I am about the furthest thing from a “lax bro,” but I have played lacrosse since I was 8-years-old. Yes, that means I’m currently in my 12th year of lacrosse, and I’m still enjoying it a ton. I was never really good enough to be one of the best players, so at the end of high school I decided I would just play club lacrosse wherever I ended up for college. And that’s what I’m doing at Lehigh.
Lacrosse is one of the fastest growing sports in the country, especially on the east coast, but still so many people don’t know much about it. The one thing that many people do know though is the term “lax bro.”
In case it’s an unfamiliar term, “lax bro” refers to an attitude and persona that many lacrosse players give off to appear “cool” or “chill.” In fact, a large part of many lacrosse players’ lives is about just looking cool. How new is my stick? Are my gloves sick? Sometimes, your level of coolness is determined by your “tilt,” which is how far forward your helmet tilts when wearing it.
Having long hair is also perceived as really cool in the lacrosse world. Having hair fall out the back of your helmet must mean that you’re good at lacrosse. This is called having “flow.” Some people will spend the whole season growing out their hair to look cooler. Long hair is now even referred to as “lettuce,” such as, “whoa dude, check out that guy’s lettuce, he must be awesome.” I kid you not, these are real things.
I will be the first to admit that I am the total opposite of this “lax bro” persona. I am essentially the anti-lax bro, using a stick that is now five years old, cleats that are four and basically reverse tilt on my helmet. I have almost no idea how to string my own stick. I have a short buzz cut. I know all of this, and it doesn’t matter to me. These types of things shouldn’t matter.
It’s not like this is ever going to change though. Usually the coolest players on the team are the ones that have the newest equipment and appear the most calm, basically pretending to be a surfer dude while playing lacrosse. It’s entertaining to watch people act this, though, because it’s a never-ending session of “keeping up with the Joneses.”
Many lacrosse players spend time memorizing all of the new names of helmets, shafts, heads, gloves and whatever other equipment there is. The companies come up with all kinds of interesting names to entice lacrosse players to buy the newest things when, in reality, it doesn’t really matter. The newest gear doesn’t make a player better, practice does.
Unfortunately for me, it’s the people that act like lax bros that are the coolest players on the team. Those people often tease the ones who don’t act like them, and at some points it can get hurtful. But I have learned to embrace my status as the anti-lax bro.
No, I won’t participate in “suns out, guns out” and go shirtless under my pads during practice when it’s hot. No, I won’t wear only a sleeveless lacrosse pinnie and sunglasses before games. And no, I won’t change the way I talk to be more “lax.”
But I will continue playing lacrosse because it’s a sport I love. I will forever be the opposite of a lax bro, but that’s how I want to be.