Archive for Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Chinstraps and Mouthpieces: Jerseys shouldn’t be a hot topic

November 23, 2004

Hey movie buffs, have you ever seen the comedy "Waiting for Guffman?"

It's directed by Saturday Night Live alum Christopher Guest, who also directed hilarious mockumentaries "Best in Show" and "A Mighty Wind."

"Waiting for Guffman" explores the 150th anniversary celebration of Blaine, Mo. The community theater director produces a play commemorating the city's history. In the process, a Broadway critic supposedly is coming to the Show-Me State town for a review, and comedy ensues.

The patriotic name of the play, by the way, is "Red, White and Blaine."

Huh, I wonder how Tonganoxie's play would be titled?

Red, White and ?????

Oh, dear, we have a problem.

You see, no one doubts that two of Tonganoxie's school colors are red and white. A third color, meanwhile, apparently has caused some distress.

Some residents think gold has no place in the school color scheme.

The matter became an issue when basketball uniforms two years ago contained some gold. Same goes for new volleyball uniforms that are red with gold trim and lettering.

People against the new uniform look don't think gold has ever been or should be in the color scheme.

Walk into Tonganoxie High School's front entrance, however, and you'll see the blazon on the wall. The plaque lists colors of the blazon as gold, white and red.

So does that mean the colors listed on the blazon are the school colors?

It's been said that when Tonganoxie and Jarbalo consolidated, the red and white from Tonganoxie was combined with Jarbalo's gold from its purple and gold school colors.

But this has brought about more questions. People have heard that the gold was supposed to be incorporated into the scheme with consolidation, but the so and so they heard it from isn't sure where they heard it from.

Perhaps it's a legend, but some people don't view the gold as legendary.

Because some people thought there was too much gold in the uniforms, this school year's athletics handbook states that uniforms will be red and white with gold as a third color used as trim.

So, those basketball uniforms that were just a couple years old have been replaced with uniforms with less gold.

If everyone can live in harmony because there's less gold, then so be it. But why not wait until uniforms have gone through the washer a few more times before new ones are purchased?

Another color issue also has come into play -- pink.

At a recent school board meeting, a board member mentioned that warm-up shirts that THS volleyball players wore were pink and, therefore, shouldn't be worn. He also didn't agree with the gold in the uniforms.

Volleyball players purchased the pink shirts themselves. If anyone checked out a volleyball tournament, they would find that a wildly colored shirt is common practice. Turquoise, pink and yellow usually are prevalent neon colors that can be seen as teams warm up.

The Baldwin boys cross country team, which has won seven straight state titles, donned neon shirts that were nowhere near the customary Bulldog purple in the color spectrum.

I can remember another instance last year when Baldwin, which has a strong volleyball tradition, wore some mighty bright turquoise shirts for warm-up practice.

And guess what? The parents could be seen wearing the shirts as well. Man, such school spirit and unity is fun to see.

But not at Tonganoxie. Players no longer can wear pink shirts when on the court. These same players filled six of seven spots in the homecoming court. One of those players, Ashlee Murphy, was crowned homecoming queen.

This is the same team that has a cumulative grade-point average of 3.59 and showed good sportsmanship at the De Soto Spikefest when Cinderella De Soto, a former Kaw Valley League member, made its way to the tournament championship match. The Chieftain girls clapped for their former KVL foe.

This is the same team that has been building a rejuvenated tradition at THS. Chris Herron guided Tonganoxie to plenty of state appearances, but THS hit a rough streak of losing seasons in the late '90s.

In the past four years, however, Tonganoxie has switched its fortunes. Under coaches Tiffany and Brandon Parker, THS has posted seasons of 18-16, 24-12, 28-8 and 30-9. The team again was just one step from state.

But, alas, this color issue has struck a nerve with a few folks.

I would wager that Guest would have a field day with this story line.

It might not be as humorous as "Best in Show" or "A Mighty Wind," but I'm sure it would generate some laughs.

Yep, that sounds like a farce, but if the color scheme truly is enough of an issue, it should be debated.

If you're a taxpayer, whether you've been in the school district for five years or 50 years, you should have a voice.

If you're an athlete who has wiped blood, sweat, or even a tear on those uniforms, you should have a voice.

If you're a coach who has handed out and collected those uniforms every year and invested plenty of time into the program, you should have a voice.

And if you're a student in the school district who has an opinion, you should be heard.

Football uniforms, which are a few years old now, are strictly red and white. Girls cross country and track uniforms are red and white, while boys cross country and track uniforms are red, white and -- gasp -- gray. Girls and boys basketball and soccer have red, white and gold, while the wrestling team has both red and white and red and gold singlets. Volleyball uniforms are red and gold.

Not all teams within an athletics department have similar color schemes.

Take Kansas State. The football team has had purple and silver for years, but the school colors are purple and white. The K-State volleyball uniforms have incorporated some black, as have basketball uniforms in the past.

We could go on and on about what different school-affiliated groups are wearing what, but that would be trivial.

The bottom line is simple -- whether you sit in the stands or are on the playing field, chances are you care about your school.

Whether you're wearing a pink warm-up shirt, or some red and gold (or red and white), you likely are showing your school spirit.

Let's get past this situation and turn the attention to the construction of new school facilities and renovations to existing buildings that will change the face of the district forever.

The district's future looks golden -- figuratively speaking, of course.

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