Dude! Lax Bros!

The athletic elite at my high school were an improbably evolved lot, especially by the standards of the day. They eschewed full-on brutishness for high-fives in the hall, "dude"-rich repartee and MGD-fueled Bon Jovi shout-alongs whenever the occasion presented itself (in the library, during memorial services, etc.). Many actually read at a 10th-grade level during 10th grade.

Thus I lack in-person exposure to the anthropological phenomenon that is the "Lax Bro," the lacrosse-stick-wielding, flip-flop-wearing, stealth-drink-spiking jock who has come to embody everything that's awful about youth sport culture. Lax Bros are generally sketched as privileged meatheads who believe their ability to maneuver a vulcanized rubber ball with a pouched stick confers upon them some greater social status or humanity - and truly, anyone who fits that description is worthy of our nerdly contempt. But personally, I've never met one. For all I know, Lax Bros are a figment of the "lamestream" media's imagination, like extreme weather or Sandra Fluke.



Along those lines, I can't decide whether "Adrenaline Lacrosse Awareness: Don't be a Lax Bro," a month-old video which encourages Lax Bros to ditch the entitled bluster and join the fraternity of decent folk, is real or (way-too-subtle) satire. Gun to my head, I'd guess that it's real, because nobody out for a cheap laugh at the expense of Lax Bros would spend this much time or money on a faux PSA. But heavens, I have no idea what its creator - Adrenaline Lacrosse, a gear-maker that dabbles in advocacy - is trying to accomplish.

That's largely because whoever scripted the clip doesn't get the whole economy-and-precision-of-language thing. Take this introductory narrative flourish, for example: "Lacrosse and some other sports have certainly taken some grand steps forward over the last decade. Unfortunately from our point of view, many of those steps were in a corporately determined, tainted and misguided direction. It's time to right the ship by utilizing the power and influence of the sport properly."

What's this about who now? It doesn't help matters that this rousing call to arms is accompanied by a helter-skelter pastiche of images: a photo of Joe Paterno, a magazine cover featuring Tiger Woods and his harem, stacks of hundred-dollar bills. The takeaway here is supposed to be something along the lines of "sometimes people in sports act irresponsibly and we should strive to rise above them," but the message delivered is more along the lines of OH DEAR OH NO MONEY PENIS HYSTERIA KONY 2012 BAAAAAAAAAD.

From there, we're taken to a land where Lax Bros prize community service over community bowls, where they can always spare a moment for youth-nurturing or grandma-hugging. Amid scenes of players signing autographs and teaching clinics, we're told that Lax Bros shouldn't be Lax Bros. Rather, they should "be aware and activate, make an impact, create some movement out there in a positive way."

It's the vaguest call to action I've ever heard - or at least it is until the clip presents its three-point plan for… image-resuscitation? community-infiltration? It's anyone's guess, but the Adrenaline Awareness people feel so strongly about the plan that it prints all three points on the screen in an aggressive font. Point one: "Raise money." Point two: "Raise awareness." Point three: "Impact." That's right: the Adrenaline Awareness plan for de-bro-ing lacrosse is the same plan followed by every advocacy group everywhere, always, for every initiative.

Then we meet a guy. A guy with a lacrosse stick. A guy who describes this lacrosse stick as "[his] paint brush." Neither he nor anyone else in the clip completes the metaphor, but based on the accompanying image I'm guessing that the ball is his paint and the goal is his canvas? Metaphors are tricky.

"Don't be a Lax Bro" concludes on a similarly frustrating, meaningless note, promising Lax Non-Bros that "the reward is in us." (What reward? Etc.) But hey, at least the clip is consistent. Clearly the Adrenaline Awareness folks envision it as the spark that ignites an awareness and involvement brushfire, but without specifics it doesn't amount to much more than a plea for Lax Bros not to act like jackasses. In any event, good luck getting that message heard.

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