Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Back when TigerBlog was a student at Penn, the bookstore sold football jerseys with the various class years on them, making them a big sell. Among the various school stuff that TB had back then was a shirt with a Penn "P" that had Snoopy asleep on top of it, as if the "P" was the doghouse of the most famous dog of all-time as he was in his most-famous perch.

When TigerBlog was still in the newspaper business, Joan Kowalik was the women's basketball coach here at Princeton. One day, Kowalik gave TB a black sweatshirt with the words "Princeton Basketball" across the front in orange.

Sometime later, TB wrote a story on the Princeton crew. The women's coach at the time was Dan Roock, who sent TB a Princeton rowing hat.

Those two were TB's first pieces of apparel that had the word "Princeton" on it.

Today, TB could wear something that says "Princeton" on it for a month and never wear the same thing twice. It's one of the great benefits of working here.

As an aside, TB has nothing left that says "Penn" on it.

And, thanks to Princeton's deal with Nike, it's better than ever.

Yesterday was a big day around here, as the good people in the equipment room dropped off some new Nike stuff for the athletic staff to wear heading into the new academic year.

The effect off the Nike deal on all of Princeton Athletics has been nothing short of extraordinary. What started out as a bit of a perk has turned into the single best element of what TB calls "overt pride," something that stretches across every coach, athlete and staff member of the department.

Before the Nike deal, each team would have its own arrangement, and none of the gear that the teams wore matched any other team, or if it did, it was coincidence.

Now, when you walk around campus, you will see easily identifiable Princeton athletes, all in their matching Nike gear. There may be the distinguishing "Princeton Soccer" or "Princeton Squash" wording, but it's on identical shirts/jackets/shorts/hats/etc., all in the same colors, with the same font and with, of course, the swoosh.

As an aside, a Google search for "swoosh" brings back more than six million entries. According to the website that knows all: "The Nike Swoosh logo represents the wing in the famous statue of the Greek Goddess of victory, Nike."

Back in the pre-Nike days, back when TB was the contact for football and men's basketball in addition to men's lacrosse, normal game-day attire in the fall and winter was shirt and tie or, for the women, something that might be considered business casual (unless TB doesn't really know what business casual is, in which case what he's actually trying to say is "somewhat dressed up without going crazy").

Since Nike came on board, normal game-day attire for those sports is the Nike stuff, and this has had two effects on the athletic department staff.

First, everyone looks the same, which makes it clear to fans in attendance that the people in these shirts are affiliated with the University and department and are working at the event. Second, and more importantly, it gives off a sense of pride in being part of Princeton Athletics.

It's a simple idea, but it wasn't as "overt" as it was when everyone was dressed differently.

As for his favorites, TB is a big fan of the orange dri-fit shirt, the long-sleeve polo, the long-sleeve Ts and the two windbreakers from last year. Actually, he's a big fan of all of it.

Looking out his door, TB has been tracking the people who walk by on the balcony and putting them into groups of "those wearing Nike stuff" and "those dressed as civilians."

The Nike stuff people are up by about 2:1.

Why wouldn't they be?

We've spent a lot of time talking about overt pride here, and there are still a lot of ways to dress up the facilities. The people in them?

Thanks to Nike, they're dressed just fine.

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