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The Elements of Bro Style

Dear Kay,
Too hot to knit? I think I pushed the edge of the envelope on knitting this past weekend in Baltimore, during the NCAA Lacrosse Championship immersion weekend with Clif. Oh sweet Jebus it was hot, but we found some shade, slathered on the SPF 100 (is that even possible? It’s basically house paint, right?), and hunkered down for just a boatload of high-speed action, on the field and on the needles.
Net result: four Mitered Squares blanket squares, five matches, three championships, and one completely blissed-out 11 year old. No sunburns, a lot of $4 water, and for me, an education in what it is to be a lax bro.
The stadium was loaded with lax bros. If you don’t know what a lax bro is, here’s your help:
laxbroelements.jpg
(In no particular order. Every single element is crucial and unvarying. It’s all highly brand-specific, so it’s very simple to go bro. I’ve never seen so many identically dressed guys. Incredible, actually.)
Lax penny. These meshy tank-top jersey things are what lax players wear during games. And any other time of day.
Shorts. Not plain.
laxbroshorts.jpg
Sunglasses. When not in use, upside down and stuck on your hat. Which is backwards, never forward.
Bracelets. Must have the word Lacrosse somewhere on them. Hemp, rubber, whatever. Minimum three.
Tall black socks. You can’t see them here, but they’re there.
Flo. Hair long enough to poke out from the bottom of your lax helmet. Bro flo.
Hat. Backwards. Never forward. If you wear it forward, it means that you are old:
laxbrohats.jpg
I learned a lot, ran into a Nashville mom friend who was doing the same thing I was, so that was great.
Clif met a lacrosse superstar, Mike Powell.
mikepowellnclif.jpg
laxelbowpad.jpg
And he scored a game-worn Salisbury Seagulls Division 3 championship elbow pad. Fresh off a player. Hauntingly authentic. I asked him if I could boil it. He said no.
Love,
Ann

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58 Comments

58 Comments

  1. You were here in MD?!? Yes, it was hotter than hot – I’m really impressed you survived all that stadium time. Mom of the year…again. (You could have come over. We had indigo dye day in my backyard. More denim yarn!)

  2. I enjoyed the tutorial on Lax Bro, Ann; I have never heard the term before. But then, I am old, and I don’t think anybody even plays lacrosse in Texas. I will have to begin observing the boys’ attire when I’m out in public, to see if I can spot any Lax Bros.
    Wow, a worn-out elbow pad; I’ll bet that Clif already has his “trophy” prominently displayed in his room by now, LOL.
    Mary G. in Texas

  3. By wearing the hat backwards, the neck is shaded. Doesn’t do anything for the face or protect the eyes from glare but at least the hair is held in place and the neck is shaded.

  4. Put the elbow pad in the sun for a few days – will help freshen it up.

  5. You are an outstanding mom to sit and sweat in MD so your son can watch lax bros run and sweat. I passed a lax game at the high school on my way home the other night. I should have stopped, maybe I would have learned something. How can you think of boiling that holy item? Sacrilege! At least the lax bros don’t have droopy drawers…

  6. Priceless shot with contrasting Old Bro, who has let himself (Lax)go.
    I really could not have made this supreme of a sacrifice for a child. It surpasses a friend who took his child, and my child, to an Arctic Monkeys concert, which was hot and awful, but only 2 or 3 hours of hot and awful. My philosophy is, when you grow up, you can see the Arctic Monkeys.

  7. As I know nothing about Lacrosse, I first thought you meant Lax as in laxidaisical, (yeah, totally spelled that wrong and don’t care to look it up!) lazy or just chill. I guess it is short for lacrosse though, or someone who is a fan…? Anyway… I am HORRIFIED by the tall black socks. as in, not part of the uniform and to protect the shins but as in, Im wearing shorts and TALL BLACK SOCKS… never ever ever. I got in a fight with my husband because he wanted to wear black socks and tennies with shorts and actually leave the house. He changed into jeans. I don’t care what color or how tall his socks are under jeans.

