Josh Acut of LaxAllStars.com dove headfirst this week into the question of gay athletes in lacrosse. He related an eye-opening story about talking to a group of college students about lacrosse's "Grow The Game" initiative. What he came up against was lacrosse's dominant "bro culture":
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.
Lacrosse's "bro culture" seems to be a cross between surfer dudes and Hacky Sack punks. Tracking down the term in Urban Dictionary confirmed my initial thought:
A lax bro is a guy who plays lacrosse and fully embraces the culture. Commonly found in Maryland, many also spend their time outside laxin' going to Catholic schools and boating. ... Lax bros will often get together for a lax sesh, which usually includes the following: some brews, some bowls, babes, Dispatch, O.A.R., hemp anklets, board shorts, lax jerseys, polos, Madras clothing, Rainbow flip flops, and sometimes Lilly Pulitzer. Many lax bros have long hair and join fraternities in college.
We've talked before about the surprising homophobia found in the surfer-dude culture; Sounds like it may be alive and well in the lax-bro culture too. In the surfing world it in part comes from being naked or nearly naked with other guys, and even the presence of some sexual experimentation with one another. As long as gays aren't allowed, no one's gay: They're just "checking things out, dude."
Coincidentally, his story was published about the same time as we published our recent story about Andrew Goldstein. Luckily, he and Andrew McIntosh found very little homophobia in the lacrosse world. To an extent, cultures like "lax bro" are outwardly homophobic until they are face-to-face with the issue. When a good friend or teammate comes out, the guys rally around him. After all, that's what "bros" are for.
A pretty fun send-up of the "lax bro" culture: