I am always quite fond of bragging about my job and getting overly excited about the cool things I get to do for it. This morning I once again had a smile stretching from ear to ear as I watched two of our basketball players, one male athlete and one female athlete, participate in a mini photo shoot on our arena floor. Sporting copper and gold jerseys last worn in the mid 1990’s, our university photographer snapped several shots of our two athletes in the throwback gear that themselves and the rest of their teammates will wear on January 19 when we host Griz-Cat retro style.
I could hardly contain my own excitement looking at our two players suited up in their sharp looking old timer jerseys to bring myself to wait out the one hour window between the time that the pictures were taken to when our photographer uploaded the images to when our athletic director tweeted out the first glimpse of the retro glory to all of Griz Nation. But by the time our AD sent out his most important tweet yet on his day old account with about 40 other people following suit by retweeting it, my nervous excitement had leveled out and I could enjoy watching our fan base go nuts at the prospect of a Griz-Cat Basketball Saturday with one of the most exciting twists ever.
What is it about throwback jerseys? To be honest, I don’t think it is that much of a mystery. As I have written about before, people love to reminisce about the past. People like to look back at times that took place years ago and use their selective memories to blow up the positive images. One way to connect with these memories is through clothing, and specifically in sports, uniforms.
We certainly can’t accuse professional and intercollegiate officials and marketers for not recognizing this little fact about human nature. Throwback uniforms are a HUGE business. Every team seems to have at least one throwback night. People go wild in their seats when their favorite teams wear old uniforms and many go wild at the merchandise stand as well. I mean let’s be honest here, if you consider yourself a sports fan, I guarantee that you have at least a couple throwback apparel items in your closet.
Research shows that the demographic that really buys into the throwback theme is the younger generation, the people who barely remember a certain era or don’t remember it at all. I can totally attest to this! As a Mariners fan growing up I thought the old school inaugural logo of the anchor-like “M” placed in the star was the coolest thing ever. I had a hat and a couple shirts with the old mark and I felt the same excitement when the Mariners would don those old jerseys a couple times each year that I did this morning during the photo shoot. Never mind that the old sailor type logo was hideous, as I said before, we all have a grandiose outlook on the past. Things seemed better back when, even if they were actually not.
Like with any good thing, the use of throwbacks can be taken overboard. Some Major League Baseball teams will wear old school jerseys on a weekly basis while some teams have completely brought back their retro marks and reinstituted them as their primary logo. However, you won’t find any of that oversaturation at Grizzly Athletics. As fans know from football, bringing back the old colors is a very uncommon occurrence, something that happens only on special occasions. Everyone in Montana knows that when the copper and gold comes out it is big time. Because of this, there are a lot of people counting down the days until January 19. Don’t Blink.