  8. Clif looks beyond happy. And cute!

  9. Hi Ann, I have been to the NCAA LAX event many times and am the proud mom of FOUR lax bros,3 of them now grown out of the bro phase… Your description of clothing is accurate though I think the sleeveless shirts are called pinnies.
    Whatever…
    just so you know it is a small world I knit my first Mason Dixon linen hand towel at the the NCAA lacrosse finals a few years back. I highly recommend the euroflax linen for the hot steamy environs of the lacrosse stadiums

  10. also tell clif to look up “the ultimate lax bro” videos on you tube. he may already have seen them.It’s a guy form St Lawrence Univ I think who did them,pretty funny as I recall

  11. That’s cute, and I totally get it. My son played HS lax, now he is in college but still dresses like a lax bro.

  12. better an elbow pad than jock strap-ya know what I’m saying?

  13. I recently skyped with my 10 year old nephew who showed me his broken arm, courtesy of lacrosse. I expect him to start looking like a lax bro soon.

  14. Lax bros, dude! Awewsome. Those lax shorts are sick, man. Duuuude, that trophy pad rocks! Gotta get some flo goin’ little bro. Work it. Later dude.

  15. Apparently, my husband is old… and not even cool enough to wear his sunglasses on his hat! Oh well, I love him anyway. : )

  16. I always learn something here. I can’t wait to see how I’m going to apply this.

  17. You have my sympathies. I spent a wicked hot Saturday afternoon at Johns Hopkins playing in the pep band at the college championship one year – my side won, but I thought we were going to die first. The matching dark maroon shirts didn’t help.
    It is a really cool game, though.
    And then there is women’s lacrosse – a very different and equally fascinating game.
    Knit on!

  18. Black socks, seriously???????? Where I grew up, we called people who wore black socks to the beach Bennies.

  19. You win mom of the year award. I think I would poke myself in my eye w/ my knitting needles if I had to sit in a hot stadium watching lacrosse all weekend. Much rather be home in the AC w/ the super-fluffy cat.

  20. You’re nice.

  21. Yeah, it was hot in this neck of the woods last weekend. Sorry the Terps did not win the championship, but it looks like you had a fun time. The picture of the hats — yeah, I’m as old as the guy wearing his hat brim-forward, I’m sure — made me laugh.

  22. The Laxmom in my email? Gave birth to 2 “bros,” and 2 female equivalents, altho the girls didn’t have quite that developed a style.(Thank goodness!)
    Loved the game, both men’s and women’s and miss those days. A lot.

  23. your are a softy

  24. About that score – happy for the kid, but gross. I’d totally want to boil it. Maybe, while he’s sleeping…

  25. We’ll call your blanket the Mitered LaCrosse, or better yet Mitered LaX. You’ve got the fun flo.

  26. As a laxmom of 2 I can tell you that this game ranks right up there with knitting and stitching. Hope you have many happy LAX finals in your future.

  27. PS…the smell never completely goes away! eau de lacrosse it is!

  28. The stylings of the laxbros at my high school (where I teach) are just as awesome. The shorts – oh, my the shorts! Blinding color combinations

  29. As a natural red head, SPF 100? Bring it on! I have never seen anything higher than an 85 and wear a 70 daily – got a mild burn on a spot I missed greasing up when I had the temerity to go out at noon on Monday. Yes, in tropical upper Manhattan,equatorial 193rd St. and Bennet Avenue. I got blisters once when I dared spend an hour in full sun at that time.
    Do you suppose house paint would work?

  30. So glad to have the correct word for this “look”. It’s like someone ate the 80’s and threw it up inside a bad sporting good store.
    You totally killed me with “Hat. Backwards. Never forward. If you wear it forward, it means that you are old:” The picture was awesome!

