When the Jaguars unveiled their uniforms last week, there was some chatter in the comments about Nike exec Todd Van Horne, who emceed the unveiling event. (If you want to see some of that chatter, start here, and then there’s another thread here.)
The talk about Van Horne, who’s shown at right, got me thinking about a quotation that was published in 2004. The quotation, which has nothing to do with sports, has become somewhat famous in certain circles, but I couldn’t remember exactly how it went, so I wanted to refresh my memory. Here it is, as described by the reporter who first published it in an article back in ’04 (don’t worry about the identity of the person giving the quotation — that’s not important):
[The person giving the somewhat famous quotation] said that guys like me were “in what we call the reality-based community,” which he defined as people who “believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.” … “That’s not the way the world really works anymore,” he continued. “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors … and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”
It’s a bold, audacious statement. Arrogant, even. But what does it have to do with uniforms?
This: Looking back at that statement, I’m struck by how it could very easily serve as a Nike manifesto. In fact, it’s not hard to imagine Todd Van Horne (or Tinker Hatfield, or Phil Knight) sitting me down and saying, “Look, Paul, here’s what you need to understand: We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality…” Seriously, go back and re-read the whole quotation — it’s a remarkably succinct breakdown of the Nike approach.
Of course, there’s nothing inherently wrong with consistently challenging people’s preconceptions, or with doing so mostly on one’s own terms and with little regard for previous boundaries, or with routinely moving on to your next thing while everyone else is still coming to terms with your last thing. Hell, that’s been the standard approach for a long run of creative geniuses: Picasso, Joyce, Dylan, Warhol, Monk, Pollock, etc., any of whom could be said to fit the model sketched out in the quotation.
Some of you may think the people at Nike qualify as creative geniuses too. I respectfully disagree.
(And for those of you who know the source of the quotation, please don’t give it away in the comments, at least not until mid-afternoon or so. Thanks.)
Accursed color reminder: Two weeks from tomorrow, May 17, is Purple Amnesty Day — the one day of the year when you can order a purple-inclusive Uni Watch membership card design (like Nicholas Popczun’s Raptors-themed card, shown at right, which he ordered on last year’s Purple Amnesty Day). So for those of you who’ve been patiently waiting to order that Vikings- or Lakers-themed card, your chance is fast approaching. Mark your calendars now so you don’t miss it!
As for everyone else, you can order a purple-free card at the usual place.
Uni Watch News Ticker: The Mariners will be wearing 1909 Seattle Turks throwbacks on May 29. … The NCAA’s Football Rules Committee issued a bulletin about uniforms and field markings yesterday. There’s very little in it that’s new, with one exception: No more URLs or hashtags on the field. You can read the actual memo here. … Speaking of hashtags, look what the Rangers are doing. Instead of using a real pound sign, it looks like they used four of the letter “I” and sewed them together, which looks like shite. “Oh the things that we do for social media,” says Luke Rosnick). … Still more about minor league teams and Star Wars (from Jason Hillyer). … Here’s the best view I’ve seen of the Dolphins’ new helmet striping (from Jessel Elliott). … Jamie Uthe notes that the ad on the boards in front of the Blackhawks bench has changed from Lemonheads to Geico and Verizon now that the playoffs have started. I’m assuming this is because the league imposes new rules for postseason arena advertising, yes? … Several readers alerted me to this very cool Kentucky Derby jockey silks poster. … Good story on athletes’ personal logos. … Here’s an article on a woman who makes costumes for the Philly Phanatic (from Kurt Esposito). … An NYC realty firm is offering employees a 15% raise if they get a tattoo of the company logo (thanks, Brinke). … Some thoughts here about ECU football uniforms (from Matt Windsor). … Lots of details on the Falcons’ proposed new stadium. Key quote: “Enticements could include ‘impact seats,’ which vibrate on a large hit.” Greeeeeeaaat (from Kevin Poss). … New design for DC cabs (from Ben Fortney). … Horrific new uniforms for the Boise Hawks. “On the bright side, they wont have to worry about anyone stealing their design,” says Christopher Ouellette. … Looks like Jaromir Jagr was practicing in shorts and a pom-pom hat yesterday (from Mark Kaplowitz). … The Cardinals will give away these cool striped socks to fans 15 and under on May 19 (from Joe Mueller). … This is pretty awesome: If you go to this page and click on the years at the bottom, you can see just about every program cover design in AFL history — even preseason! Amazing stuff (thanks, Kirsten). … Harvard baseball has added a Boston Marathon memorial decal. (I’m assuming the other helmet decal you see there is for breast cancer.) They’re also wearing a “2” patch for their late coach Joe Walsh. “I think it ought to be over the heart, instead of the Nike logo, don’t you?” asks Tris Wykes. … Icethetics has put together a handy guide to all the NHL’s pending uni changes (from Anthony Nuccio). … New kit for Liverpool (from Matthew Solly). … If you’re into lame-o teaser videos, you’ll love this one for Arizona’s upcoming football uniforms. … “An eight-year-old cancer patient in Portland named Atticus wished for his under-eight soccer team, Green Machine, to play against the Portland,” says Markus Kamp. “The Make-A-Wish Foundation made it happen. Here’s a very cool uni-related pic from Green Machine’s locker room before the match.” … During last night’s Chisox/Rangers game, the Rangers’ TV production team ran a poll: Who had the worst uniforms in MLB history? Here are the results (screen shot by Chris Rocco). … Ernest Penaflor says San Diego State will be unveiling a new logo and new uniforms today.