“Lax Bro” Culture

“Lax Bro” Culture

New postby HHS '64 on Wed Jun 13, 2018 8:41 am

On 30 May, I posted an opinion concerning the “Lax Bro” culture on the enduring ESPN thread.

This new thread results from the following (12 June) CollegeCrosse article: https://www.collegecrosse.com/2018/6/12 ... y-research. Its headline alone says a lot (and it’s BAD news) — ”Alcohol, marijuana, cocaine use highest among college lacrosse players in new NCAA study . . . This doesn’t shine a good light on the sport” — about our sport’s state and culture. Of course, this isn’t really news. Unfortunately, additional older studies suggest it has been a present part of the intercollegiate lacrosse ethos for some time. However, it has obvious, and significantly adverse, potential. No matter how earnestly and assiduously coaches, parents, and other mentors work to have our student-athletes understand the concomitant personal dangers and the program risks, I fear it’s only a matter of time until there is a further serious incident that results in another media/faculty/administrator “open season” on the “evils” of the sport.

Can anything more be done to eliminate — or even to reduce — this clear and present danger?
SGT James Regan
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Army Ranger, KIA Iraq, 2007

LT Brendan Looney
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Re: “Lax Bro” Culture

New postby veryoldgoose on Wed Jun 13, 2018 9:10 am

This is an expensive solution, but one I know some schools have implemented- mandatory random drug tests throughout the year. Not just NCAA tests (because lets be honest, the NCAA doesn't waste money testing lacrosse players). Schools testing their players at random and often with a one strike and you are out rule. You could test say 3-5 kids each time say over 10 times a year. I know of a certain d3 school that has gone that route.

That said, my proposal doesn't fix the alcohol problem. That is a whole other bag of worms.
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Re: “Lax Bro” Culture

New postby dmaclaxnut11 on Wed Jun 13, 2018 9:26 am

Another bag of worms is actually putting it mildly. As long as we continue to promote and encourage the use of alcohol and quickly pardon drunken behavior nothing is going to change. (It's quite okay to go on a few day binge after winning the Stanley Cup, eh?)
The beginning of the article ends by saying things have actually improved, but the rest dwells on how big the problem is. I'm actually surprised at how low the percentages are, doesn't sound like that big of a problem to me and the athletes are doing better than the non athletes (regarding this subject). :confusion-shrug:
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Re: “Lax Bro” Culture

New postby HHS '64 on Wed Jun 13, 2018 9:48 am

veryoldgoose wrote:This is an expensive solution, but one I know some schools have implemented- mandatory random drug tests throughout the year. Not just NCAA tests (because lets be honest, the NCAA doesn't waste money testing lacrosse players). Schools testing their players at random and often with a one strike and you are out rule. You could test say 3-5 kids each time say over 10 times a year. I know of a certain d3 school that has gone that route.

That said, my proposal doesn't fix the alcohol problem. That is a whole other bag of worms.




For whatever it's worth, the Navy implemented this approach in the early-1980's (as I recall) as key elements of the "Not on my ship, not on my watch, not in my Navy" program, and it had excellent results.
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Duke Lacrosse ’99-’02
Academic All-ACC
Army Ranger, KIA Iraq, 2007

LT Brendan Looney
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Navy SEAL, KIA Afghanistan, 2010

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Re: “Lax Bro” Culture

New postby bullone on Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:05 am

Actually it was the mid-70's. In 1973-74 I was a Squadron Department Head and I'd guess 40% of our troops were smokin' dope. Then we got serious. Tested EVERYBODY and went to Zero Tolerance....pop positive and you're out. In 1978 I was a Squadron XO. The Skipper was very fond of saying "My 225 Sailors are terrific....your 5 dopers suck." The XO gets the problem children but that's how fast we fixed the problem once we decided it was REALLY important. Just sayin.'
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Re: “Lax Bro” Culture

New postby XXXXXXX on Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:20 am

Every year this NCAA study comes out and we hear the same things how lacrosse players are the biggest offenders. I am sure that they drink to excess and a percentage of them use drugs. However I wonder about this survey and I don't want to sound like some over protective parent, I am not naive. How many of these athletes are being honest, and I mean non lacrosse players? When I was in college 1980's, lacrosse players were actively involved is all of the above, however the football, rugby, soccer, ice hockey, baseball, swimming all had just as many parties, and seemed to do the same things we were doing. I think the lacrosse players may just be more honest or at least not afraid to take this survey.

I will also say that I know for a fact that many teams have a 24 hour rule in season where they don't drink within 24 hours of any formal lacrosse activity. This means they basically get to drink on Saturday nights in season, now I know they get after it on Saturdays, but most college kids drink several nights a week. This is just another attempt by the NCAA to show they perform some actual purpose.

