Informed Uniform: What Cause to Wear?
I’ve never had luck with jerseys. Maybe it was the allure of free-agent money, but it always seemed like a player would be traded or sign elsewhere the second I bought his jersey. Later on this manifested itself as owning “retro jerseys” even if that was not the original intent. Early victims included Charles Barkley’s #34 Suns Jersey, Grant Hill’s #33 Pistons Jersey, and Shaquille O’neal’s #32 Magic Jersey. When my parents moved to Seattle, I immediately bought a Ray Allen SuperSonic’s jersey. He was traded 6 days later (to the Celtics!!).
My sour luck extended to baseball. I would try to select a jersey of the Red Sox player LEAST likely to join the Yankees. After the 4th jersey went to the graveyard (thanks Damon, Lowe, Ellsbury, and Youkilis), I threw in the towel.
A few years have gone by since the jersey curse of the 1990s/early 2000’s. While today is in fact Jersey Day in my office, jerseys are now normally relegated to a day off or the weekend errand run. The question, “What jersey to wear?” wouldn’t normally cross my mind.
With the return of football, all eyes have been on San Francisco backup QB Colin Kaepernick and his decision to not stand during the national anthem. The easiest way for fans to show their support has been through jersey sales. His jersey sales have skyrocketed to #1 in the National Football League. Kaepernick, in turn, is donating the proceeds of his jersey sales to communities in need. Wearing gear with a company logo, an athlete’s name, has more meaning than just fandom.
I’ve joke of the prospect of treating my high holiday kittel like a NASCAR vehicle, decked in potential endorsements. While I may never go to that extreme, I have found meaning in supporting causes, victims, and research in the garments I choose to wear. Modern fundraising allows those of us fortunate enough to buy a new t shirt once in a while to support in dollar and in visual manifestation of such causes.
In the past few years, I was fortunate to donate to a number of what I would call “wear it, share it” causes:
I showed support to a number of causes through charitable gifts, but receiving something tangible in return allows me to be a transparent advocate moving forward. When you are picking out that t-shirt to wear to do grocery shopping or to attend your kid’s soccer practice, what would it mean to find meaningful causes close to you, to go beyond your checkbook? Wear those shirts that show who you’re thinking about. Wear it, share it. At the very least, it’s a conversation starter, but at its peak, you have the chance to share important causes with others.