By Phil Hecken
It’s a rare occurrence when I have two ledes from the same reader two weeks in a row, but today’s main post is a timely one — and it’s by UW favorite Leo Strawn, Jr., who graced us with a wonderful DIY piece last Saturday, and has for many years been a solid contributor and commenter. Leo’s back today with a subject that doesn’t get much attention on Uni Watch (mainly because Paul and I have no idea what the hell it is, really) — Australian Rules Football. But like Unicycle Basketball (another recent post featuring sports straight out of ESPN’s first season), the AFL wears uniforms, and there is no one better than Leo not only to talk about those, but to give us a nice look into the sport as well. So, with nothing left to say on my end, I’ll now turn it over to Leo who will bring you the…
2016 Indigenous “Roundup”
By Leo Strawn, Jr.
Australian Football League’s annual Indigenous Round is this weekend. Because of dealing with some health issues last year, I didn’t spend much time submitting stories or special uniforms to UW, so to catch up on what was missed last season, I thought I would start this year’s submission with a bit of history leading up to the 18 special jumpers for this season’s AFL IR.
I watched Victorian Football League (the predecessor to AFL) matches on ESPN in the late 1980s. It took the internet to reacquaint me with Aussie Rules football (a.k.a., footy) when ESPN was carrying matches online around 2008 or so. I took a liking to certain clubs but finally settled on Collingwood Magpies as my chosen favorite for a variety of reasons. This season will be a special IR for USA footy fans because the first American to ever play in an Indigenous Round match will be Collingwood ruckman/forward, Mason Cox. Our American [Mag]Pie is also the tallest man ever to play VFL/AFL. Mason towers over the competition standing 6’11”.
Anyway, my reacquaintance with footy was after the first Dreamtime at the ‘G match. That one special game in 2005 has evolved into the 9-match Indigenous Round of today. Because those first few Dreamtime games were played during the time when I wasn’t able to watch or follow footy, I asked friend and North American footy expert, Aussie-turned-Canuck Rob Meredith, who is well known for his Aussie Rules uniform database, footyjumpers.com, to help me with that early history. Rob is a lifelong Essendon Bombers supporter, so the Dreamtime at the ‘G match, which annually pits the Bombers against the Richmond Tigers, is close to his heart.
The first Dreamtime at the G was in 2005. Kevin Sheedy, who was Essendon coach and had long been an advocate for Aboriginal players was the instigator of the concept. Richmond had been his former club, and his former teammate Maurice Rioli was the uncle of Essendon player Dean Rioli. Maurice was seen as a trailblazer in getting Aboriginal players into the game at the highest level. Dean was in his final year at Essendon. Dreamtime was created as a celebration of the involvement of the Indigenous people in the game.
That inaugural match in 2005 was special in itself, but the teams’ jumpers were not changed for the event. The Aboriginal flag is made up of bands of black and red with a yellow sun in the center. It just so happens that Essendon wears black and red while Richmond’s colors are black and yellow. The next step was natural, as Rob relates:
In 2006 the clubs used Dreamtime at the G logos on their guernseys for the first time. This is an oval with a sash, which both teams wear, in the style of Aboriginal art. It changes colour from Red at the top to Yellow at the bottom. In 2011 Essendon added both team names to their version of the Dreamtime logo. In 2013 Richmond adopted the team names as well. As is customary in Australian sport, the Home team is listed first. So the logo either says Essendon v Richmond, or Richmond v Essendon. In 2011 Richmond changed their guernsey to include Aboriginal artwork on the Yellow sash. In 2014 Essendon included Aboriginal art on their guernseys for the first time.
By the time of that 2014 match, other clubs had already started wearing Aboriginal artwork on their jumpers during the same round as the Dreamtime match between the Dons and Tigers. In 2013, Adelaide Crows simply traded their traditional blue out for black so their jumper colors would match the Aboriginal flag. Also that season, Fremantle Dockers altered their chevrons to resemble boomerangs.
Which brings us to this season’s Indigenous “Roundup” (see what I did there?), with some unusual twists:
For the third year, all clubs will be wearing Aboriginal designed jumpers. The 2016 Indigenous Round honors Sir Douglas Nicholls, a former VFL footballer who played for the Lions after being rejected by Carlton “because of his size” but also no doubt due to his ethnicity [Note: that link was wonky last evening — not sure if it will work or you’ll get a 404. Apologies if so. You can also try this link — PH] and later became an important figure in contemporary Aboriginal history.
The first match for 2016 was played Friday at the Sydney Cricket Ground after an Aboriginal Welcome to Country ceremony. Sherrin footballs feature Abroriginal art this week. The Swans hosted the North Melbourne Kangaroos and handed the Kangas their first loss of the season after 10 outings.
