Last August, 60 all-star high-schoolers visited Beaverton, OR to participate in THE RIDE, the ultimate lacrosse experience. On staff were Kyle Harrison (Johns Hopkins grad, 2005 Tewaaraton Trophy as National Player of the Year and founder of the LXM Pro Tour) and Max Seibald (Cornell grad and 2009 Tewaaraton winner). After a day of drills, Harrison and Seibald called the kids into a large circle. "Now is your time to ask us questions," said Seibald. "Anything about school or lax you want."
"What do you do other than lacrosse?" asked a spotty faced kid from some eastern state.
"Other than lacrosse? What is there?" replied Harrison.
The assembled youth cheered. Their hero had affirmed a lifestyle and suggested that in being "more than a game," lacrosse could also (potentially) form a viable career path. That was, of course, a bold-faced lie.
Very few guys make money from lacrosse. However, what the sport lacks in economic opportunity, it makes up for in style. Within the pantheon of shorts, those worn for lax and by lax bros have no equal. The garment is, unequivocally, the great high/low play in menswear history, equipping generations of preps for seamless field-to-kegger movement.
In the '90s, the two giants of the game, Brine and STX, produced lax shorts. Brine’s offerings were more nuanced, with a longer inseam than outseam and broader tapping finishing at a notched hem. STX's version was more akin to the standard Champion mesh short, though equally covetable to the Brine style depending on what school was desired. School, of course, was important. In West Hartford, CT, for example, Towson shorts were king, followed by Hopkins, 'Cuse and UVA—a hierarchy established, at times, by obscurity with minor concern for actual program success. If one was lucky enough to swipe a wide collection from local prep schools, he was a god.
Thanks to the brilliant minds at Lacrosse Unlimited, lax shorts are back. The retailer has bridged the unthinkable, tying bro culture to Internet memes. Fancy shorts with cats flying in outer space? Lacrosse Unlimited has realized that dream. The store also carries shorts that celebrate the great bro pastimes like beer pong and wearing seersucker. Of course, college team shorts are also available.
The one slight in the current lax short market is the lack of authentic game togs. Warrior's throwback Denver kit would be an instant success. Given the triumph of the Thompson twins, it's remarkable that Albany shorts are impossible to find. While Nike does offer practice shorts for most of its schools, the game shorts remain outside the scope of retail. So too do shorts from both pro leagues—the MLL and NLL—prompting the question: Why miss a golden opportunity?
Hunting the perfect pair requires dexterous keyboarding and Google savvy. Lacrosse shorts are not a game for the timid. There is an art to the perfect purchase, a deft balance of wit and understanding of the sport's insider-y sense of good, better, best. Once cracked, it makes Michael Bastian's understanding of prep seem outright pedestrian. Sometimes it is simply a measure of picking the most outrageous pair possible.
Which brings us to a final important point: What to wear with lacrosse shorts exactly? Pennies are preferable. Weathered T-shirts or those cut neatly at the waist (why bother with movement impairing excess fabric?) are a strong secondary option. If one decides to wear lax shorts on a date, pair with an Oxford. And, if one decides to pay homage to the pioneers of reverse layering, don lax shorts under a pair of cut off khakis.
Check out the gallery above for the Four Pins market guide to the best lax shorts available right now.