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The Lax Bro, What Does it Mean? Is It Good For The Game?

We all know that becoming a Lacrosse player automatically labels you as what we know as a Lax Bro, or Laxer. I'm only here to discuss what that means, and how it has, and will benefit for the game growing.

Now I come from a school where the game of lacrosse is not respected at all due to the actions of upper class men in recent years leaving this vicious stereotype, for kids coming in, that all lacrosse players are drunks, smoke and engage in other other socially unacceptable activities. This got me thinking. Why does it have to be this way? And how did it happen? So, I looked at all of those irresponsible players and saw the often referred to themselves as "LaxBros", dressed themselves like one (In the classic pinnie, crazy shorts and midcalfs). Now don't get me wrong, I like dressing like that too. The real problem is how they carry themselves, acting disrespectful to others, applying no effort in the class room, and like I said, drinking, smoking, ect. This is when I got down the real question: What does it mean to be a Laxbro?

I had a coach from my summer club team explain to us once how back before lacrosse became popular, back when you really only played it if your family already did or you maybe live in a hotspot, one (of the several) factors that began to "grow the game", was the laxbro. How? It began to modernize the game, in the past it was a bunch of guys running around with sticks, but now people can begin to join the game because of the possibility of "picking up the ladies", walking around with a sleeveless shirt and everything else. It became to look good which encouraged people to play. Thats how I believe it started.

Let's fast forward to today. I think the laxbro has gone too far, I look around, my school, the area, and (it's 2013 people we all do) the internet, twitter, Instagram, ect. I see one of the most notorious "Laxbros" on my club team telling tales of him stealing his parents car at 5AM before he has as much of a permit. Online, often those with "Laxbro" in their username I don't even bother looking at because in the past, those people don't ever do things I'd like to see a member of the lacrosse community doing. My other teammate from my school team is your classic Laxbro and he isn't worried about school, he is lucky to make merit roll, whereas some of my best friends and teammates that will agree with me, are responsible, and make honor roll no problem. Am i saying there are no exceptions, that if you are a laxbro you automatically don't do well in school? No. What is important is how you carry yourself. These two individuals do not carry themselves well at all.

Everyone knows the origins of lacrosse, it was war, and it was religion, in its beginnings. Those that played Lacrosse for their tribes were among the most respected around. We should not change that. Lacrosse shouldn't be all about the ladies, and the glamorous lifestyle, It needs to be about having fun and carrying yourself with respect, for others, the game, and for yourself.

At the end of it, I did put this post in the "Grow The Game" category meaning we can't forget the game does need to remain appealing for others in order to grow, so not every single last drop of the glamor can be exiled from the meaning of the Laxbro, just become more subtle. This is why i believe what it means to be laxbro needs to be changed, not gotten rid of. It needs to be less, swag, and disrespect, and more responsible, respectful and hard working, without the good times being cussed out. What I ask of you, the Lacrosse Community, is to go and change the meaning of "Laxbro", go carry yourself well, and strive to become a team leader and set an example for others to pass on to the school, to siblings and anyone else encountered in life, change the mandatory label awarded to a lacrosse player, from bad, to good!
Kevin Rowenspanishsprings52198bg0313jackb2016Jeremmy


  • Ryan MulvaneyRyan Mulvaney Supreme Overlord Caldwell, ID
    I despise the term "Laxbro". It's connected to the term "Bro," which will always have a negative meaning to people. The "Laxbro" is seen as nothing but a "Bro" that plays lacrosse. I don't think changing the meaning will help grow the game. There is already so much negativity associated with it that it will take quite some time for any differences to be made. I carry myself in a professional manner on and off the field because I know how important it is to keep a positive light on the sport and the community. All the kids I coach and teach the game to know that lacrosse is a gentleman's sport. They are told to act like upstanding citizens wherever they go because it will get them farther than acting like some punk kid. We should be known as lacrosse players, because that is what we are. I'm far from being a "Bro" and would never want to be associated in any way with that term. I don't stand behind the term "Laxbro" nor will I advocate it's use within our community. I agree that players should be responsible, respectful, and hardworking, but that term needs to go.
  • Kevin RowenKevin Rowen LAS Editorial Intern SoCal
    This is a great post @manlyman1417. I think you'd be interested to see my take on a related issue that I wrote about earlier this summer in "It's What You Do, Not What You Wear."
  • This is a bit of a chicken-or-the-egg debate, but I think a bigger problem than the lax bro image is our sport's outsized party culture. The great Peter Lasagna wrote a couple very enlightening columns on this topic a year or so back:

    For objectivity's sake, I do remember a podcast interview he gave a number of years ago that was slightly more lenient on alcohol in our sport. The transcript appears to be lost somewhere at IL, but the quote I remember vividly was (paraphrasing):

    "...a lot of our sport's greatest games were played by guys who went out pretty hard the night before, and I think people see a certain pride in that."