The IR wraps up on Sunday with the final three games of the week. The Geelong Cats will go to Etihad to play the Carlton Blues (the team that issued the apology to the family of Sir Douglas Nicholls).
The other Sunday match features two stories of note. An unfortunate situation has arisen regarding compensation of Aboriginal artists who created the IR jumper for the Western Bulldogs mens and womens clubs. And, as I mentioned earlier, for AFL fans in the USA, this year will feature the first American to play in an Indigenous Round match, as Mason Cox will be on ground with the Doggies’ opponent, the Collingwood Magpies. (Side note: Collingwood has other American connections besides being the club of which I am a supporter and Mason Cox plays. Milwaukee native Shae McNamara played a few seasons ago and appeared in a preseason match, becoming the first American Pie to kick a goal for Collingwood and Cleveland Cavaliers’ Australian-born guard Matthew Dellavedova is also a Magpie supporter!)
The stories behind the 2016 Aboriginal designs can be read here.
Hope you enjoyed! Now, grab a footy and head out for a kick!
UW’s Friday Flashback
In case you missed it, Paul’s Friday Flashback on ESPN addressed one of my ALL TIME favorite topics in the aesthetics of athletics — baseball hosiery (which comes on the heels of the announcement that Stance will be MLB’s first official sock provider). Of course, in his own inimitable way, Paul traces the history of hosiery from the fall, and rise, and fall again, of the stirrup, with looks at all the styles before and since (including those villains who first began to cover up their lower leg stylings that led to today’s generation of pajamists).
Great read, so be sure to check it out if you didn’t catch it on Friday!
Uni Watch News Ticker
Baseball News: The Lancaster JetHawks will wear these Star Wars-inspired jerseys on June 17th (from OT Sports). … Tweeter Josh Claywell says, “A Davidson batter has a chipped decal, and I never knew Rhode Island’s unis said ‘Rhody’.” … Check out these Mexican Baseball Team Portraits, photos undated (from Country of Baseball). … Here is our first look (ugh) at the Fresno Grizzlies Fourth of July jerseys (from OT Sports). … The Bowling Green Hot Rods will be auctioning specialty jerseys honoring local military & first responders during games from today to Monday (from BG Hot Rods). … I’m just gonna leave this here without comment: “Baseball fans, quit your complaining about camo uniforms.” Well, one comment — yet another talking head who conflates Memorial Day with being a “military holiday.” FFS. STOP IT ALREADY. … Playing out of the RMBL, the Boulder Collegians are a collegiate, summer baseball organization, based out of Boulder Colorado. Check out what they are wearing (h/t AJayAMileHigh). … There’s high-cuffed, and then there is “high-cuffed”: Here’s Odubel Herrera going “high cuffed” on the sleeves for his at bat (pic from Mark Lackinger, via Paul). … Hmmmm. You know how the Iowa Hawkeyes try to look like the Steelers in football? Well, it seems they like to look like the Buccos for baseball (h/t Nathan Bryson). … Also from Nathan, it would seem that David Price has a brother from another mother on THE Ohio State Buckeyes team. … The Cedar Rapids Kernels wore and auctioned off these jerseys last evening (h/t Cedar Rapids Kernels). … The Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony wore a
disgraceful “diplomatic” Mets/Yanks frankencap the other night (h/t Sam O). … New Dodgers pitcher Julio Urias had an accent on his jersey last evening (h/t #BradYourFriend). This is both awesome/interesting as he didn’t have one on his Dodgers uni(s) previously. … Did you ever want to know how Stan the Man poles out hits? (from Bruce Menard). We need to bring that lexicon back to today’s game, no? … LSU is going to retire Todd Walker’s jersey in 2017. … The Columbia Fireflies will celebrate their connection to Prince by wearing these purple game purple game jerseys. … The New York Yankees have joined the matte helmet brigade. Looks like they may have raised logos too (from Matt Harris and JACK, respectively. Reader Dave Rakowski adds, “During the top of the 4th, Meredith Marakovits reported that the new helmets are only for road games. In addition, she said the Yankees now have new home jerseys with the proper button spacing.” … As reported by Paul, the Mets will be wearing their 1986 Throwbacks all weekend (including last night, as shown on Jacob DeGrom) long. Those racing stripes on pinstripes were awful, but they look even worse when worn pajama style and with oversized jerseys. At least the field looked good (from RN’s Funhouse). … There’s no context to this, so I’m gonna guess it’s either a “slump buster” or a “because they can” move: “Brewers wearing alternate/throwback BP jerseys tonight” (from Mike Chamernik). I posed the question on Twitter, and the responses weren’t totally satisfactory. Friday night is retro night, and that’s a “retro” BP jersey–and the starting pitcher gets to choose the jersey so…Anyway, they wear those tops once a year, so last night was apparently *that* night. Just another excuse to sell more merch, IMO. Here’s another look (h/t RN’s Funhouse). … The Brevard County Manatees wore camo last night (from Dave Doop). Because nothing hides giant, slow underwater sea creatures better than camo.
