Cumbersome - Seven Mary Three (mp3)
Lax Bros is the name my school has given the guys amongst us who play lacrosse. It is not a term of endearment. Rather, it is a term that the rest of the school gave the Lax Bros because they are so annoyed by the general attitude and behavior of said guys. And then, said guys, taking pride in their different-ness and the fact that other students are jealous, gleefully adopted it for themselves as well.
Meanwhile, I sit back and think to myself, WTF? Riddle me this, Batman. How can a sport that registers on the same level of Pop Cultural Consciousness as curling or duckpin bowling get so much attention, most of it so super awful bad and negative?
First, the Duke Lacrosse Scandal. Now the Virginia Lacrosse Scandal. The first surrounded a case that, ultimately, was a crock of shit. The second was all too real. In both cases, the demeanor and attitude of Lax Bros was under the microscope and looking ugly.
That's my professional take.
Personally, I can't deny the pervasive, annoying reality of the Lax Bro attitude. Nor do I like that some coworkers seem to celebrate and encourage it. Unfortunately, the penis-dangling competition amongst adults in high school environments is neither exclusive to us nor exclusive to the sport of lacrosse.
A friend sent me this link to a very opinionated piece on the George Huguely murder, and it included this description of the stereotype in question:
For better or worse, I’ve grown up going to hundreds of lacrosse parties over the years, forced to acknowledge these "athletes" that looked more like caricatures of a stereotype—overgrown hair, croakies around their neck, a lacrosse pinnie, pastel-colored shorts, some rainbow flip flops and a backwards hat. (For all the generalizations you hear, 9 times out 10, this is actually what they look like.)
Herein begins my sympathy for the culture: They can’t help it. Lacrosse is a sport that’s somewhere between Youth Soccer and Jai Alai. It was created by Native Americans, but perfected by a bunch of Mid-Atlantic prepsters, eager to congratulate themselves on their dominance of a sport that only they can play.
Because of the expensive equipment, and the distinct advantages provided to those that learn the game on suburban travel teams or at expensive prep schools like Landon, the sport remains fairly insular among wealthy children. To excel at lacrosse, it helps to have parents that have the resources to fund the hobby, and the time to cart their children to and from games.
It's true of other sports, too—hockey, for instance, requires similar time/money commitments from the families of young players—but the economic divide is more pronounced with lacrosse. If it seems like the sport belongs to different class, that’s because it does; most of the schools that excel are all-boys private schools, with skyhigh tuition, strict dress codes, and large expanses of green field space. Look at the top 10 High School Lacrosse Programs in the country.
The writer, Andrew Sharp, throws down a vicious and pitiless assault on its culture.
A part of me takes great pleasure in watching him skewer it all. Any fan of Revenge of the Nerds or Glee would have to derive a healthy dose of joy from reading such a screed. But... but I also feel like the guy has put together something of a straw man.
In college, I knew lots of lacrosse players. Most of them were the very jerks Sharp describes. None of them, to the best of my knowledge, killed anyone.
Point is, as despicable and predictable as most of those frat guys were, I'm pretty sure none of them murdered any girls in cold blood, either. Date raped? Gang banged? Grouped together to beat the crap out of a single dude? Oh yeah, they did all of that crap. But murder is a different level, and just because they're assholes doesn't make them automatic candidates for a capital crime. The Duke lacrosse thing serves as that reminder quite nicely.
In conclusion, I wish Andrew's essay had been much shorter. It should have been summed up in a few sentences:
- I hope George Huguely gets shivved in his nuts a few times in the clink.
- I pray for Yeardley Love's soul and beg God that nothing like this ever happens again.
- I sure wish so many lacrosse players weren't such giant fucktard narcissistic assholes.