Editor’s Note: Josh “Chewy” Acut has been contributing to LaxAllStars.com for a while now. His constant message? Grow The Game, and Grow Texas Lacrosse. Josh has been instrumental in the lacrosse renaissance going down in South Texas RIGHT NOW, and in his newest post, he’s going GTG in a whole new way!
Lacrosse has grown a lot recently, but with all this GTG fever, are we forgetting to include some people?
A Lack of Acceptance
Over the past two years I have had hundreds, if not thousands, of “Grow The Game” conversations with individuals who want to see our great sport thrive in their local communities. However, one recent conversation has literally made me question whether or not the “GTG” mindset is always really being communicated or if it’s just lip service used to cover up a person’s true ideals.
This week, I was talking at a school with an emerging group of interested lacrosse players, and I brought up the idea of recruiting openly gay/lesbian athletes from other sports, and from within the community, to help grow the game. To be honest, I really wasn’t thinking it would garner the response that it did. The response to my suggestion went something like this:
“You’re kidding right!? LOL, I don’t think the guys would approve.”
That ONE comment literally made me question EVERYTHING. Since when do “the guys” need to approve anyone’s effort to Grow The Game? Since when are we excluding people because “the group” that already exists might not approve? WHY would you want to Grow The Game AND keep people out of it? The hypocrisy was staggering.
My response went something like this:
“I’m being totally serious. If the “guys” try to make it too exclusive, you won’t make it. In order to succeed, you have to open the doors to everyone.”
Then I started thinking – YES, everyone is touting lacrosse as the fastest growing sport. YES, the marketing of the “bro” culture has helped retailers make money off “lax” apparel. But at the end of the day, all of these exclusionary practices are making me ask the question: are “lax bros” homophobic?
The Real Growth of the Game
There, I said it. And sadly, I don’t think many others have. Homosexuality is still not something that is talked about very openly in our society. Not in the US, and definitely not in team sports. In a time of supposed “extreme” growth, has the game’s growth been hindered because of an underlying machismo “bro” attitude?
I have witnessed how one game has quickly grown both internationally and domestically. Asia has become a lacrosse hot bed in only a few years. Thailand, Japan, Singapore, China, and the Philippines are now emerging lacrosse markets that will be contenders sooner rather than later.
Urban lacrosse is a culture all of its own. In modern times, Kyle Harrison, Chazz Woodson, and the Bratton Brothers have helped to break down the racial wall that has been in lacrosse for years – we would be naive to deny that that wall didn’t exist before. Even the most “bro” of bros, Con Bro Chill, has done his part to help grow urban lacrosse.
However, with all that said, and with all this growth, is the marketing of lacrosse broad enough to appeal to the Gay/Lesbian community? Men’s and Women’s lacrosse is marketed two totally different ways, and I can not really speak about the women’s game until I do more research, but I can definitely tell you the “Lax Bro Culture” is all about the Bro, Being Bro, My Life is Bro, etc…
Grow Lax > Bro Lax
But don’t worry, I’m not gonna hate on Bros just to hate on Bros, I’m just gonna say one thing… Grow LAX > Bro LAX.
If someone said, “We should invite the black kids to come play lacrosse” and you said, “No, the bros might not approve” it would be a problem. So why do people still think it’s okay to say the same thing about homosexuals?
Excluding people based on what they are is wrong, no matter what. So what exactly is holding us back from helping our fellow man in this situation?
At the end of the day, if I were truly trying to Grow the Game and field the best group possible, I would pick the BEST ATHLETE… Not the dude whose the most “bro”.
Now, I can also see a couple of people who know me personally saying, “Chewy isn’t gay… so why does he even care?!”
I care because at some point this conversation needs to happen, because RIGHT NOW there IS some high school kid out there who “can’t” play lacrosse because he will get messed with by the Lax Bros. And finally, I care because EVERYONE should feel welcome to participate and play the “Creator’s Game”. No one should ever feel banned from playing a “rich, straight, white boy sport”.
This write up will, and should, get great responses, because everyone in the world wants to “Grow The Game”… Right?
For more stories on gay lacrosse players, check out Outsports.com
Andrew Goldstein‘s (Dartmouth and MLL goalie) story.
Andrew McIntosh (Oneonta State) comes out to his team.
Out Bowdoin College coach, and athlete, build a legacy.