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Bro Crafting

Dear Kay,
Alt Crafting Effort No. 2 this summer involved lacrosse.
During my stirring three-day stand at the NCAA Lacrosse Championships in Baltimore with 12-year-old son Clif, it became clear to me that the lax bros put on a good show of being studly and cool and pretty much above it all–but I knew their dark secret.
They are all seriously into macrame.
And now, thanks to Clif’s obsession, so am I.
To review: lacrosse used to use bentwood sticks like these:
OldLacrosseSticks.jpg
These are the equivalent of wooden tennis rackets. Most players today use metal and plastic sticks. However, some lacrosse practitioners like this old school stringing, rather than the uninspired machine-made mesh that is most common.
Clif is old school in just about every way, so it is highly predictable that he would get wind of traditional lacrosse stringing.
lacrossestick3.jpg
Clif art directed; I was just an apprentice stringer.
His first effort was to dye a white lacrosse stick head in a pot of maroon dye for three days. In the middle of my kitchen. The stripes were hot-glued before dyeing, then peeled off all over the kitchen floor, leaving pristine white squirgles on the head.
locrossestick2.jpg
Perfect.
We then spent a lot of time with a YouTube bro from Colorado who explained how to string a lacrosse head in the traditional style. If the guy would HOLD THE STICK IN FRONT OF THE CAMERA, it might help. My nominee, truly, for Worst Crafting YouTube/Sports Equipment Category.
The second head was the more challenging “Pita Pocket” traditional head. We found a tutorial with murky, postage-stamp-sized photos; winged it when the going got tough; and concluded that it would not be hard to surpass current online lacrosse-stick-stringing tutorials.
pitapocket.jpg
I think they call this one a PITA because it is, in fact, a pain in the ass.
This is actually a fun thing to do. There are zillions of ways to string lacrosse heads.
Any minute, Clif is going to want to start bending wood to make a 100% traditional stick. I am ready.
Love,
Ann

25 Comments

25 Comments

  1. You win zillions of mom points for allowing the invasion of your kitchen in the pursuit of rearing self-motivated, creative children :) I have much to learn. Right after I photograph, then clean off, all this art on my walls…

  2. I have one word for you and Clif: beads.

  3. You know the wood-working fans are dying to get into this – you must join them. You can lead the way with your masterful fiber-stringing skills!
    PS: why did Clif choose that particular color scheme? Artistic decision, or school colors?

  4. Hmmm I’m trying to picture this as a craft at my library–as I do with all new crafts I find. I wonder if we could partner with the giant lacrosse tourney that takes all of our parking spots each year…

  5. There is probably a law against me playing sports that involve projectiles (if not, there should be), so lacrosse or tennis are beyond my ken…but a few years ago I made a cherry canoe paddle using only hand tools. I’m with you, Clif! So much more satisfying when you’ve made your own tools and toys :)

  6. Very cool.

  7. Having been to more lax games than I can count (men and women’s, boy’s and girl’s) (heck my email isn’t “laxmom4x” for nuthin’) the only thing I can say is,(besides “Whoa, dude!”) if he is using them for a game, they better be tightly strung. (legal anyway) those refs can be darn picky.
    Love the game!

  8. You are, officially, the coolest mom ever. I am in awe.

  9. I’m sorry, but the last picture totally made me think of a cup. Getting geared up for my sons’ sports as well, i guess, but I still wouldn’t want to knit one of those.
    But, I guess, it would be a good use of stainless steel yarn?

  10. Ah, I remember those days! My son spent his middle school years dying, stringing, buying and selling lax heads before he moved on to drumline in high school (drummers don’t do crafts apparently). Approximately 50% of the photos that scroll across my screensaver are lax heads in various colors, locations, design, etc, but all being held by the same hand. We never could quite get the glue to peel off though…

  11. Welcome to the world of Lax Moms. My son, who is now a Jr in college has been dying lax heads for years. Wait until you find them in your ice drawer.
    Can’t remember why we do that. ( I think maybe it’s to get the glue to peel off Eleanor)

  12. My sister (LTC Jenny of the first MDK book, played HS lax in MD and also for Towson State, MD) started her lax playing career with a traditional wood Cranberry stick. I have a garage full of lax sticks of various vintages and materials (courtesy of 7 lax playing kids and a lax playing brother and sister who both live overseas) from the ridiculous to the sublime (aka- cheap to very $$$). My favorites are two antique wooden sticks strung with gut and leather. They are heavy and quite long (probably either goalie or long-stick D) and were the serendipitous result of helping a friend clean out the hot and dusty West Point Youth Services storage attic. I rescued them from a trip to the dumpster. Tell Clif my son says his stick is not bad for a first effort but he needs to add shooting strings. He’ll think about putting together a tutorial with detailed photos (probably for theatre class credit). Murf is especially good at goalie sticks (I had to replace two!! broken heads in one season so he got a lot of practice restringing) but will happily answer any stringing questions to the best of his ability. Be sure to visit chalktalk sports or lax giant for all your lax accessories. :)

  13. I love this post with fierce loving!

  14. Wow. That opening picture brought back a LOT of high school and college lax playing memories. . . but I never considered making my own. Probably just as well!

  15. Here’s what I would like. A tutorial explaining girls lacrosse. Frankly, I don’t think it can be done. Both my girls started playing it last year. They love it. I love watching them love it. I can kind of tell when they’ve done something worth cheering. It looks pretty uncomfortable at times. Ridiculous at others. Seems to be a fair amount of trash talk between the teams. Often one team gets called more than the other for rough play. And the sticks do get a lot of attention. I’ve driven all over Westchester late in the season looking for a reasonable stick. Not too expensive for a beginner but also not too embarrassing for a 16 year old. It’s a fine line. Or maybe not so fine. Most reasonably priced sticks are simply not acceptable. Making our own is an interesting idea. Could double as bonding time. And they would never know. Alas, they would also never agree.

  16. Is there a way we can block this particular blog post from my 14 year old??? He doesn’t play Lacrosse, but he has been discussing building his own skateboard, and violin. He doesn’t need any further encouragement.

  17. Love this! Make the video!

  18. My son played ‘the fastest game on two feet’ durning the 80′s and 90′s. The coaches back then taught the kids how to string their own lax heads. I’m sure sonny boy can still do it. His first stick was a wooden one. I’m sure he still has it. And it’s in his lax bag with a ball sitting in the pocket.
    Love the game !!!!

  19. Love it! Oh how I wish I still had my old wooden Crosse from high school.

  20. Too cool for words!

  21. Truly, an awesome mom. Can’t wait to see the youtube that you and Cliff do for bending wood – you are going to youtube it right?

  22. OMG, Ann, you made me snort-laugh at work. And I work in a super quiet office! Thanks for brightening my morning.

  23. I think you may have a future Lacross entrepreneur in your household. Watch your yarn! Closely! It might disappear overnight.

  24. i would say mother has a lot of traveling to do
    finer netting would make a fine pond skimmer

  25. As a non-sports-inclined gal from way out west in Or-ee-gun, I was aware that lacrosse was a sport, albeit one I had never seen practiced. However, you and Kay are, as always, entertaining AND educational, so I am not surprised to have you shine a light on the laid-back passion of lacrosse fans and players. (Who knew that there were actual “lax” families, for instance?)
    I will say that I am not surprised to learn that the online lacrosse-related tutorials available are so, um, casual. “Lax” is in the very title, after all! :)