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Speer: Uniforms aren’t the way they used to be

March 16, 2012
Bill Speer - Editor/Publisher , The Alpena News

March Madness is upon us.

I refer not to the endless hours of basketball that occupy every waking hour this time of year, but rather that glazed look that comes from too long at the television watching all that hoops action.

My mind is mush this morning, and thus a column of random thoughts.

While on the subject of basketball, I saw an editorial cartoon recently that showed the Final Four hoops brackets with the names Nike, Adidas, Reebok and Converse. A man was in the middle of the brackets saying "Show Me the Money."

I admit that the sponsorship of collegiate uniforms, and shoes, intrigues me. Some teams still play with traditional styles and non-descript shoes. Others seem as if the lights were turned off in the gym their uniforms would still glow. I have yet to see anyone wearing shoes that with each step, the sole lights up (like you see with many toddler shoes these days), but I suspect it's only a matter of time.

Some uniforms include the name of the players, others do not. Some uniforms use script fonts to outline the numbers on the uniform, others it is a more block font style.

Back in the day (meaning, when I was in college) teams had but two uniforms - home and away threads. One was dark, the other light, to better distinguish the players from one another. No more.

According to a story in the Washington Post, last fall during the collegiate football season Maryland football coach Randy Edsall tweeted before a game with West Virginia which, of the 32 possible color combinations, his team would wear that week. The color combinations were courtesy of Under Armour - Maryland's corporate sponsor.

Last fall as well Nike outfitted Michigan State football's team with a special "Pro Combat" uniform that, among other things, included "Molon Labe" on the back of the players' collars, which, as a Greek Spartan war cry, translates roughly into "come and get us."

All of which borders on the absurd.

This weekend, as you enjoy the high quality of the basketball being played, stop for a moment and take note of the threads and shoes the players are wearing as well. Trust me, the corporate sponsor who made that all possible will be glad you did.


Did anyone else stop and smile after reading this week's story about the Alpena Township Drain Committee meeting?

After hearing of drainage problems, discussing the issues and lamenting with each other about the damages caused by flooding and water, the quickest possible short-term solution to many of the problems seeemed to be rather simple - remove beaver dams in the township.

As amazing as it sounds, it seems a rodent - or rather a group of rodents - is creating chaos to the watershed in Alpena Township by building dams and alternating the flow of water.

Naturally there were a host of other possible remedies as well to the flooding concerns, but most of those in attendance seemed to agree that removal of the beaver dams was a good place to begin in the process.

Removal of the dams is one thing, but to be effective you have to also capture the entire beaver population associated with that dam or otherwise, the problem quickly will return.

Trust me, there are construction crews working in our region who can only wish they were as efficient and effective as a beaver in need of a new lodge to call home.



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