The lifestyle of a Midwest laxer is unique compared to every other lacrosse community in the United States. We mid-westerners recognize that the east coast is king when it comes to Lacrosse… we give credit where credit is due. However, over the past ten years the game is taking hold in the flat-lands, and we are making a name for ourselves in our own unique way. When I started playing lacrosse in High School seven years ago, Lax was mostly thought of as “that sweet game where you get to whack people with sticks.” Since that time only one thing is for sure…. Times have changed.
From 2005 to 2010 the popularity of high school lax in Midwest states has exploded. As a devout Laxer who is a product of this explosion in popularity I can tell you it is not just some fad or coincidence. Kids all over the state have developed a great passion for this game and the laxbro persona that comes with. States like Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Minnesota, Illinois and Wisconsin have all caught the lacrosse bug.
With the above being said, it is important to note that the Lax outbreak in the mid-west has had its own unique road towards popularity. For the past fifty years, the mid-western states have been ones where football, basketball, and baseball are kings. Sports like lacrosse were nothing more than an afterthought. In fact, before a few years ago, most high school programs only had one or two players whose 1st sport was Lax. For lax-bros who wanted to dedicate themselves to lacrosse; it was up to them to find a way to play at a high level of competition. Players found this level of competitiveness on private club teams and summer ball clubs. It was in these clubs that the persona of the mid-west lax-bro took hold. The opportunity to play on these club teams opened to door for us to go out east and increase our lacrosse IQ and swagger. While at these tournaments, Midwest teams had a chance to see how the best clubs from out east did it. When we returned home we took what we saw and applied it to our own high school programs. For mid-west laxers, the east-coast waggle was meshing together with the mid-west big shoulder swagger. A breed of lax bros with a reputation for having a scary combination of bro-ness and toughness was multiplying.
But it wasn’t just about what was happening on the field that appealed to us. We all noticed that there was something greater going on than just the game itself. Excitement began to develop around the culture of our own laxbro lifestyle. By traveling around the country tournaments in the summer, and going to various camps, friendships began to develop between mid-west laxers and kids all over the U.S. who had their own style and flair. As mid-west teams began to show winning results on the field, the dream of our style being accepted on a national level was quickly becoming a reality.
The life of a mid-west laxer is something that is hard for me to put into black and white. The passion and unique swagger these boys have for the game is nothing short of an obsession. I wouldn’t change the path I took to get where I am for a second. Growing up in the Midwest and playing lacrosse here has installed a love for the game and a sense of pride in our unique lax culture. The expansion of kids starting at younger ages brings a smile to my face every time I drive past a park and see some bros in the making tossing a lax ball. It makes me proud to know that it is my generation that laid the groundwork for the younger guys. Whether we come from the Windy City, The Motor City, The Twin Cities, Mad Town, Indy or The Loop, we all have that mid-west bro swagger that is all our own.
I am from the Northwest suburbs of Chicago where I have grown up my whole life and have loved every second of it. I attended St. Viator High School in Arlington Heights Ill. where I first started playing lacrosse and grew my passion for the game by soaking up ever bit of knowledge I could on and off the field. I now attend Adrian College in Adrian, Michigan and play goalie for the Bulldogs where I have earned the starting spot the past 2 years.