A couple weeks ago, Connor talked about his least favorite word. Now why I might not agree that it’s my least favorite word, I definitely agree with all the points he makes, and wanted to expand on it from my own perspective in this week’s Hot Pot.
Spoiler Alert: If you haven’t read Connor’s article, this is your last chance to before the aforementioned word is used. Ready? You sure?
The word Connor deems his least favorite is swag. Connor goes to great lengths to explain the difference between swag and swagger, and in a nutshell he sees swag as an obsession with looking the best and swagger as confidence that comes from putting in hard work. Again, I completely agree with him, but I want to take this a bit further.
Growing up in Southern California, I’ve seen companies like Adrenaline grow and change as I did. I hear a lot of criticism from teammates that aren’t from SoCal about how companies that sell neon jerseys with fancy patterns, tank tops, and snapbacks – companies like Adrenaline and LXM – are in turn promoting “bro culture” and the swag phenomenon. I don’t buy into that argument, though.
What I do believe is that neon is a eye-catching color that can bring attention to your program, that it makes perfect sense to wear a shirt without sleeves if it’s hot outside, and that people have been wearing hats long before any “lax bro” culture existed. I think people mix up “swag” and “bro” with a little bit of California culture. Adrenaline is a SoCal company, based in San Diego. Tank tops and snapbacks make sense when it’s sunny every month of the year.
Staying with the LXM example for a second, who is the first player you think of when you hear LXM? Kyle Harrison. Does that guy scream bro to you? What he does scream is athlete, hard worker, and game grower.
LXM travels around the country to different areas, plays a high-level lacrosse game, puts on a huge lacrosse tournament for youth through high school players, and throws in clinics to boot. Now if that isn’t positive growing of the game, I don’t know what is. I could spend an entire other Hot Pot arguing why LXM and MLL can coexist for this exact reason, that LXM serves a game growing function while MLL fulfills the professional-model of other sports that the lacrosse community wants, but I won’t get into it now.
Now I just did a quick google image search of “lax bro,” and one of the first pictures is the guy from the “Ultimate Lax Bro” YouTube video. And yes, he is wearing a tank top and a hat. But if you only see what he’s wearing, how is that any better than stereotyping anything else? Is this video what started the lax bro movement? I doubt it, but it doesn’t seem unreasonable to think this video helped spread the wrong ideas to young lacrosse players. It’s unfortunate that most seem to miss that this video is a parody, meaning it is a joke, poking fun at the idea of a lax bro culture.
Does wearing a tank top and a snapback make you a bro? No, it means it’s hot and sunny outside, and you want to be comfortable while you’re having a catch on the beach. How you act defines the kind of person you are, not your wardrobe.
So remember, it’s what you do, not what you wear.
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