When you hear Connor Martin, you think of Con Bro Chill. It’s that simple. Is that a bad thing? I don’t think so, as long as you take the time to understand what Con’s really all about.
Back in 2009, LAS had a chance to interview him at the Tahoe Lacrosse tournament just weeks after he had been named MCLA Player of the Year. Back then he was just a Warrior intern making videos on his own time to try and grow the Warrior name and his own. As he put it, he simply ”plays lax and shoots for the kids,” and that the videos and the “bro character” are only half-serious. That day, he said he didn’t consider himself a lacrosse celebrity. Things have changed since then.
So how did Connor Martin rise to the spotlight of the lacrosse world from then to now? His ascent was twofold: first, he continued his goofy videos as he grew more and more popular, and second, he played great lacrosse.
Connor Martin, the lacrosse player
Growing up in Lake Oswego, OR, Martin was a late-bloomer that stayed on the West Coast for college at Chapman University in Orange, CA. In his first season for the Panthers, Martin only appeared in 5 games, but still managed to tally 13 points. The next year, in his first full season, the attackman put up 79 points, helping Chapman to the MCLA National Championship, where they fell to Michigan. The following season, he had 78 points, leading his team back to the title game, where they again fell to the Wolverines. In his senior campaign in 2010, Martin increased his season output to 84 points, but the Big Blue problem wouldn’t budge, and Michigan beat Chapman in the national semifinals.
Despite not winning a championship, Martin had an impressive MCLA career, scoring 168 goals and 86 assists for 254 total points. Along with his 2009 POY award, he was a two-time 1st-Team All-American and was named Southwestern Lacrosse Conference Offense POY as a senior. A representative of the growth of the game out west, his talents were so impressive that he became the most-vaunted MCLA player to be drafted into professional lacrosse.
With the Denver Outlaws in 2010 and 2011, Martin only appeared in 8 total games. However, he still scored some highlight-reel goals, with 17 points over the two seasons. Martin also signed a two-year deal with the Colorado Mammoth of the NLL in the Fall of 2011. Connor only played in 2 games for the Mammoth in 2011 and was not on the active roster in 2012, but scored twice in his first season. His backflip off the glass after scoring his first NLL goal was widely documented on the internet.
In 2012 Martin was traded to the MLL’s Ohio expansion team, the Machine. Transitioning from attack to midfield, Martin’s professional production boomed. With 32 points in his first year with Ohio, Martin proved he truly belongs among lacrosse’s elite players. Hampered by injuries early this season, Martin has only appeared in a few games, but continues to contribute. In his first game off the Injured Reserve list, Martin’s 5 points led Ohio to their first victory of the season.
Con Bro Chill, the “half-serious” character
When people have a problem with Connor Martin, it’s usually because of this half of his persona. They see the “bro” and the “chill” and think he is an example of some of lacrosse culture’s worst attributes. Just last week I myself wrote an article concerning some negative stereotypes of the lacrosse “bro” culture. In that article I mentioned the Ultimate Lax Bro video, and that people seem to miss the fact that it is a parody. Con Bro, the self-described “half-serious” character, is as well.
In his early videos, Con Bro’s goofy nature and fun-loving attitude created a name for himself. Those aspects of him are what carry the serious part of the character: Connor Martin is a goofy guy who just likes to have fun, and happens to love lacrosse. In his internship with Warrior, he decided to make videos to spread the brand. As they caught on, so too did Con Bro Chill’s popularity, culminating in the creation of the band with the same name. With the help of his brother Sam, a song writer who has worked with the likes of Maroon 5, the band has released multiple songs on iTunes, including their full album 3d Music. Music videos of course have accompanied the incredibly catchy CBC songs, and throughout the band’s existence Martin’s knack for all that is silly and fun have remained. One of Con Bro Chill’s songs was even featured in the Golf Boys “Oh Oh Oh” music video, which was produced by Sam. The video currently has over 6.5 million hits on YouTube.
Con, the game grower
Behind all of the antics, from the videos to the backflips, one thing is at the center of Connor Martin, or as his friends call him, Con: he grows the game of lacrosse. Martin has worked with many different programs, including trips to Nicaragua with Lacrosse The Nations, running camps and clinics for Harlem Lacrosse, and his own Boom Town Lacrosse company that runs camps, tournaments, which has its own 1-for-1 stick program.
One thing that some may find curious is his affiliation with Flow Society. He is sponsored by the apparel company, and there are some, including myself, that aren’t big fans of Flow Society. While I said in last week’s hot pot that I fully believe your wardrobe shouldn’t define you, I believe that Flow Society is negatively promoting lacrosse not because they have a lot of neon clothes, but because of the text on that clothing. Apparel from the company often has texts heralding “bros” and, expectedly, “flow,” which literally represents long hair coming out the back of a helmet and figuratively embodies an extremely laid back, “swag” first approach to lacrosse that is ultimately bad for the sport.
I don’t, however, think negatively of Martin’s connection with the company. As the half-joking side of him also promotes the same ideas, it was is a perfect fit for Martin. It also allows him to attend large lacrosse events such as the Final Four, where he can directly interact with fans and show his true nature. In these situations, he can again be an agent of growth for lacrosse.
Connor Martin a.k.a Con Bro Chill a.k.a Con is an energetic, goofy, entertaining guy. He’s also a heck of a lacrosse player, and ultimately, he’s a game grower.