On Sports Teams Wearing Black

Just got this from Working the Corners:

*****Maybe it’s a style statement, maybe it’s change for change sake after past playoff frustrations, but the Sharks have announced they’re wearing their black jerseys throughout the 2011 playoff run.

Patrick Marleau / Photo by Jon Swenson

This fashion statement is both cool…and intimidating. I first felt this in 1997, when my son took the ice at an away game for his Squirt team, the Fresno Lightening; Black sweaters. Very cool, and very scary.

Let me be the first to say that ordinarily, you might not think of 11-year old boys as intimidating. But, once you have 20 of them skating around in the warm-ups, the contrast between the black sweaters & socks (everyone at that level has black skates, black pants, & black helmets) with the ice and bright lights: and its scary. And I’m not talking about a parent who reasonably gets nervous before a game: Just the sight was fear-inducing.

Some readers who know me know I am also a fan of the Oakland Raiders. This affiliation occurred when I was about 11 or 12; I was also a very big fan of the Los Angeles Rams: but when they moved to St Louis, it was all over. It was almost like that when the Raiders moved to LA: but the return to Oakland renewed my commitment…anyway, I digress.

I bring this up, because I get a similar feeling about the Raiders (not Raider Nation: please) at the opening kick-off. Imposing presence.

It’s worth countering this with the whole notion of “they’re professionals.” That is to say, either team shouldn’t care about what the other team’s colors are. I tend to think that most professional athletes develop and sustain extremely high levels of competitive natures that they can emotionally and socially set the other team’s colors aside.

So, what of the Sharks? I do get this feeling of intimidation when you see them in black. But, a few times, the feeling can go through the stratosphere: and its usually one of two episodes: a body check by a Shark or a breakaway by a Shark. So, check the photos following the game tonight with LA: most of the photographers (like Jon Swenson) know the game well, and can get some great shots: hopefully, those photos will be of the guys in teal…and black.

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