NFL/Football News: Tweeter Daniel Woods doesn’t know “if it’s confirmed yet”, but a screenshot from the new Madden game shows the Saints with a 50 yr patch. Yes, it has been confirmed (and even seen on a jersey). … Ravens defensive lineman Timmy Jernigan is switching from #97 to #99 as a tribute to Warren Sapp. Sapp does not appear to be pleased (from Andrew Cosentino). … Aaron Rodgers explains why he’ll never let the NFL put a camera in his helmet. … Here’s a look at the Vikings new field (from Patrick Thomas). … Crossover alert! Not sure if this is the cutest pic ever, or borderline child abuse: Ben Roethlisberger already has his newborn rooting on the Penguins in the Stanley Cup finals (from Josh SÃ¡nchez). Also posted in the NHL section.
Hockey News: We don’t normally talk about the NHL and camopander or flag desecration uniforms this time of year, but why should they be left out of the “star spangled tee shirt” market over the Memorial Day Holiday weekend? (a rare non-Mets/baseball submission from Mets Police honcho Shannon Shark). … “Not sure if anyone has mentioned it before but there’s something different about the hem on Crosby’s sweater,” observes Mark Sencich. “It doesn’t look like the standard template the other players are wearing and almost like it has an extension sewn on it.” … Here is Conrad Burry‘s updated NHL Playoff Hockey circle backet. … Crossover alert! Not sure if this is the cutest pic ever, or borderline child abuse: Ben Roethlisberger already has his newborn rooting on the Penguins in the Stanley Cup finals (from Josh SÃ¡nchez). Also posted in the NFL section.
NBA/NCAA/Basketball News: The Utah Jazz’ “snowflake” logo was spotted the other day on a shooting machine (h/t BYU Sports News). … Dan Kennedy has done an Oklahoma City Thunder rebrand(?) submission. In any case, it’s worth the look! … Does Paul George wear his own Indiana Pacers jersey on vacation? Quite possibly. … Great spot by Matt Roman who writes, “Dunno if you’ve already covered this. TNT keeps using Golden Gate Bridge for warriors logo on broadcast. Correct logo actually shows Bay Bridge.” … Check out these new hoop uniforms for Vail Christian Academy (from Marc Gustafson). … Hmmm — statement or ??? — someone was wearing a backwards “C” on a Cleveland Indians cap at last night’s Raptors/Cavs game (good spot by Clayton Hrusovsky). It’s apparently manufactured by a company called “Ilthy” based in Lakewood, OH. (from Kyle Lenderman).
Soccer News: Here’s some news George Chilvers should be pleased with: Here is the kit that Wigan Athletic will wear on their return to the Championship next season. It’s similar to this season’s League One title-winning shirt, with the addition of red banding on each sleeve and the collar. … Here’s a cool graphic of the kit design for all the previous Champions League champions (thanks to Conrad Burry). … A possible Tottenham 2016-17 away kit has leaked online, and Spurs fans will hate it (from John Muir).
Grab Bag: Tweeter Aaron J. Smiley thinks John Cena’s new T-Shirt looks awfully familiar. He adds, “don’t you think??” … I know not many of you are tennis fans (and less so probably pay any attention to the French Open, but this year, adidas has been putting their
advertisers signed athletes in camouflage outfits. Yep. Thanks to Tommy Turner, I think. … OK, why is there a lion about to eat an Indy 500 driver? I don’t know, but you can see that and a bunch of crazy photos from the Greatest Spectacle in Racing here If that’s not enough, there are more here.
And that’s all for today. Everyone have a great Saturday — big thanks to Leo for today’s lede!
Hope everyone is enjoying their Memorial Day Weekend. Only two more days until the camo starts flying, but those Memorial Day Sales are here all weekend! Nothing like conflating a sad and sacred day with militarism and consumerism, eh?
Anyway, I’ll catch you guys tomorrow but until then…
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.
“Reading what (MSU Hoops Coach Tom) Izzo earns from Nike, I have to laugh at reading ‘Izzo is a sneaker head’ and would prefer a more honest headline like ‘Nike employee promotes the douchebag company he whores for’.”