I’m not a big fan of the words “no” or “can’t“. Sure, sometimes we need to use them, but in general, they are a couple of my least favorite words because of how intrinsically negative they are typically used. That being said, they aren’t my LEAST favorite words in the world… In fact, they are not even close to topping the list.
So what is my least favorite word? What word currently owns the title of “worst word in the world“?
Dear Lord, I hate that word.
It is the embodiment of misguided priorities, pure consumerism, and our cultural fixation on expensive toys instead of tested values. It is the ethos behind “look good to play good” instead of work hard to play well. It is, quite simply, all that is wrong with our society, and all that is wrong with the greater current culture, and direction, of lacrosse.
Swag thinks you can buy your way to excellence. Swag says new gear in custom bright colors is better than white or athletic grey, and that players who wear basic gear are a tier lower, simply because they don’t broadcast their own awesomeness to the masses. Swag say sublimation always. New gear always. New NEW NEW! Swag says your stick has to be all matched up, and have the biggest name products associated with it. Swag says looking good gear is key. Swag says life is easy, as long as you can afford it.
Well, you know what? Swag don’t know jack squat!
Swag is kind of like swagger junior. It’s the mouthy younger brother who has never done anything for himself, but who rides his older brother’s coat tails. Swag is the friend who doesn’t play on the team, but talks smack to rival schools. Swag is the kid who acts like he’s full of confidence, but pees his pants when the chips are down. Swag is for little boys, who want to play at being men.
And because of this addiction to swag, the older brother, true swagger, has come under fire too. But there is a MAJOR difference here between Swagger and his little bro… first off, Swag, as it used today, is nothing more than a colloquial term. It’s a nickname. Swag’s real name is Francis. And just like Francis’ nickname, Swag is a nonsense made up word used by marketers and fan boys (or in this case, Francis), to create a better image for a suspect product. But that’s the problem… it’s all image. It means nothing.
On the other hand, swagger can actually still mean something.
True swagger usually can not be seen by others right off the bat. When swag is out talking smack, swagger is out putting in work. True swagger is often only seen after a game is over, after the best players have humbly and quietly went about their business, helping their teams. Then you might see a flash of it: A kid holding his head high after a loss because he gave it his all has swagger. A kid blaming the refs has swag. True swagger is shaking your opponents’ hands, looking them in the eye, saying “good game”, and actually meaning it, because you left it all out on the field. Swag is popping in your ear buds, and getting in the car before shaking hands, because the game didn’t go your way.
Swag is an embarrassment. Swagger is the embodiment of pride in self.
You now have a chance this Summer to work on your swagger, no matter how old you are. It’s about putting yourself in tough situations, and trying your best. It’s about meeting challenges head on, and becoming a better person, while being honest with yourself. It’s about picking up a stick because you like how it throws, and not how it looks. It’s about wearing your old grey socks to practice so much that they have holes in them, instead of looking for a hot new pair online that will make your teammates jealous.
If you want swagger, the opportunity is here, right now. Just put in work. If you want swag, just go to the store and buy yourself some new shorts. The latter is easier, the prior is what will make you truly happy, and successful.
The choice is, literally, yours to make. Swag or Swagger. Junior or Senior. Boy or Man. Make the right decision. You won’t regret it.