All the fuss about the Richmond clash guernsey worn at the AFL Grand Final was out of order. The whining before the game from old club stalwarts was bad enough but on sports media programs after the match when the hosts should have been focusing on analysis of the game, on what a great Grand Final it was, on how wonderful Dusty was, and on how great Richmond were, even normally sane people like Waleed Aly needed to voice disapproval at the golden jumper with the black sash. What? Sane people (the players, specifically) voiced a total lack of concern about what they would be wearing. Good on them. They were more focused on pressing issues of performance. They were just champing at the bit to get out onto the ground. I reckon they would have been happy to wear lace undies on the day. The important people didn’t give a rat’s arse. Kevin Bartlett, Waleed Aly and any number of other sports authorities I saw after the Grand Final did have a problem with the uniform. Waleed didn’t want to make too much fuss but Kevin was fuming! His indignant huffing and puffing on Twitter before the game reminded me of one seventies broadcaster who vented his fury on nudists who wandered down his street by citizen’s arresting them!
First of all, who frikkin’ cares? It’s a game of flippin’ footy! Tradition, my arse. Tradition counts when important things are impacted. What the athletes are going to wear on the pitch has about as much impact on the match, the players, the club, its supporters and society in general as the Wallabies thumping their chests and proudly belting out “Advance Australia Fair” does prior to a game against the All Blacks. It’s a non-issue.
I remember a number of years ago I coached a women’s basketball team that hated their clash strip of purple shorts and gold top. Strangely, though, they were undefeated in this hated uniform. When Grand Final time came around and they were given the opportunity to choose their strip for the big game, guess which uniform they went for. Yup. The hated purple shorts and gold top!
Old school is cool
Secondly, there was nothing wrong with the Richmond guernsey. I have seen a lot worse. Hawthorne, poor blighters, have to wear that adult-poo brown and baby-poo gold monstrosity as their regular strip and you don’t hear them complaining. I used to play for a rugby team that had a brown jumper, with a brown collar and brown shorts. We knew that we looked crap… but we didn’t care. Looking crap was our thing. It was our badge of honour. I won two premierships in that crap uniform. We were pretty chuffed when the club chose to update the horrible uniform to include equally horrible gold shorts, but either uniform was okay by us.
This story is dedicated to all those people like Kevin and Waleed who worry about things like uniforms. I for one, didn’t think the uniform was half bad. I quite liked it. The old-style minimalist approach of one solid colour split with a second colour in the form of a sash (same as their regular strip but with colours reversed) reminded me of grandma’s scones and week-ends away in a log cabin in Scone in Winter. Compare this to the outrageous jumble of patterns and colours seen on many present-day netball and rugby league uniforms. I suspect such uniforms are designed by the same people who think that it’s hip and cool to have a pudgy eighties rock star perform for Grand Final pre-match entertainment. I guess I am old school. Bring back the toddlers playing their mini-games as entertainment, I say.
This is what a bad uniform looks like
So, all of this banter is prelude to my point that the Richmond strip was actually pretty good. For those who disagree what follows is a very small selection of uniforms that are not so good. To Waleed and Kev… if you didn’t like the Richmond guernsey, take a good hard look at this lot!