This informant is my roommate who plays on USC’s lacrosse team. I asked him if there was any folk superstitions or traditions widely accepted amongst the sport or team and this is what he told me.
There’s totally two huge beliefs in lax [the “x” looks like a cross, making it la-“cross,” but it is still pronounced like “lax” in “relax”]. Players always try to have the longest “flow” and the most eye-black on their face. Flow refers to the length of someone’s hair and it gained its popularity when a player made a Youtube video about his “flow” making him a better player. I’m not really sure where the eye-black trend started, but lax was first played by the Native Americans against rival tribes, so maybe players think the eye black makes them look more like warriors. Obviously these are just superstitions but they everyone acknowledges their importance so it has become a part of the game.
Obviously these are two folk superstitions that have become popular belief in the sport of lacrosse, even though players know they aren’t true. I’m not entirely true what these beliefs say about the sport itself or the players who participate but I think my informant touched on an important topic regarding the sport’s origin. He said lacrosse was played as a game amongst rival tribes, almost like battle. In some cultures, such as the Norse, hair length was tied to manliness, so maybe the eye-black and flow became popular because it symbolizes masculinity.