  31. Having been a teenager in north Baltimore 15 years ago, what shocks me is the consistency of the lax bro uniform. Pretty much entirely recognizable (I think the socks may have evolved a bit), especially that classic lacrosse player haircut. Do they still do the thing with the keys/ID card/whatever on a long lanyard from your favorite lacrosse equipment supplier, dangling from a pocket or slung backwards around the neck?
    While you may have a son who aspires to the lax bro lifestyle, be thankful you do not have a teenage daughter who is smitten with the lax bros (what can I say? I was young! I didn’t know any better! they were so… jock-ish and insouciant?). Though since I was pretty shy back then, I had to rely on my classmates to find out what happens when you bring a lax bro (or, er, several) to prom — they show up in tuxedo jackets, tuxedo shirts, bow ties… and those loud, loud shorts. Yes, shorts. I kid you not.
    P.S. adolescent hormones aside, I liked watching women’s lacrosse matches better… such a fascinating combination of raw athleticism and elegance. Much more aesthetically spare (at least back then, pre-goggles and when the players I watched largely favored the beautiful wooden sticks).

  32. Can you imagine knitting black knee high socks?
    (((shudders)))

  33. I’ve always thought boys fall victim to fashion much harder than girls. And they don’t let go of what they learn as teenagers — many of these LAX boys will still dress JUST LIKE THIS for years and years to come. You think they look silly now…

  34. My older son played lacrosse in high school but never really adopted the lax bro look. My younger son also plays, and is totally into lax bro. We’ll be up at 5 a.m. tomorrow to get him to school to catch the bus with his team to an end-of-season JV jamboree; after we catch a little breakfast, we’ll head there ourselves. I used to bring my knitting to games–I remember being very proud the first time I turned a sock heel while watching a game–but now I prefer to watch standing up. Oh–and yes, Connor does indeed wear the black socks; the outfit just isn’t complete without the black “mids.” (And we did watch the Maryland-Virginia final on TV.) I am a total pacifist and chronic worrier about dangerous things, yet I have developed a real love for this game!

  35. I’m a former lax mom of two and miss it so much. The team was one big lax fam. And so many opportunities for knitting, long drives to tournies, rainy practices, sweltering-stiffling-i’m going to the car to knit in the air conditioning games, oh, and the travel-when there’s a break in the tourny, I’m just going to visit this little yarn shop I googled… Watching them re-string their heads. You know, it’s just another game made out of sticks and string…

  36. Salisbury, MD is one of my favorite places in MD. Hope to retire to that area of the Eastern shore!!!
    So when is the house tour this year?

  37. I always thought lax was an airport, silly me…. Lacrosse on the weekend and now Rome? Whoo-ee!

  38. Having a lax bro of my very own, I can say. . . you got it nailed!

  39. LMAO! I’ve always wondered why my 16 yo LAX player wears what I think are old man black socks. Well, there you have it – problem demystified by a knitting goddess.

  40. “…elbow pad. Fresh off a player. Hauntingly authentic. I asked him if I could boil it. He said no.” So funny!
    Mason-Dixon Knitting is like my other favorite “program,” Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me: “oddly informative,” and incredibly fun. Thanks!

  41. I live in Salisbury – you can imagine lax fever here!! Too bad I’m not teaching at the University anymore – I may have been able to score him some bigger ticket items :)

  42. Much appreciated the anthropological report from the Lax hinterlands-a sports lek I had not encountered. Instead of feeling old, however, I feel enlightened, and can now refer to Lax bros with some confidence should the subject arise. Thanks for performing this vital service!
    On a slightly different note, your supreme sacrifice resonated with me, in that I do think Moms have to go-often blindly- through a portal into their teen son’s hermetic environments, else they be left outside it, gazing fondly if disconsolately at them from afar.
    To avoid this I help my son build enormous Lego models of Star Wars vehicles. He specializes in buying them from ebay half built, w/no instructions and often just thrown willy nilly into a plastic grocery bag. From this chaos I sort out the similar pieces and he click clacks, the instructions cunningly downloaded onto the ipad. It takes hours and hours.
    But we bond, deeply. And I now know a heckuva lot of spec about Imperial Starship Cruisers and AT-AT’s.

