PHOTO COURTESY OF PREMIER LACROSSE LEAGUE

Grant Ament's Chilly Ankles and Other Lacrosse Fashion Faux Pas


Grant Ament’s phone blew up last summer after the first day of Archers training camp in Herriman, Utah. The deluge of notifications didn’t derive from some highlight reel play that the Premier Lacrosse League’s social media team clipped. Instead, they were about what Ament was wearing.

Or rather, what he wasn’t.

“Rocking chilly ankles,” one commenter wrote.

“Only the men with CALVES wear low cut socks in lacrosse,” another chimed in.

The debate about Ament’s barely-there socks and their place in the sport hasn’t ceased. Instagram posts in which his ankles are visible elicit opinions that range from plaudits to outrage.

“Ankle socks are horrendous, wear mid-calf socks for the good of lacrosse players everywhere,” someone responded to a picture of Ament training in May. 

“Anyone but the dude in ankle socks please,” was one comment to The Lacrosse Network’s Instagram post earlier this week that featured a graphic of Ament, Lyle Thompson and Jeff Teat and asked fans for their MVP pick.

Ankle socks. Tucked-in jerseys. Shorter shorts. Large gold chains. Sweatpants in 100-degree heat. There are no shortage of perceived lax fashion faux paus that have drawn the ire, and some in some cases adulation, of pro lacrosse fans and opponents alike. In several instances, objectors to the status quo have become trendsetters. The styles stem from personal preference, superstition or sometimes both in a league where individual expression reigns.

“It’s something different, so naturally, it’s gonna create some sort of fight,” Ament theorized about the reaction to his socks. “I think everybody’s entitled to wear what they think looks good and feels good.” 

That philosophy has some grounding in science. There’s even a name for it. According to a report published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology in July of 2012, “enclothed cognition” describes “the systematic influence that clothes have on the wearer's psychological processes.”

“When you were playing lacrosse and you’re wearing your practice pinnie versus your game jersey, there seems to be a difference of energy for when you’re wearing that game jersey,” Massachusetts General Hospital clinical psychologist Jonathan Jenkins, who played lacrosse at Division III Guilford College (N.C.), told USA Lacrosse Magazine’s Matt Hamilton in a 2017 article. “You’re playing the same sport and doing the same activities, but because you’re actually putting your game jersey on, you feel a little bit more hype and swagger in your step.”


“I think everybody’s entitled to wear what they think looks good and feels good.”

— Grant Ament


Dillon Ward, known for his unique style when he steps out to the ball from a high arc, wears ankle socks, but you might not notice them under his baggy black sweatpants. The Waterdogs goalie also dons a matching black long sleeve shirt and looks like he brings his work from home attire on the road to the PLL’s various tour stops. While sweatpants are hardly a new phenomenon for goalies — they’re also a trademark of Chrome’s John Galloway, who in recent years has opted for a more streamlined cut — Ward’s persistent devotion to the full-length get-up stands out the most.

A native Orangeville, Ontario, and product of The Hill Academy, Ward wore sweats at times throughout his youth and high school career given the temperate climate of his hometown. The habit didn’t fully take root until his senior year at Bellarmine in 2013, when he became the first All-American in program history.

Ward started the season opener that year at Robert Morris on the bench. But after the starting goalie allowed seven goals against only four saves, Ward — clad in sweats and a long sleeve tee — warmed up. He stayed that way. He recorded nine saves and allowed just one goal to help seal a 9-8 win. He started the rest of the season, during which his save percentage leaped to 66.2 percent — the best in all of Division I — after posting a 51-percent mark in his junior year.

“I did this by just letting all the little things go, not focusing so much on the details, and just playing relaxed,” Ward wrote in a Instagram post last April about the jump in performance.

There is at least one thing he’s held onto. “I’ve worn sweats ever since,” Ward noted earlier this week. He’s looked comfortable compiling a resume that few goalies have with two All-World Team selections, including in 2014 when he won a gold medal at the FIL World Championship with Team Canada and was named MVP of the tournament.

Despite those credentials, Ward served as a backup on the Chaos last summer after transitioning from the MLL and the Denver Outlaws. The team’s starter, two-time PLL goalie of the year Blaze Riorden, wore Jordan sweatpants when he scored on of the most iconic goals in NCAA tournament history for Albany. Alas, he’s since dropped the practice in the PLL.  

