Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Connor Martin - The celebration generation

Alright, after reading a great post by The Laxist and some great banter from a gamut of lacrosse fans and media folk about Connor Martin's celebration this weekend, I thought I'd chime in.
Like Andrew McKay, The Laxist, I think there's absolutely nothing wrong with the emotion Martin showed. To be quite frank, seeing a celebration like that is great to see on a number of levels.
Lets face it, this is the NLL's 25th anniversary and it's still trying to find an identity with the average Joe sports fan.
Yes, there's a rabid and very dedicated fan base that is in tune with the traditional and spiritual aspects lacrosse has to offer. I understand that and appreciate it, so I get why people say a celebration like Martin's is not wanted in a great sport like lacrosse.
But this is 2011. It's time to merge the old school with the new.
For as long as I can remember, lacrosse players have always been those humble, quiet, blue-collar professional athletes, revered in their respective communities.
That hasn't and will never change.
But just as there's been a shift in personality among newer generations coming into the work world, the same trend has occurred in professional sports. While the boomers are straight-laced, many wearing suits to their place of work, we're a generation that expresses ourselves through how we dress and act in a non-traditional sense. And yes, Martin, like a Chad Johnson in the NFL, or  Canada's John Axford has with his newly found MLB following, is a reflection of the new generation.
Is his celebration, YouTube videos and alter ego Con Bro Chill a bad thing?
Hell no.
Like everything else, there's a delicate balance. While lacrosse can be sold to many with its tradition and spirituality, it needs to embrace some change and allow its players to be personalities so average Joe sports fan will come to the arena. To be quite honest, it's already happening through Twitter as written by McKay already. Traditionalists may not like it but if they want their sport to be more mainstream, they have to give a little to get a bit more.
As for the celebration in question Toronto Rock hostess with the mostess Shannon Kelly tweeted about how she did not like Martin's showmanship.

"@ he shouldn't have done it. Fist pump, a chest bump, suuuuure, I bet he's excited! But that just puts a sour taste in my mouth."

Again, there's a delicate balance between sheer excitement and being an all out showboat.
But let's face it, Martin likes to break it down on the dance floor, as you can tell from the above YouTube video link and it's something he always wanted to do.

"  very pre meditated. Been a dream of mine for years! RT @: @ ask him. wondering if the jump was premeditated or showboating"

To be quite honest, I'd rather see excitement expressed in this way, opposed to circus acts like this soccer team - please click here.
So to conclude this long-winded rant, I encourage Martin and other lacrosse players to keep bringing their emotion and bravado to the rink. We want to see your personalities come out on and off the playing surface so we can further sell this great sport.

- Darryl Smart

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