The LXM PRO Tour has been a whirlwind of change and evolution so far, and some people, especially back East, seem to be a little confused as to a number of the details, and even the overall story. To remedy this, the LXM, in conjunction with Adrenaline (an LXM and LAS sponsor), has put together an episodic series of videos which will detail the Tour, and give viewers an in-depth look at what is going on.
To get even more in-depth, we sat down with LXM PRO and Adrenaline All-Star, Xander Ritz, and peppered him with questions about the Tour and the video series.
The above video does a great job of setting the scene for the LXM, and telling the Tour’s story, really up to the current day. Was that a conscious move by LXM to inform, as well as entertain?
It was definitely a conscious decision to try to share more about what the LXM movement is about. You mentioned people on the East Coast being confused but I think it’s only because what we’re doing doesn’t fit into an existing sports model in any other space. People want it to be something they’ve seen or been involved in elsewhere, but it’s not. You will see some big changes in the near future, but we’re still a small niche sport that needs to continue building momentum at that grass roots level, and that’s where we are focusing our time and effort.
It’s pretty rare for sponsored athletes to speak so openly about one of their competitors. How did you guys bridge some of the potential gaps that could have sprouted up between the companies and their respective players, while still keeping it highly competitive and intense?
I don’t know that we’ve actually had to bridge any gaps. Maverik and STX compete at retail, and now they compete at LXM events. Both companies sponsor first class athletes who are incredible ambassadors for the sport. Good sportsmanship exists in business as in sport. Hearing Kyle talk about the value of having Maverik involved in LXM is honest and real. I love the way the platform has evolved and given the brands a chance to showcase their best stuff against one another on the field. The gear battles are awesome subplots.
In terms of competition, come hang out on the sidelines of the games. Matt Russell is a guy who doesn’t like to lose, ever. If you play defense in front of him you will feel that, 100%. To me the job of pro lacrosse players is to set an example for the next generation, and while athletes aren’t always perfect, we aim to highlight guys who are as committed to the health of the sports future as they are committed to their own abilities. Guys like Billy Bitter and Peter Baum fit that description perfectly.
It seems like a really solid percentage of your guys are involved in lacrosse full-time. How many guys would you consider “full time lacrosse guys”? Does the fact that the LXM has sponsors and partners at multiple levels in the game help more guys do this full time?
We have a lot of guys who are fully invested in lacrosse and have dedicated their professional lives to the sport. We are definitely able to collaborate with brands to help athletes pursue their passion. Between Adrenaline, Maverik & Cascade, Champion, STX, Knockaround, SKLZ, and other key partners, we’ve been able to help guys continue to be in front of kids growing the sport. We don’t have many partners who are just throwing logos on assets and looking for impressions. We’re pretty hands on with our partners and work to ensure they have a personal connection to the kids and families at events. As a result they are more deeply invested in the movement and more inclined to endorse athletes to diversify their participation in the sport.
Have you seen any 15 or 16 year old kids at any of the tour clinics and thought, “this kid could easily play with us in a couple years“? How is the talent level progressing at some of the Tour stops?
It’s funny you mention this because we spend a ton of time evaluating young players. It’s something I really enjoy doing and our Adrenaline Evaluation Team really digs in at these events. So when we’re in Utah I’ll sit and watch 8 – 10 games during the weekend and evaluate kids to make sure we are getting the right kids at our recruiting events. It’s sort of a no stone unturned approach. Some of the athletes playing the game right now in middle school and high school are unbelievable and the skill level is so advanced at a young age.
Talk about the Movement aspect a little bit. Why is Music out, and Movement in?
Music is a big part of the culture at Adrenaline and has always been a big part of the apparel brand, as well as LXM (don’t forget Parker Anger had Capital Cities playing our apparel parties three years ago!). But we’re so focused on this mission-based Movement right now, continuing to build on the sports positive momentum, and connecting with communities in an impactful way. There is a lot of work to be done and fortunately our sport has a ton of good people leading the charge, not just at Adrenaline. I’m not sure it’s so much about music being “out”. Instead we’ve become hyper-focused on our mission and using LXM; Lacrosse x Movement, as the vehicle.
What can we expect from Episode 2, and when (approximately) will that one drop?
You’re going to have to talk to Nick Gradinger about that! (Editor’s Note: we will!) There are a ton of great stories that are part of the LXM movement and I’m excited to see Nick continue producing great content from event to event.
Our next interview will be with Nick, and we’re excited to hear more about future episodes of the series, and when we can expect to see them!