Thursday, September 8, 2011

Gearing Up!




Today I thought might talk about the opening game for Alabama vs. Kent State, did you know Alabama's coach Nick Saban went to Kent State? Now you do, and knowing is half the battle. I say I thought I might talk about it because originally my fiance and I were planning on heading to Tuscaloosa [2 hour drive] to catch the action. However we didn't go, so that blew that idea. We had free tickets offered to us - I'm sure you are thinking what stopped you, Kell? Well the fact that we are getting married in less than two months is the biggest reason. We have a lot we still have to worry about purchasing and handling before the big day and didn't want to come up short. We have an entire season to go to games, and only one chance to make our wedding and event to remember. And let's be honest, sure it would cost us the price of gas to get there that's not too bad it's the fun times we have when we are there that add up. Beer isn't cheap, and neither are tasty game day treats. I wouldn't want to go all the way to T-Town and NOT enjoy myself.

That being said I figured I'd discuss something that has stuck out to me for a few years now since I started watching college ball and pro ball. I want to talk uniforms. Long gone are the days when I would choose a team based on it's color scheme. And by team I mean Nascar driver or team I'd choose to win a Super Bowl when I wasn't actually into either team that made it that year but still wanted to watch the big game... for the commercials. And that my friends is the ONLY reason you would have ever found me rooting for the Tennessee Titans... [it was a dull Super Bowl and they were new, flashy and sporting "Carolina Blue"].

NFL always has flashy gear, aside from a few teams that still seem fairly true to some of their classic garb [New York Jets & Washington Redskins I'm looking at you and approving!] I feel the leauge is all about big, bright colors AND making money. And with good reason, they have to pay those players some how right? I would like to also address that I know the Browns and the Cowboys are also very classic, but of them I do not approve... sorry folks, I just don't. MOVING ON! ** Note: My opinions do not reflect the opinions of the other ladies here at From the Sidelines. They are my opinions alone. 

What made me start to think about uniforms was witnessing the Maryland vs. Miami game the other night on TV. I'm a Maryland girl born and raised! I never followed Terp football when I was younger. A) I wasn't really that into college ball and B) I went to Towson University which is a smaller, less well known school in Maryland right outside of Baltimore. Something felt off for me to be rooting for another college's football team while going to a different one, who's team was less than impressive. It's my own personal hang up, and I'm working on it. That being said I really wanted to watch this game. Call it my roots, call it being bored with everything else on TV, call it getting homesick from time to time. Call it what you will but it's starting to get to the point where watching ANY football game can be fun for me, provided I have some type of vested interest in at least one of the teams. Or that I have a vested interest in seeing a certain team lose the game. Yeah, I do that.

When we turned on the MD vs. MIA game I was SHOCKED when I witnessed the Terps new gear. Did you see that stuff? I'm sure 90% of you are going to say "UGH, Kelly those outfits were SO gross!" To which I will not agree with you at all, not even 1% agree. I loved those uniforms 100%. Most people here in Alabama gave me crap for the flashy and ugly helmets. They didn't "GET" them. Half and half was a horrible choice but half red and half gold and black? WTF? Then I enlightened them by explaining that it was the Maryland State Flag cut in half, on their helmets, their legs, their arms and their feet. Being a Maryland girl who often times longs for home, you can see why this thrilled me. I have a Maryland state flag hanging in my office at the house. I love the design of the flag and the colors together. I guess this is where I can state... "It's a Maryland thing, you wouldn't understand." or the ever fun... "Crab Cakes and Football - that's how Maryland does it!" Or however that goes in Wedding Crashers.

Call it what you will, I call it AWESOME • via abc news
From what the announcers told me while watching the game, this is one of about 30 different uniform choices for this season for the Terps. Turns out the big man at Under Armor is an alumni to the college and has donated this gear to the University of Maryland's football team. SWEEEEEET! I guess Oregon can't do all the boasting now since Nike's head honcho supplies them with their tight new gear for every game. I'm not a fan of Oregon but I do really love their matte black/gray helmets up against that bright green and yellow.  All the flash aside I do think it's a bit unfair that so many teams don't get this choice of new gear simply because CEO's of companies didn't go to their school. Nike will often times offer up new gear to schools but I'm not sure if it's "GIVEN" or made and purchased.

