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7/27/2012 11:18:04 AM -
High School Football Fashion

How do we know when things become massively “uncool?” Well, for some things, it’s easy to see when they’ve jumped the proverbial shark. If you’re too young to remember when this expression came from, it’s theorized that the classic sitcom Happy Days started to suck as soon as they had Fonzie do a waterskiing jump over an are where a shark was swimming – the idea being that everything has a point where it “jumps the shark” and goes bad.

If you want some example from the fitness industry, all you have to do is look at just about anything CrossFit does. As soon as CrossFit discovers an exercise, that exercise is no longer cool. Think about it. The first time I saw a video with a bunch of CrossFit people pushing the Prowler, I said to myself, “Okay, the Prowler is still awesome, but it’s not quite as cool to me as it was 30 seconds ago.”

In this same vein, the first time I saw a clean referred to as a “squat clean,” I decided to remove Olympic lifting from my life permanently. It’s done.

Anyway, this post is kind of for football coaches, so I want to address high school and college football player training camp fashion. I know this is pretty esoteric, but bear with me, because this is important (to me, anyway).

If you’re in your mid-30’s or older, you’ve probably had this experience. Do you remember, back in the early to mid 90’s when there were shitloads of bands around that it was okay to like? Like Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Soundgarden, etc, etc? This was back when those radio stations started appearing in every city that played halfway decent music, and we were in a reasonably good cycle where what was “popular” didn’t include boy bands or shit they’d play in dance clubs.

Back then you’d hear some Pearl Jam or Sublime song on the radio with a hook to it, and you’d end up having the song in your head all day, thinking you’d discovered something listenable. But then, when you got home, you’d see some eight year olds in your neighborhood riding around on their little BMX bikes, and they’d be singing the same f-ing song, ruining it for you. I don’t know if this shit happens to other people. I’m not a music guy, so by the time I hear something, it’s already been around for a while.

The point is, by the time the eight-year-olds are singing it in the neighborhood, even if it’s a cool song, it makes you feel a little less cool about liking it. A lot less cool.

For me, now, the same thing applies to the gear my players wear in practice, and what I’ll address today are team tee shirts with giant motivational slogans on the back.




All very lovely sentiments. Gives you goosebumps, doesn’t it? Well, not really. Not anymore. The thing is, these shirts are completely played out, and I’ll tell you why.

It’s a natural progression that things are going to be filtered down from the top. If, say, Alabama, LSU, and USC are doing it, it’s going to be imitated. First, this transfers to the top high school programs, whose coaches are usually up on things, doing, essentially, the same shit the coaches at the top college programs are doing. Then the stuff gets into football camps, where you’ll have kids from pretty much every kind of program, and it filters back to every school in America.

So, my measure is this. I coach at a pretty good high school where we send kids to play in college. I live, however, in a lily-white suburban area that’s not known, AT ALL, for football. The kids, however, have all the styles down – from the high socks to the head-to-toe Under Armour stuff (including wearing gloves during workouts at the local commercial gym), they’ve got it all going.

Especially the shirts with the slogans on the back.

And while it’s awesome that coaches have adopted the “theme for the season” approach and printed this stuff out to keep their kids motivated, this fashion has officially jumped the shark and I think we have to find something new. That’s how I officially know. When football trends filter down to the freshman team in the town I live in? Like CrossFit squatting with chains, it’s officially no longer cool.

Angry Coach

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