New jerseys look tight, feel tighter
Tonganoxie linemen not immediate fans of team’s new form-fitting jerseys
The smaller guys liked them because they were tight.
The big guys : not so much.
That was the initial reaction of the Tonganoxie High football squad as some slipped (and others struggled) into their spotless, brand spankin' new jerseys for the first time.
Coach Mark Elston called the fresh-out-of-the-box jerseys "high tech" because of their compression fit for heat management. They are a far cry from their loose, tattered jersey forefathers - quarterback Jeremy Carlisle said his home and road jerseys had holes in them last season.
When the jerseys (and pants) arrived at THS this summer it was likely overdue.
"These are the first new unis for the football team in 10 years," Elston said. "Most of the pants we were wearing were 15 years old. The team did get new pants in 1998 but they did not hold up very well."
Even with all the good reasons for updating the Chieftains' wardrobe, a lot of the team's larger players - the linemen - didn't care for the snug duds.
"I think they're a good idea when it comes to the games, but we found out tonight they're pretty hard to breathe in, a little hard on the chest," senior lineman Billy Seymour said a few weeks back when the players tried them on for the first time at camp.
Senior lineman Clinton Kissinger said some of the team's largest players struggled to even get on the uniforms on the first try.
"They're pretty tight. It takes about four guys to get them on," he said. "Hopefully with the shoulder pads on it might stretch them out a little bit."
There is a method to answer the linemen's madness. The jerseys are actually designed to fit like a glove, Elston said, to benefit the players wearing them - even the linemen.
"Backs will love them because they are almost impossible to grab a hold of," the coach said. "Linemen struggle to get them on and off : but as a defensive lineman they will enjoy the fact that an offensive lineman won't be able to hold as easy, and as an offensive linemen they will keep your pads so tight to your body and allow better arm movement."
It didn't take senior middle linebacker Boomer Carey long to see the benefits of the new uniforms.
"I like them. They're more college style, they're tighter, you don't have to tuck them in," he said. "It's hard to get a grip on them. I can't get held as much."
And Carey had his own opinion on why the linemen didn't like the form-fitting jerseys.
"It's like skin," he said of the tightness. "It's like them with their shirt off, which isn't the most pleasant thing in the world."
Joking aside, the backs and receivers said they were still perfectly mobile in the new uniforms, and junior lineman Dylan Young said a lot of the naysaying linemen are coming around as well.
"Most of them are liking (the jerseys) the more we wear them," he said.
Kissinger agreed that, after a few games, everyone would likely be used to the attire.
"At least we're not going to be held and grabbed and they're not going to rip. It will be better in the long run," he said. "Some guys like them, some guys hate them. I think everybody will like them by the end of the season."