LARNED — Mark Twain once penned, “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.” Is that true for football players? Football teams?
In the past couple of years there has been an explosion of style — or in some cases a lack of style — by college athletic teams’ uniforms in football and basketball, but especially in football.
Some of the teams look more like a Spiderman convention than a football team.
Invaders from outer space?
You could make the case with many teams. I wonder what the now-deceased former head coach of Penn State Joe Paterno, would think?
Would “JoePa” have decked out his Nittany Lions in the garish costumes of today? Would he have mimicked the Oregon Ducks who look more like a camouflaged duck hunter than a linebacker, or would “JoePa” have held resolute to tradition and kept the simple blue and white uniforms without the names on the back. Those uniforms were as close to naked as you are allowed on a football field, Mark Twain.
Phil Knight, the co-founder of Nike, started this revolution.
An unabashed supporter of the Oregon Ducks, he has contributed millions to their athletic programs and football team and, of course, he wanted something in return: the wearing of the Nike brand and what better way to make it seen, make it known, than a break from the stuffy tradition of what football uniforms had been expected to look like.
The idea spread like wildfire and Knight, ever the businessman, offered the same ideas, the same free uniforms to other colleges and the race was on.
Now every major player in the athletic-wear business offers the wild, the wooly, the “what the heck are they wearing?” outfits that make these football players look more like they belong in Star Wars than on a football field!
So the next time you see some wide receiver “strutting his stuff” after scoring a touchdown while looking like he might have just stepped off of that hovering space craft, you can thank Knight.
He’s chuckling all of the way to the bank.
KANSAS WINS BIG 12 FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP!
Well, not really. Kansas placed a Big 12 Conference-best 19 players on the academic All-Star Big 12 football squad.
So, we can gather a couple of things from this.
One, that coach Charlie Weis is serious about making sure his football players do their academics AND two, that being smart must not be a requirement for playing good football because the Jayhawks don’t play good football.
Kansas would have been better served by staying home Saturday night and studying in the library.
The Iowa State Cyclones came out of the icy tundra and embarrassed the Jayhawks, ripping the heart out of any momentum Kansas had gained with their win over West Virginia.
Can Kansas recover enough to beat Kansas State?
The game is in Lawrence, but that has not been any big boon to this bunch of scholarly athletes. I don’t know how smart the K-State kids are, but they probably play better football. Kansas State 41, Kansas 24.
Kansas state high school football champions will be crowned Saturday. I see these schools holding the trophies: 6A Shawnee Mission East. 5A Salina South. 4A Buhler. 3A Beloit. 2-1A Centralia spoils LaCrosse’s hopes.
Charles Tabler is a contributing writer from Larned