Editor’s note: Growing by leaps and bounds, we always strive to bring you commentary from all lacrosse the nation. With that in mind, please welcome new contributor Knox Hutchinson.
Knox is a 24 year old High School Head Coach in a small area east of Baton Rouge. He played High School ball for four years, and college ball for about 1 week until he realized his collegiate priorities rested with more important things like partying and eventually trying to get his grades up. He enjoys things that most Louisiana people do – eating boiled crawfish and alligator, a cold Abita Amber, anything LSU, his dog, and his beautiful girlfriend, Audrey. Lacrosse is not listed because most Louisiana people have no idea what lacrosse is. Welcome Knox!
“What the hell? ‘Cajun’? Cajuns don’t lax…do they?” Commence clicking
Yes, it’s true. Louisiana does have lacrosse, somehow beating 9 other states to starting a league. I still don’t know how this happened. Citizens of our notably obese state are used to seeing Louisiana come in 48th, 49th, or 50th in pretty much every category you can think up, so coming in 41st for having a lacrosse league is a huge step for us. The only aspect of our state that I think you can label as “forward thinking” or “progressive” might be our Worker’s Compensation laws. Let’s face it – the south is a hotbed for football, has been for a while, and will probably stay that way for a while. I myself, am a rabid LSU football fan, so I, too, am guilty of fueling this fire.
In general Southern States live and die based on the performance of their beloved college and pro football teams, so they raise their children to want nothing more than to play HS football.
So naturally when little Boudreaux Jr. goes home to tell Maw and Paw that he’s quitting “foosball” to play this new, unheard of sport called lacrosse, their world stops spinning.
To be fair, only 1 out of every 57 Louisiana parents really think lacrosse is da devil
“What in the Hell is lacrosse?” ask Maw and Paw, which leads to a description that usually involves the following statements:
1) “A badass sport where I can hit kids like football, but they give me a stick to do it.”
Reaction: Initially, Paw is furious because he played football at Thibodeaux High School, just like his daddy, and his daddy before him. Not playing football would be as big of a sin as committing adultery. But thankfully, we live in the age of YouTube.
Paw’s eyes tear up with excitement, and he immediately wonders how he can get involved with coaching a community middle school church team of his own. Maw is terrified, calling her friends to warn them of the Satanic dangers that they are undoubtedly hearing about right now at the supper table. Ultimately, they decide that a mothers’ meeting to discuss this “lacrosse” thing is a necessity. Also covered at the meeting will be a sale at the quilting supply store.
2) “A sport that a ton of rich kids on the east coast play.”
What usually follows these discussions is the ultimate question that results in most Louisiana lacrosse prospects never picking up a stick: “How much does it cost?”
BUT, since I plan on writing about the brief history of lacrosse in this colorful state, Southern Lacrosse vs. East Coast Lacrosse, the team I coach, and all the experiences (AKA unbelievable migraines and financial burdens) I’ve been through to get that team up and running, I’ll start by addressing some important stereotypes of a Louisiana native before I begin. This will help in future articles, serving as a sort of preface or disclaimer. We are a unique breed, so some things might need to be clarified:
1) It’s pronounced “crawfish.” Not crayfish, crawdad, craydad, or mudbug. It’s absolutely critical that you understand point #1. To say otherwise is blasphemy. Crawfish boils have a large impact on lacrosse season, because the crawfish season, Mardi Gras, and lacrosse season all overlap.
2) Only a small population speaks French. It’s probably the main spoken language at Angelle’s Whiskey River Landing (commence googling!), which is near where the cock fights took place when they were still legal (only outlawed a couple years ago).
True story – One night, a cock fighter came into a bar wearing a sleeveless, rebel flag t-shirt with an eagle on it (the cock fighters equivalent of a tuxedo). Later that night, he became inebriated, and got into an altercation screaming “Bird fightin is my constitutional right!” His type is addressed in #4 and #7. If you’re not in New Orleans or Shreveport, entertainment can be hard to come by, you see. Which leads me to…
3) Most people in Louisiana are overweight, but not all are drinkers. New Orleans, Mardi Gras, and Bourbon Street have given the entire state of Louisiana a drinking reputation, when that reputation really should only apply to South Louisiana.
LSU fans like to claim their school is the #1 party school, but I can assure as a hardcore fraternity alum with a splash of disappointment in my voice, that’s died down quite a bit from the 90’s. In North Louisiana, there is a prolific Southern Baptist population, which limits the alcohol sales. But browsing through facebook and glancing at people from north Louisiana, it’s not uncommon to see a girl’s profile picture of her funneling a beer with “Religious Views: OMGJesus”
4) Cajun people are from Southwest Louisiana. Creole people are from Southeast Louisiana. However, rednecks can be found in all corners of the state. While they are the hardest to sway, the rednecks become the most loyal and die hard lacrosse fans, showing up to every game in their completely restored ’77 SS. Dale would be so proud (pour a gulp of that Bud heavy on the ground to remember a fallen racer).
5) Everything you’ve seen about New Orleans Mardi Gras is 100% accurate.
6) We eat crawfish and alligator regularly. In fact, just this past weekend I had a delicious, blackened alligator wrap at Walk-Ons Bistreaux.
7) While ignorance, intolerance, and illiteracy do exist in this state more than other states, most people here are not racist or uneducated. Most. We are the state that brought you David Duke, no denying that. A safe assumption to make is that parents here would not understand Con Bro Chill (I think he’s awesome). But I wanted to point that out now that segregation doesn’t exist as if it was 1949.
By now you’re thinking “This has absolutely nothing to do with lax.” It will. If you look at the bottom of Lax All Stars home page, you might see the phrase “Our Mission is simple: Grow the Game.”
Coincidentally, that’s my mission, and fortunately for me, I now have a place I can go to tell you all about it. My goal for this blog is to be writing about current events and lacrosse things that are going on in Louisiana and nearby states, detailing how we’re growing the game in a new area. I’ll tell you about upcoming games, camps in our area, angry phone calls from parents, interviews with other coaches and players from the area, – the whole mess, and I’m looking forward to it.