My Participation Shirts

It took until this past weekend for my wife to realize the significance of the Bloomsday finisher t-shirt. The color prediction contest in my family’s text thread, the media coverage, and the tradition of secrecy seemed to rub off on her this year. Last night she told me, “I didn’t know until this Bloomsday what a big deal the t-shirt is.”

You are becoming a true Spokanite, Sid!

With all that said, while I do get excited for that first glimpse of the t-shirt once I cross the finish line, I don’t get too enthusiastic about actually wearing it—at least in the long term. But right after the race? You bet! I throw that thing on and blend in with the thousands of other people who slip it on after receiving theirs from the army of Bloomsday volunteers. I truly enjoy admiring the throngs of Bloomies sporting their shirts by late morning in downtown Spokane. In my opinion, there isn’t a better sense of community.

A candid shot my brother took of me wearing my 2024 Bloomsday finisher t-shirt that I proudly wore as we drank a post-race beer.

After wearing my Bloomsday shirt post-race on Sunday, I might wear it the next day as well. Growing up in Spokane, it was a badge of honor to wear your Bloomsday shirt to school on Monday. In fact, I had to mess around and wear this year’s shirt to my son’s t-ball game tonight.

And that might be the last time I wear it.

I don’t have a very sustainable record with participation shirts I have received. Whether for a race, camp, or event I don’t usually wear them for “everyday living” beyond maybe once. But I have my reasons…

– For whatever reason the shirts don’t fit me well

– After one washing they shrink and their appearance deteriorates

– Usually they are 100% cotton and the material isn’t the best…and it shows

Even for shirts earned for accomplishing something–like the finalist t-shirt our team received for Hoopfest last year–it is usually one-and-done when it comes to how much I wear it.

I admire the crafty people who gather the t-shirts their kids accumulate throughout a childhood of many activities and stitch them into a quilt. I could never dream of doing something like that. However, although I don’t wear them as part of my daily attire, I do try to re-purpose my participation shirts in different ways such as…

– Night shirt

– Layering up an outfit

– Ripping into smaller pieces to create rags

What do you do with your participation shirts? Do you proudly wear them as part of your normal wardrobe? Do you only wear the ones of particular significance? Do you donate them? Let me know. Don’t Blink.

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