sport a strong financial foundation that other sports may not have starting up.
Some negative assumptions of the culture are that the athletes drink tremendous amounts of crappy beer, namely Keystone Light and Natty Ice. It’s also said they “blaze” often, meaning they poke smot (typo intentional). Though many college students party and experiment, not all lacrosse players engage in the same activities. Another negative of this stigma is laziness.
We’re left with a question: Is there truly a lacrosse culture, and does it influence the sport positively or negatively?
Lax bro 1: “Dude, did you just see that chick?!”
Lax bro 2: “Yeah bro she was alright.”
Lax bro 1: “Just alright? Son you need your eyes checked.”
Lax bro 2: “Chill bro, get with the flow. Care to lax?”
Currently, I stand against the laxbro culture. I equate it with baggy jeans or too-tight/small outfits on girls. Here’s why:
1. Jeans and small outfits may be cool socially, but would you where them in the corporate world? No, because businesses will not dare hire someone wearing those clothes. They expect their employees to be professional 100% of the time.
2. This is why professional athletes, high-power corporates, and average workers find it difficult when they’re caught in social scenes looking “unprofessional.” As for the tight outfits, well, we will leave that one alone as I am a guy and don’t need to worry about my attire being too revealing.
My wise father once told me, “There is a time and place for everything.” Obviously, a professional athlete is not expected to wear their uniform(s) or suits to every event possible. However, they are contracted to reflect positively on the values and reputations of their employers. They cannot help being followed by photographers and fans.
As a growing sport, lacrosse must weigh the balance of growth vs personality. High school and college players are not followed as closely off-field as professional athletes. Lacrosse professionals do not seem to be under fire as often as other professional athletes. They must all be willing to pay the sacrifice when the times come, though, and expect the unforeseeable ramifications of their behaviors.
To that, I say better safe than sorry. We all must work to establish a more positive, overall encompassing image of lacrosse. If the sport wishes to continue with its merchandising and uniform designs, then players and followers should make the extra efforts to demonstrate their lack of laziness and abilities that carry off the field, such as endurance, hard-headed mindsets, and quick reactions to game/corporate changes and difficulties.
There are thousands of sport-related characteristics that employers enjoy finding and seeing in their employees; lacrosse is becoming just as any other sport. While other sports are seen as tough-building and maturing, the lazy-laxbro stigma of lacrosse needs to go if those players wish to experience the same warm receptions as other athletes when entering the internationally expanding corporate world.