Alcohol and Drug abuse knows no boundaries, it is prevalent in our society as a whole. It is a big problem and causes a lot of pain. However the men that lead college lacrosse programs are aware of it and I believe they do a tremendous job of working with the young men they coach about the perils of a risky lifestyle. For that I am thankful.
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Re: “Lax Bro” Culture

New postby CHCfan1976 on Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:23 am

Is there an attorney out there who can answer this: in a state such as Colorado where marijuana is legal, can a student athlete be penalized if he/she fails a drug test?
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Re: “Lax Bro” Culture

New postby dmaclaxnut11 on Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:37 am

I'm no lawyer but I'd bet big money the answer to that is yes. No different than a place of employment that prohibits marijuana use, state law doesn't matter. Those same folks can belly up to the bar and drink themselves into oblivion, but that pot smoker....well, he's the problem. :doh:
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Re: “Lax Bro” Culture

New postby tenyaada on Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:41 am

Much like a person on probation, you give up certain rights when you chose to be a college athlete. Competition as a member of a college team isn't a right....it's a privilege & IF player A has agreed to fully embrace the Institution & NCAA rules.....random testing & results of this testing ought to be final. It's great way to eliminate those "5 dopers" who choose the road that seems to be way too prevalent.
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Re: “Lax Bro” Culture

New postby PALaxOff on Wed Jun 13, 2018 11:15 am

As with all these studies that try and quantify a diverse demographic there are statistical and demographic issues. I am not sticking my head in the sand but I would need more info. For examples doesn't the study say the athletes are much lower then the general population for drinking and drugs?

Statistically: For example 1 response in lacrosse is statistically higher since it is:
1 out of 3500 D 1 Men's Lacrosse
Versus
1 out of 11000 for D 1 Men's Football
1 out of 7400 for D 1 Men's Baseball
1 out of 6100 for D 1 Men's Soccer
1 out of 4800 for D1 Men's Basketball.

These are rough participation numbers.

Demographically: I'd be willing to bet Lacrosse players are more willing to answer honestly for less fear of repercussions then some other sports. The Marijuana culture in the NBA doesn't magically start there rookie season,

Finally with the drug testing for NCAA playoffs why isn't there a more lax bros being disqualified based on those numbers.
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Re: “Lax Bro” Culture

New postby HHS '64 on Wed Jun 13, 2018 11:15 am

dmaclaxnut11 wrote:The beginning of the article ends by saying things have actually improved, but the rest dwells on how big the problem is. I'm actually surprised at how low the percentages are, doesn't sound like that big of a problem to me and the athletes are doing better than the non athletes (regarding this subject). :confusion-shrug:




Well, dmac, I agree things have improved (I actually reread several recent NCAA reports before posting), but I believe the problem is still substantial and still obvious. To illustrate this:
- Five sophomores in a dorm at Big U get really drunk and/or high and then do a/some truly stupid, harmful things . . . and it’s a general problem re colleges and college aged males.
- But let those five guys, doing precisely the same thing, be lacrosse players (or, for that matter, fraternity members) . . . and it’s a much more focused and SERIOUS problem for the sport (or for the Greek system).
This results, in my opinion, from the fact that no broadly and publicly influential individual is going to point out that the issues of illicit drug use, of alcohol abuse, and of concomitant misbehavior are — factually — more pervasive in the aggregate undergraduate population than among student-athletes. They certainly should do so, but they won’t.

I know we’ll agree that it’s not fair, but the much of the press as well as other uber liberal/PC/social-justice/safe-space/trigger-warning acolytes (for example, think of the Gang of 88 and the mainstream media and during the Duke Lacrosse Hoax) will jump all over the “helmet sports,” and particularly lacrosse, at every opportunity. The fact is, many of these people dislike intercollegiate athletics, but especially “violent” contact sports; consequentially, they are predisposed to use their “bully pulpits” to criticize and to denigrate such endeavors, their participants, and their supporters . . . and this largely shapes public perceptions.

Of course, the fundamental, underlying problem is the terribly inaccurate and unjust “hooligan” image we (competitive lacrosse) unfortunately have. Sadly, I know many good, well educated, very successful individuals who believe our sport as a bastion of entitlement, arrogance, poor citizenship, and irresponsibility. Without doubt they’re wrong, but they are nevertheless influential.

