This one’s for the recent college grads out there grinding. Especially those who are underemployed. The summer after you graduate can be a total shock to your system, especially if you don’t graduate with a job lined up. It can be hard to live up to society’s expectations of postgrads, especially with the stereotype that lacrosse players walk off the field and straight onto a Wall Street trading floor. We’ve even got Ben Reeves showing us up by curing cancer.
What no one expects is for you to become a lax bum. Bums exist in all kinds of sports, especially skiing and surfing. These are people who work just enough to keep their checking accounts hovering around $40 so they can devote all their free time to the sport they love. So if it works for young bros in Breckenridge and Santa Cruz, why can’t there be lax bums?
If you’re bold enough to not enter the workforce in a traditional sense, there are ways to make it work. As someone who has bounced around between a few jobs in the year since I graduated, I consider myself an expert on the topic. Here’s how to make it work.
Find the extent to which you can monetize lacrosse.
A lot of big-time college players find they can get by just on private instruction, by running either individual workouts or clinics with young players. Our pals Ryan Brown and Deemer Class run RBDC lacrosse, a series of clinics focused on shooting, for clubs, school teams and individuals throughout the country. Maybe you can’t sting corners at 100+ mph? You can still make a pretty penny working with youth players who are looking to get better.
Or maybe you’re an all-star stringer? There’s good money in that too. Even if you can’t get IG-famous, your local lacrosse shop might be hiring.
Contact club teams in your area and see if they need coaches. Strong club programs will pay coaches in the triple digits for each tournament. With a minimal commitment, it’s a good way to make some walking around money for the summer.
If they’re not hiring, look up the people who run tournaments and see if they’re looking for staff. Whipping a golf cart around to refill coolers in a neon t-shirt and a sun hat is the ultimate lax bum gig.
Finally, look into coaching high school or even college. With the school year drawing near, a lot of schools will be looking to fill vacancies. This is the best way to channel your competitive spirit while staying involved in the game.
Get a job
This might seem counter-intuitive to the spirit of this blog but you need some form of income. Notice, however, that this is second on the list. Make your job work around your lacrosse gigs. Good options are paid internships, temp or part-time jobs doing things like data entry or office bitch work. Anything that’ll keep your gas in your tank, food in your belly and enough scratch leftover to crack sodas all weekend.
If you can’t bear the office, the recreation industry is a great option. I briefly worked renting out kayaks and had a blast. An old teammate of mine had the best summer of his life working at a jetski rental place in Ocean City. Plus perks like taking your buddies out on the water after a shift can’t be beat.
Education is another great field to consider. The world needs teachers and programs like Teach for America will take kids fresh out of college with little or no teaching experience and put them in underserved school districts around the country. If you get shipped off to a non-traditional lacrosse hotbed like the South or Midwest, you have an opportunity to become a leading figure in the local lacrosse community as a coach while shaping young minds by day. And getting off by 3 with summers off complements coaching and playing perfectly.
Talk to everybody.
I don’t like the term networking but keeping up with old teammates, coaches and friends can yield some unexpected opportunities. They may know of a great coaching vacancy or club opportunity that you’d be perfect for. It never hurts to ask. At the very worst you get to reconnect with an old friend. And if they’re offended by you trying to use them a professional connection, then you probably weren’t that close to start with.
Example: I went to vote in my hometown last November and ran into a family friend who was volunteering at the polling station who’s involved with local access TV. We talked about their sports division and he ended up setting me up as a color commentator for high school games. Now I have a reel should I decide to pursue announcing. Totally random connection but nothing would have happened if I were too shy to discuss it.
What not to do
DO NOT sell drugs.
DO NOT record a mixtape, unless you really spit that fire.
DO NOT start a competing blog. Please.
And most importantly, DO NOT ever feel the need to rationalize your decisions to anyone. When someone asks the dreaded “what do you do?” list off your hustles proudly and let people ask you questions if they don’t get it. You don’t need qualifiers like “for the time being” or “just to pay the bills.” If you’re happy on your path, you don’t need anyone’s permission.
The truth is, no one has it all figured out right after college. Your friends who went to work a week after graduating might have good salaries, cool apartments and bottles in the club, but many of them are miserable at work and will be working somewhere else in a year. Anyone who tells you you’re doing it wrong is probably just projecting insecurities about their own situation.
So if you love lacrosse and don’t know what you want to do with your career, don’t be afraid to bum it. These are the years of no obligations, no responsibilities except keeping yourself fed. Chase the game you love without inhibition or regret. Be a lax bum.