  43. I never heard of a Lax Bro but I found your information so interesting I watch the Ultimate Lax Bro on You Tube. Still laughing. This website really expands my knowledge.

  44. Dearest Ann, you have no idea how perilously close I came to losing my keyboard to your excellent ‘boil it remark’. I have 3 sons, now grown. It brought back memories. Good times.

  45. Wow. that shot of the youngsters with their hats backwards and the ‘old man’ with his hat facing forward…that was just too funny. I love it. Hope the old man hasn’t seen this picture. Lacrosse? Not sure if it’s hot in these parts…soccer for sure though.

  46. Daughter has been trying to school me on the concept of lax bros. Your post was much more informative. Last week she drug me to the sporting goods store to purchase her first lacrosse equipment. PLEASE let the girls’ lax “uniform” be less ridiculous.

  47. Great shot of the LAX bro. My second year at the Champs and the people watching opportunity is totally awesome! The black socks, with the addidas sandals or Vans. The SU game was great (7pm was a great start time), but the UMd game was hot, hot, hot. Don’t know how the guys ran around in that heat. Febreeze the pad every time your son leaves the house.

  48. Ah LAX days! How I miss them. Actually I do miss the games and such, but not the stinky equipment . . . which we discovered last week remains stinky 6 years later. Glad your boy had the time of his life, go get him a stick!

  49. I, too, use spf 100. My dad jokes that when you squeeze the tube, a sweater comes out. Funny on so many levels, that.

  50. I will second the Febreze suggestion. Works for so many things! My son has the flo, tho he finally had to trim when he could no longer see out from under the flo with his helmet on. He wears long bright orange socks tho, his team color.

  51. boil it or maybe put it in the washer about five or six times….:P

  52. Ahhh, that brought back memories of many many years watching my son play ‘the fastest game on two feet’. We went to the championships a few times. Bren played from 3rd grade through college. Living on Long Island means playing lax !!!
    One thing … I always thought it was a pinny not a penny.

  53. Even if I weren’t rapidly approaching old, I don’t think I would get the Lax Bro look. It just looks sloppy.

  54. And let’s send a shout out to the WOMEN’s NCAA national championship lacrosse team — the Northwestern Wildcats! Sixth women’s lax title in 7 years — wooooooooo hooooooooooo!
    Sorry, had to give equal time to wlax.

  55. LAX is LIFE! Wish I would have known you were there..could have hooked you up. My daughter played lax at Naval Academy (just a hop, skip and jump from M &T stadium)…Maryland is laxers heaven. I know players and coaches from all the teams…I would have gotten that kid something better than a knee pad….
    Elizabeth….who commented about Northwestern…AWESOME Game…wish Maryland had won again…two amazing teams. GO LADIES!!!

  56. Dear Ann
    THANK YOU for the lax bro scoop. It enabled me to spout forth the lax bro dress code to my unsuspecting 13 yo lax bro wanna be. The look on his face when I told him that I had learned this from a knitting blog was PRICELESS
    m in m

  57. I’m so impressed with your stamina in the heat last weekend. And even more impressed with my Hoos!! I graduated from Mr. Jefferson’s U back in 1981 and my daughter starts there this fall, so we’re particularly thrilled with Virginia’s big win. Thanks for the lax faq — I learned more about the game this past weekend than I’d ever known before.

  58. It is pinny. The bros say penny, but they don’t know better. Pinny, as in any thingy put on over a jersey to denote who is on what team in basketball, running races, lax, and PX, which is polocrosse. We’ll save that sport for another day.
    Pertinent bumpersticker:
    My lacrosse mom can beat up your soccer mom.
    My (lax playing) son loved that one; I’m not so sure.