So here’s a pop-quiz, if you randomly ask one of your classmates, colleagues, neighbors, or fellow country club members to name one or two people associated with lacrosse, is he likely to say Tillman, Shay, Danowski, Toomey, Reeves, Spencer, Wolf, Pannell, Looney or Regan . . . or to mention the Duke Three or Huguely?
Last edited by HHS '64 on Thu Jun 14, 2018 8:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Duke Lacrosse ’99-’02
Academic All-ACC
Army Ranger, KIA Iraq, 2007

LT Brendan Looney
Navy Lacrosse ’01-’04
Spirit of Tewaaraton Award
Navy SEAL, KIA Afghanistan, 2010

May God bless them and their families always
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Re: “Lax Bro” Culture

New postby Typical Lax Dad on Wed Jun 13, 2018 11:50 am

dmaclaxnut11 wrote:Another bag of worms is actually putting it mildly. As long as we continue to promote and encourage the use of alcohol and quickly pardon drunken behavior nothing is going to change. (It's quite okay to go on a few day binge after winning the Stanley Cup, eh?)
The beginning of the article ends by saying things have actually improved, but the rest dwells on how big the problem is. I'm actually surprised at how low the percentages are, doesn't sound like that big of a problem to me and the athletes are doing better than the non athletes (regarding this subject). :confusion-shrug:


It is like this joke: What happened to the lacrosse player that got drunk?......Nothing.
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Re: “Lax Bro” Culture

New postby b1w7o9y7h on Wed Jun 13, 2018 11:57 am

This thread will likely get interesting. No easy answers.

The sad and scary thing about alcohol/drug misuse ... abuse ... and dependency (the nice word for addiction) is ... what an equal opportunity and insidiously sneaky destroyer of mind, body, and soul it is. And while most who choose to drink and drug may end up being just "a vigorous college athlete partier who studied hard, played hard, kicked ass and moved on with their post collegiate lives to success and happiness" ... there are those chosen few of us (more than you'd think, and myself included) who wake up one day to find themselves down a rabbit hole, with no trail of crumbs or GPS to lead you back to...yourself. The you who you were before you were an alcoholic. Before you were an addict. Before the loss of hope, dreams, and a life worth living.

For 23.5 years I've been clean and sober (it took multiple rehabs, relapses, outpatient). The decade before that I was a kid who excelled at prep school (and "partied"), did the same in college (and "partied") and by any medical definition was a chemically dependent human being (um, addict) before starting my junior year at college. My school had a reputation for "study hard, play hard, party hard". And I did that so well I...failed at all but the party part. And when lacrosse got in the way of the good times rolling, I quit. When studies got in the way of the good times rolling, I didn't. And that continued when joining the real world, as I used and abused for 5 more years until my first intervention and rehab. But, hey, if y'all could just see me now. A splendid example of a carbon based life form!

Today I'm at peace with my journey, but do harbor the residual guilt of having let myself and my teammates down. I still have vivid dreams once or twice a year where the game is starting, I'm in the locker room, and I can't remember the combination to my locker to get my gear on. The frantic and helpless and sad feeling in my dream is so palpable I'm always relieved to wake up. It doesn't take Sigmund Freud to decipher the meaning there...

I was a "lax bro" who got broken. If only I knew then what I know now I might have been able to find a better path. It's not most of the "lax bro's" who I worry about. It's the chosen few who - not even knowing it yet - will get to be lax bro's just like me. Drawing that short straw isn't something I'd wish on an enemy...
"Sports do not build character. They reveal it." John Wooden
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Re: “Lax Bro” Culture

New postby HHS '64 on Wed Jun 13, 2018 12:05 pm

@b1w7o9y7h:

I’m humbled by your post and, much more important, by your journey. With great respect . . .
SGT James Regan
Duke Lacrosse ’99-’02
Academic All-ACC
Army Ranger, KIA Iraq, 2007

LT Brendan Looney
Navy Lacrosse ’01-’04
Spirit of Tewaaraton Award
Navy SEAL, KIA Afghanistan, 2010

May God bless them and their families always
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Re: “Lax Bro” Culture

New postby dmaclaxnut11 on Wed Jun 13, 2018 12:13 pm

Make that two of us. Great post, b1, it's the kind that makes LP a great place to hang out.
Congrats, think you've got it in the bag at this point. I know it's a never ending battle but it's not unwinnable. (and you have to put two Ns in that word because? wtf with the English language????)
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Re: “Lax Bro” Culture

New postby CPALax on Wed Jun 13, 2018 12:22 pm

I would love to see the schools and the NCAA focus a little less on being 'punitive' and more on being helpful. On testing positive, why 'one and done'? How about positive once, and we have a meeting with the head coach and counselor, and parents if the student permits it. A second positive test, perhaps mandatory continual counseling and a suspension?
More hardcore substances might require a bit more effort.
Why close the door to any student athlete without trying something useful and rehabilitative first?
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Re: “Lax Bro” Culture

New postby randyrad on Wed Jun 13, 2018 12:47 pm

HHS '64 wrote:
veryoldgoose wrote:This is an expensive solution, but one I know some schools have implemented- mandatory random drug tests throughout the year. Not just NCAA tests (because lets be honest, the NCAA doesn't waste money testing lacrosse players). Schools testing their players at random and often with a one strike and you are out rule. You could test say 3-5 kids each time say over 10 times a year. I know of a certain d3 school that has gone that route.

