Sports News Without Access, Favor, Or Discretion

Or, in its original form, our question was, "Are lacrosse guys more prone to assholery than other sports?" sent to our gal Katie Bakes around 11 p.m. last night, since she's the closest thing we have to an expert on the sport.

Her response was this visceral, pseudo-anthropological screed that I present to you in its raw, e-mailish form:

I think a major difference with lacrosse (and this is probably how you define "assholery" at any rate) is how white and homogenous the sport is, so there's always an added "class" component. People over-cling to this argument a fair amount, which bothers me, but there's no denying that it's a thing.


Not to be a nerd about it, but check out the attached spreadsheet. I got curious and pulled the rosters of a few teams (Yale, Duke, Princeton, and UVA) and you can see how insanely concentrated the player base is, not just by state but by school. All four schools have someone who went to Chaminade, which is a super athletic boys-only Catholic school on Long Island. Ditto Delbarton, in New Jersey. I'm pretty sure Landon, where our poor murderer is from, is all boys ... [Ed. note: It is. Its school motto is "Virtute et non vi," meaning, "By virtue, not by force."] so many of these schools are single sex. I see that UVA (which, by the way, think about the student body at UVA — it is super concentrated in-state, and there are barely any Virginians on the team at all; one of them went to boarding school in CT) has three guys that went to Gilman (two of whom appear to be twins). Gilman is single sex, in Baltimore.


Now, it's not really that single sex has anything to do with it (some of these other schools, like Huntington, are public and coed), but think about the person who grew up in upscale suburban Baltimore, for example, went to an all boys school, was good at sports, got involved in lax, which in these "hotbeds" really is the hot thing, and ultimately got recruited at 4-8 schools, all good ones, most likely, and all places where he probably has former teammates there to tell him how SIIIIIIICK it is. he's kind of bound to be, at best, completely clueless about the larger world. But most of them are harmless. Picture a bunch of dopey smiling Eli Mannings.



(Speaking of "siiiick," it's also the case that laxers can have a certain cadence to their speaking and a swagger to their step that can really rub people the wrong, assholey, douchey way. But that happens in other sports, too. All the baseball guys had their own weird tobacco-dripping twangs and their hats pulled down low; the football guys were southern and often casually racist; even the SWIMMERS got drunker than imaginable and destroyed stuff weekly while at the same time being completely socially inept ... and the hockey guys, ohhh the hockey guys, bless their shiny maroon shirt-covered hearts, have their own long and creepy history — like those seven dudes at Milton who got fellated in the locker room by one girl — and the Junior Hockey Bible, which is where I learned a lot about alarming sexual positions and about the concept of the "donkey calculator". Sadly it appears to have been pulled from the Internet, but you can get a sense of its early iterations here; anything before April 2003 works, kind of, although the sex directory/thesaurus I cannot locate.)



I don't need to tell any Deadspin readers that athletes behaving badly can be found anywhere you look. (Non-athletes, too!) But I think laxers, concentrated where they are geographically and socioeconomically, can come across — or, in a sort of chicken/egg situation, be perceived as coming across -– in a certain blustering way. A lot of it is insularity: the new lacrosse freshman on campus probably knows half his team already, as well as half the women's team. (Those Gilman UVA twins no doubt knew the various Roland Park and Bryn Mawr girls on the women's team before they got to campus.) Having played Jersey highschool lax, I myself was happily part of this crowd. Contrast that to, say, some soccer recruit from Kansas who arrives without much of any social network and is immediately confronted by a pack of partying prep school kids who all grew up together in Greenwich. Kneejerk and without much substantiation he's thinking god, I HATE those guys. And then one of those guys kills his pretty lady friend and it's like man, maybe he was right.


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