If you’re ever feeling particularly down about your uniforms of yore, take a look at some of the old UMW teams.
While I was fortunate to grow up during a time when girls could wear shorts, my heart goes out the Eagle women once clad in floor length skirts, as I too have had my share of disturbing outerwear.
To this day I cringe when I look at a picture of me during my first year of indoor soccer in second grade. While most girls wore the traditional black mesh shorts, I wanted to stand out. And that I did. For the entire season I wore teal colored, frayed denim shorts to match my jersey. I’d like to think it was the denim that slowed me down, and not an inherent lack of speed.
Once my mother finally forked over a few extra bucks for the Umbros, I was back in business. Until softball season that is.
In my early days as a first baseman, girls still wore the white pant bottoms that were hot as Hell and clung to you. You’re not supposed to wear white before Labor Day, but I’m pretty sure you shouldn’t wear it at all if you’re a hefty 10-year-old.
But I was not alone in my adolescent struggles. My younger brother quit the swim team that same year after refusing, through tears, to wear the required Speedo. I think it was admirable, as no male should ever be seen in such a thing, but my mother was less than pleased when she realized her $60 deposit was gone for good.
With my brother’s memory in mind, I entered middle school with a clear athletic goal; make the travel basketball team and secure a cool uniform. The travel team girls got to wear sleeveless jerseys. Sleeveless jerseys made out of that shiny material instead of the boring cotton I was used to.
I’m proud to report I did in fact make the squad in eighth grade. I may not have played much that year, but I still got to sit on the bench, upper arms fully exposed.
Between my time in softball, basketball, soccer and swimming through high school, I played nearly 50 seasons of sports (excluding my brief stint in gymnastics). And I can remember just about every uniform I ever had.
Sure some of the memories are a little embarrassing and there are team pictures I’d like to burn, but like the poor UMW female athletes of the past, I’d like to believe the uniform means a lot more than pieces of cloth.