By Phil Hecken
It’s that time of year again. The annual barrage of teams wearing pink in support of breast cancer research and funding, or in support of The American Cancer Society, with proceeds used for cancer research. The prevailing trend now though, is Think Pink, which seeks to raise breast cancer awareness.
Just Google “pink uniforms” and you’ll see page after page of stories on teams who dress themselves in the color pink to promote some form of cancer prevention, research, or other endeavor. Especially with the recent passing of Kay Yow, many of the “Think Pink” cancer prevention efforts are now moving to to raise awareness for the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund. Worthy causes, all. And in all seriousness, who would be against cancer funding and awareness raising? But, does every team (seemingly) have to don pink? Is the trend getting to be, if not counter-productive, certainly watering-down the whole ‘uniqueness’ of the cause? That’s debatable of course, but lets focus instead on the actual uniforms and the myriad and sundry accoutrements surrounding the pink phenomenon.
Of course, wearing pink as an accent color has been around since at least the 1990s, and of course Andre Agassi, the ‘rebel’ himself, was at the forefront. At the time, though, there was no ’cause’ associated with it. Other athletes in non-team sports are still quite fond of pink, including Paula Creamer, self-proclaimed “Pink Panther”, who not only wears pink outfits but is also the only professional golfer to stroke a pink ball.
Moving onto team sports, however, the sartorial splendor of pink-clad squads is debatable. Again, for the purpose of this exercise, we will not debate the rationale or cause behind the donning of the pink, but merely the performance and appearance of the uniform and accessories. Kind of a skewed take on the Uni Watch dictum of “Is it good or is it stupid?”. In this case, the qualifications are merely, “Is the uniform good or
stupid just really pink?”.
It seems like women’s college hoop teams are the primary wearers of pink. Personally, I don’t mind this, although there are certainly different shades of pink to be worn (which is nice — I’d hate to think they were all just one shade). I’m definitely less fond of the lighter pink sported here (yet, with different lighting, it appears slightly darker) or here. The brighter, hotter and deeper pinks seem to jump out more (since they’re less akin to pastels), and when accented with black, stand out. Course, it could just be the lighting, but this looks less pink and more ‘salmon’ to me. And don’t forget to match the sneakers to the uniforms.
Women’s basketball is far from the only sport which has jumped into the pink craze. Both men’s and women’s hockey have entered the fray. “Pink at the Rink” is the new battlecry, featuring pink ice, pink-accented unis, pink sticks, pink-accented gloves, and, of course, pink uniforms for both the ladies and the guys. Even the refs have gotten into the act. Not a big fan of the pink at the rink myself, although it looks much better when the socks are coordinated with the sweaters, and the pants are in a complementary color.
Both men’s and women’s soccer sport the pink uniforms (although the Sevilla player is wearing, I believe, a change kit, and certainly not anything related to breast cancer causes) as well. Palermo also sports pink, as do several women’s colleges, with the latter donning the pink for cause-related reasons. Of course, you gotta start ’em young.
In other, somewhat “individual” sports such as the triathlon and cycling, pink can always be found. Other semi-team sports like gymnastics will also find the pink in small numbers. Not to be forgotten, USA Softball has also gone pink for a good cause.
OK, that’s enough of the uniforms, but what about the accessories? The NFL got into the act by having the refs don pink ribbons to support breast cancer awareness week in October. Nice touch. Not to be
forgotten outdone, the AFL used a pink-accented ball. I’m not sure this is official, but the Cowboys seem to have dabbled in pink, and this is always a welcome Dallas Cowboys cheerleader. But will her boyfriend QB ever slip on a pair of these?
You already they manufacture pink golf balls, but you gotta put your balls on one of these, right? Of course, if you’re gonna play with pink balls, well then, shouldn’t you stroke them with pink clubs? And what better place to keep your clubs than in a pink bag? Of course, tennis players can also hit a pink ball too.
But surely, surely, the greatest sport of all, which gives millions of dollars to multiple charities, supports many causes, and provides entertainment for millions, would never resort to a gimmick? Surely, baseball would never resort to the pinkification of sport, would it? I think you know the answer to that question. At least they haven’t introduced pink gloves…yet. But they’ll never make the uniforms pink, right? You never know — once you stop taking roids, nothing is out of the question.
Happy Valentine’s Day. Remember, think pink.