    Of course, that quote came before the eye-opening drug use report that his two columns above discuss, so he's clearly taken a firmer stance on this issue recently.

    Ultimately I don't think crazy shorts and pinnies matter that much compared to this much larger problem.
  • In my community the "laxbro" and us other players run into conflict every now and then. It seems to me that as much as we responsible players are growing the game they are destroying it. Many people at my school would not even consider playing on our team because they simply hate the people we refer to as laxbros. The general public sees lacrosse and think one of two things
    1 "ohh you play lacrosse cool"
    2"ohh you play lacrosse great here comes trouble "
    Lacrosse will only grow if we let it in the meantime keep lax'in
  • As a parent of a up and coming "Lax Bro" I believe the best thing a parent can do is associate your child with a quality program that represents the values and integrity that you want instilled in your child. I know that for my sons box, and field organizations how you carry yourself off the field counts as much as you carry yourself on the field. Both programs actively discuss representing yourself the best way possible, be it at school, or at home, and of course sportsmanship on the field.
  • oglaxrat27oglaxrat27 Turners Falls, MA
    edited September 2013
    I remember being labeled and called a "lax bro" almost 20 years ago when I was in high school. It wasn't about neons and calf socks, we wore our pinnies, but with khaki shorts and flip-flops/barefeet. None of it was ever about getting noticed or drawing attention that way. We garnered our attention the same way a running back carries a football at all times. We carried our sticks. Playing the sport was a bigger deal to us because our schools weren't big enough for a team so we played club ball in high school. Being a lax bro then meant we played by a slightly different set of rules, no high school athletic association rules, but it made it harder for us to get out of class early for away games. But we garnered respect. Lax bro wasn't looked down upon as it is today and I'm ashamed of it. We were proud back then to be lax bros because there were so few of us and many of us gave up other sports we were good at to play lacrosse year round because we loved the game. People noticed that and respected our drive and our love for not only the game, but eachother and the tradition of the game.

    I won't kid myself or any of you that as e got older, we didn't go harder than most when it came to extracurriculars. But in a sport such as ours, dominated by not just alpha males, but exceptional athletes, the tendency to go hard and still be able to bounce back in the morning creates a name for itself. No other sport in our high school was waking up at the crack of dawn to drive two hours to a game or tourney on a Saturday morning. I think the "lax bro" name has followed "frat" in the line of once exceptional and ideal gentlemen to poseurs wanting to live the life, be associated and ruining the name for those who take the sport seriously. As I coach at the youth level now, I stress the importance of the history and the traditions of the sport, the endless opportunities it presents for friendship, travel and education, and I try to leave every kid wanting to be a better person through the game and not to get carried away as we've seen happen. Don't just take it from me, take it from UMASS alumni and current Boston Cannon Will Manny (see clip below), when asked about the "look" of a lax bro, he just wants to look clean and good. When you've got the skills to be one of the best, you don't need the neon for name and fame, let the wand and the play speak for themselves.

    As a father of little girl who has shown an interest in lacrosse, I hope and pray if a "lax bro" someday tries to date her and exhibits any sort of douchebaggery, I hope he's prepared for a game of one on one in the backyard. Who needs a shotgun when you've got an old school Warrior Titan D shaft?? But i will be proud of her choice if she picks a true, old-school style Lax bro that is respectful to her, others and the game.

    Post edited by oglaxrat27 on
    bg0313Ryan Mulvaneymanlyman1417dybarra17
  • jackb2016jackb2016 Milford, Ma
    I personally hate the Laxbro steryotype. It really hurts people's perspective of the game, why it's played, and the people who play it. My high school has only been a varsity program for five years. In those five years they have made playoffs twice and sent nine kids to college. But as a result of just a few of the "bros" who have come through the school people overlook te hard work everyone has put in to get the team where it is and often treat it like a joke even though it is one of the best teams in the school at the moment
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