That said, my proposal doesn't fix the alcohol problem. That is a whole other bag of worms.

For whatever it's worth, the Navy implemented this approach in the early-1980's (as I recall) as key elements of the "Not on my ship, not on my watch, not in my Navy" program, and it had excellent results.

Yep. Random testing works. The FAA requires a program very similar to the Navy's for air traffic controllers, flightcrew & maint personnel. It also includes random breathalyzer testing. It adds an expense for the employer but also removes a burden.

Thank you b1w7o9y7h.
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Re: “Lax Bro” Culture

New postby veryoldgoose on Wed Jun 13, 2018 12:55 pm

CPA,

The d3 school I was alluding to I believe actually has that system. First strike a suspension and mandatory counseling while a second strike is removal from the team. Your point raises an interesting question: are we more concerned about deterrence or helping out those with addictions? My guess it that most college lax players who are doing drugs are doing them recreationally and not from some sort of addiction. If that intuition is right, then the one strike and out rule makes sense. It is a harsh deterrent that will likely have compliance effects as long as you aren't an addict.

Now, that rule doesn't work for the person who is a habitual/addicted user. Deterrence doesn't work. In that case, counseling and treatment are the necessary steps to help that athlete out.

No easy answer here. But myself personally, I am a fan of the 1 strike you are out rule. As others have noted, it works and works extremely well. Not necessarily for every athlete, but the vast majority of them. A strong rule can work.

Again, this is just for drug tests. Another complication is that some drugs are in your system longer than others. Cocaine is not in your system long. So, more random tests need to be done on a weekend or early Monday morning to catch those "weekend warriors" after fall practice or a game. The trick is not testing the whole team at once. Rather, frequent tests at random of a small group of kids. The randomness and frequency of tests is what creates increased compliance.
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Re: “Lax Bro” Culture

New postby primitiveskills on Wed Jun 13, 2018 1:24 pm

b1w7o9y7h wrote:This thread will likely get interesting. No easy answers.

The sad and scary thing about alcohol/drug misuse ... abuse ... and dependency (the nice word for addiction) is ... what an equal opportunity and insidiously sneaky destroyer of mind, body, and soul it is. And while most who choose to drink and drug may end up being just "a vigorous college athlete partier who studied hard, played hard, kicked ass and moved on with their post collegiate lives to success and happiness" ... there are those chosen few of us (more than you'd think, and myself included) who wake up one day to find themselves down a rabbit hole, with no trail of crumbs or GPS to lead you back to...yourself. The you who you were before you were an alcoholic. Before you were an addict. Before the loss of hope, dreams, and a life worth living.

For 23.5 years I've been clean and sober (it took multiple rehabs, relapses, outpatient). The decade before that I was a kid who excelled at prep school (and "partied"), did the same in college (and "partied") and by any medical definition was a chemically dependent human being (um, addict) before starting my junior year at college. My school had a reputation for "study hard, play hard, party hard". And I did that so well I...failed at all but the party part. And when lacrosse got in the way of the good times rolling, I quit. When studies got in the way of the good times rolling, I didn't. And that continued when joining the real world, as I used and abused for 5 more years until my first intervention and rehab. But, hey, if y'all could just see me now. A splendid example of a carbon based life form!

Today I'm at peace with my journey, but do harbor the residual guilt of having let myself and my teammates down. I still have vivid dreams once or twice a year where the game is starting, I'm in the locker room, and I can't remember the combination to my locker to get my gear on. The frantic and helpless and sad feeling in my dream is so palpable I'm always relieved to wake up. It doesn't take Sigmund Freud to decipher the meaning there...

I was a "lax bro" who got broken. If only I knew then what I know now I might have been able to find a better path. It's not most of the "lax bro's" who I worry about. It's the chosen few who - not even knowing it yet - will get to be lax bro's just like me. Drawing that short straw isn't something I'd wish on an enemy...

Seriously one of the best posts I've seen on this board. Thanks for telling your story. Its one that every HS and college kid should read.
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Re: “Lax Bro” Culture

New postby KMartin on Wed Jun 13, 2018 2:29 pm

The other thing I would do, which is what many employers do, is to give no punishment at all to anyone who comes forward voluntarily and says he/she has a problem and needs help.
The ends pre-exist in the means
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