Sensational Pro lacrosse player & marketing personality, Connor “Con Bro Chill” Martin, to visit Harlem Lacrosse Program; two worlds of modern lacrosse culture set to collide at Frederick Douglas Academy.
“I receive divine inspiration from the flow gods,” a shrill voice cries out to its YouTube audience. “Speak to us Flowseidon!” Millions in the lacrosse world have seen the videos. The speaker, a blond-locked, blue-eyed lacrosse player whose surfer appearance initially screams San Diego more than Garden City, has been dominating the national image of lax culture for the past year. The recent shift in marketing strategy for lacrosse products has been well-documented. Nowadays, ads for lacrosse heads and gloves reads like something out of Maxim Magazine. Buy the gear, get tough, and get the ladies. The colors are rad, the patterns are obnoxious, and the response from teenage boys (who comprise a significant market share for the goods) has been explosive. New equipment and sports apparel for any novice player can easily cost over $300 at your nearest sporting goods store. As a participant gains experience, the relentless chase for more stylish shorts, custom-designed mesh, and flashier metal shafts only escalates. In the same way that basketball players swap critiques of their “Jordans” and “Lebrons”, lax bros – a term used widely to describe boys who carry themselves with all the necessary lacrosse confidence and swagger – are constantly keeping up with the Joneses. Even hair matters, as players sport longer and longer “flow”, sometimes so much that it dangles out the backs of helmets. One player provides a jocular perspective on the rampant materialization and machismo of his game – Connor “Con Bro Chill” Martin. Martin (who plays professionally for the Denver Outlaws of the MLL) crafted the character “Con Bro Chill” in college just for kicks. After a series of well-known YouTube videos, his running jokes on the importance of “flow” materialized into a profitable selling persona.
Meanwhile, in Central Harlem at the intersection of 149th Street and Adam Clayton Powell Blvd, Simon Cataldo has been building a lacrosse program focused on everything but the gear. Using lacrosse as its primary vehicle, his organization – The Harlem Lacrosse & Leadership Corporation- strives to help children with documented behavioral, emotional and learning difficulties to rise above and become “effective leaders in the Harlem community”. With academic tracking, mandatory study halls, hiking trips and even participation in food drives for the homeless, the group has become one of the premier tools for positively affecting these students at Frederick Douglass Academy. For most on the team, ranging from 6th grade all the way through 12th, the only lacrosse gear and clothing they get comes from outside donations.
Strangely, students in the program – all of whom are Black and/or Hispanic – are obsessed with Con Bro Chill. They watch the videos. They jokingly talk to one another with mock Southern-California surfer voices. Some even speak of attending his alma mater, Chapman University in California, over traditional lacrosse powerhouses in the east. What is going on in Harlem? Come to Frederick Douglass Academy on Monday, August 8th at noon, and see what happens when Con Bro Chill addresses the state of lacrosse at the newest, most energetic, and unlikeliest of lacrosse communities in New York.
When: Monday, August 8 from 12 Noon until 2:30 PM
Where: The Gymnasium of Frederick Douglass Academy (Harlem), located at 2581 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd. New York, NY, 10038
(Take the 3 train north to the last stop, exit the station, turn right.)
Contact: Simon Cataldo, (978)-790-5659, [email protected]
For more information on the program, please visit: www.HarlemLacrosse.org
For more information on Connor “Con Bro Chill” Martin, please visit www.conbrochill.com