Let's talk classic. While I loved Maryland's new gear and look forward to seeing it evolve this season, there is something to be said for the teams that try to stick as closely to their roots and original style as possible. When I think of classic college uniforms I think of two universities, Alabama and Penn State. While both of their uniforms have changed over the years [Alabama has added the words ALABAMA to their jersey's and I'm sure Penn State has changed, I'm just not positive about what the change has been] - they maintain a look and feel of old school, classic uniforms. When I watch a game between these two teams, as I will this weekend, I get a sense of feeling like my father might have watched this games many years ago. I've always liked and admired Penn State and good ole Joe Paterno! And now that I'm a newly converted Alabama Crimson Tide fan [if you consider new 4+ years], I also have a huge spot in my heart for Paul Bear Bryant. Did you know that he coached 1 season at Maryland? Maybe my roots are more connected to Alabama from Maryland than I thought.

BAMA Modern Gear with a Classic Look • via google
PSU, also Modern Gear with a Classic Look • via google
I love the simplicity of both uniforms and while there have been lots of updates since day one on the schools logos and mascots, their uniforms have held the test of time. Alabama is very cautious about new uniform changes, almost as if they fear that The Bear will roll over in his grave and come back to haunt them.  Last year for one single game they showed off a new uniform complete with houndstooth numbers, a tribute to the late, great Paul Bear Bryant and his game day fedoras. The team mates were also given special gloves as well. 

Alabama One Time Jersey • via nikeblog.com
When I said the uniform had houndstooth on it I mean it was super faint, almost non-existent. You can barely make it out unless you were looking for it. They are not ones to stray from tradition, and I'm shocked to see the cheerleaders in newer gear this year. Maybe it's the old South, maybe it's traditional ways or maybe, just maybe it's the "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" mentality. I'm sure that Joe Pa has a handled on what his boys will wear each year, maybe after he retires [rue the day!!!] someone might make changes, but I have a feeling out of respect for him, his memory and his legacy they will treat the teams wardrobe with the same respect they do at Alabama.

I also love that most teams have a bit of superstition with their gear. The Steelers are the first to come to mind, again because they are my team. Most people wonder why they only have a logo on one side of their helmet. It turns out the year that they introduced the helmets with the logo, they only put it on one side to "test" it out on the fans and the field. That season was a monumental season for the team and owners decided that rather than mess with a good thing, they'd keep the logo on one side and it's been that way every since. See trivia, fun right?

If you had to choose a favorite uniform, professional or college - who's would you say was the best?

I stand by my feeling that I love classic gear, and Alabama and Penn State have that. Not just because they are two of my favorite teams but because it's classy, classic and timeless. That beings said some fun new flavor is always welcome so I look forward to Maryland's fashion show this season... let's just hope with the new gear, and the new coach they can keep it a winning season! I'm behind you Terps, better late than never, right?

As always, this weekend... I've got two big games Alabama vs. Penn State and Steelers vs. the Baltimore Ravens!!! So I'm going to sign off with a heated ROLL TIDE ROLL AND GO STEELERS!!!!

3 comments:

  1. Glad to see your positive shout out on the Maryland uniforms. As a Virginian, I immediately recognized the flag elements, but have been surprised to here/read so many people who should know (reporters) or who should have looked it up... not "getting it". I wouldn't call them "pretty", but I think they are neat.

    Can I still pick my jockeys based on the color of their silks?

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  2. lol after reading all of that, all i can think is "HOW can you be from maryland and a steelers fan. blasphemy!" some of the terps uniforms are better than others. i cannot get on board with the flag shoes though. those are just crazy

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  3. It's easy Michelle... I started rooting for the Steelers before the Ravens came on my radar, and while most people probably did the same after the Colts left MD, and jumped ships to be Raven's fans I decided not to. I've had roots in PA with family and it just fits for me. And I just didn't care for the Ravens. Not hating, just not caring.

    And I 2nd the shoes they were a bit much, it seems funny to say that after seeing the whole uniform but it's true ;)

    Webb - go for it. Colors make everything better and choosing a team based on them doesn't hurt my feelings in the least ;)

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