Ward struggled at first once he got the starting nod for the Waterdogs, but more recently, he’s seemed to regain his All-World form. He’s posted a save percentage of 60 percent or better in the past three games — all wins for the resurgent Waterdogs, who enter the final weekend of the regular season at Albany in second place.








On the other end of the fashion spectrum, Redwoods defenseman Garrett Epple started tucking in his jersey during Week 3 of the 2019 season. He just thought it looked better. The snug fit of the PLL Adidas jerseys and most players’ lack of shoulder pads lends itself to the look that’s more Messi than Mikey Powell. By Week 5, the rest of the Woods defense followed Epple’s lead. After they topped the undefeated Whipsnakes that weekend, the style stuck.

Players throughout the league have latched on.

Few have more so than Atlas rookie Jake Carraway. After he scored on Galloway with some high heat from the high righty wing in Colorado Springs, Carraway claimed the goal by thrusting his hands towards his hips.

“That’s fully tucked, baby,” he explained on the PLL’s vlog about the celebration.

The attire choice for the 2021 Tewaaraton finalist, who set the Georgetown program record for points and goals, originated in part from a mistake most can relate to. Before the opening weekend at Gillette Stadium, Carraway requested a jersey size that turned out to be a little too big. It and his overall play in a 18-6 loss to the Archers felt sloppy.

Carraway, who also started working this summer as an investment banking analyst at Barclays, resolved to treat Week 2 in Atlanta like a business trip. He tucked in the front half of his jersey in the hope that it might make him feel a little more aerodynamic. It worked. Carraway tallied five points, including a two-point goal, in a win over the Redwoods.

“After that it was more of an OCD thing for me,” Carraway said. “I guess I got to tuck it every game now.”




PHOTO COURTESY OF PREMIER LACROSSE LEAGUE


During the next weekend of play in Baltimore, he fully tucked in his jersey and proceeded to put up seven points in two games. He hasn’t looked back. Others have taken notice. The Lacrosse Network host Mikey Diggs, aka @diggstape, who’s also an Atlas supporter, changed his name on Twitter to “Fully Tucked Carraway.” PLL media specialist Joe Keegan created a graphic of a gauge with pictures of Carraway that range from “untucked” to “fully tucked.”

The increased attention the tuck has received has coincided with Carraway’s sensational play. He’s registered 19 points in the past seven games and has become a rookie of the year candidate on the rebuilt Atlas alongside teammate and No. 1 overall pick Jeff Teat.

“I haven't gotten too many chirps for it,” Carraway said. “I think most teams have at least like one or two guys that are also doing it.”

Ament, the 2020 PLL Rookie of the Year, always preferred midcalf socks on and off the field until he got to college. He said he would have worn ankle socks his entire senior year at Penn State when he set an NCAA record with 92 assists and lifted the Nittany Lions to the first Final Four in program history. Team rules handed down from head coach Jeff Tambroni, however, mandated everyone wear the same style.

“Can’t fight the big man,” Ament said.

Since making the switch to New Balance low-cut running socks after he graduated and was selected No. 1 overall in the 2020 PLL College Draft, Ament said he feels like his ankles are in fact cooler in the hot summer sun. They also make him feel more mobile.

He’s not alone. Archers rookie Tre Leclaire scored a hat trick in ankle socks in Colorado Springs and helped the team snap a three-game losing streak. All-Star Archers defenseman Graeme Hossack also adheres to the notion that in some cases, less is more.

“At least I’m in good company,” Ament said of the Archers’ “ankle gang.”

Redwoods midfielder Jules Heningburg is another noted devotee. Whipsnakes short stick defensive midfielder Matt Abbott has left riding attackmen in his wake since the late 2000s at Syracuse with his marathon clears and no-show socks. At times throughout his storied collegiate and pro playing career, PLL analyst Ryan Boyle took it one step further by not even wearing socks.

Only time will tell if skin will continue to be in.

“Half of the reason is, I got the legs for it,” Ament said with a laugh. “So, I might as well show them off a little bit. It’s just something that I decided to run with.”