NOB HILL--I took a vow last week to not touch this subject for love nor money. But Richard Stevens, ABQ Tribune columnist and great-grandson of Montague Stevens, made a big point today of comparing attendance figures for the men's and women's basketball teams at UNM. It seems the record for attendance this year (so far) goes to the women. It isn't that Stevens is surprised...he just thought it was worth mentioning, that's all. And it is.
Now I am not going to go into ALL the reasons for this, just use it as something of a springboard to jump into basketball uniforms and how that affects ones enjoyment of the game. The men's uniforms suck! And it has been that way for quite a while. Oh, many of us thought the wispy satin blouses and ankle-length shorts were just a passing phase. We put up with it and kept buying tickets...for a while.
But when it comes right down to it, there is more to sport than winning. It has to be enjoyable to watch. And basketball has a special place in sports. For one thing bball is the most like dance. The ball is the melody and the players, like dancers, leap and streak into a multitude of jazz variations of that one theme: the flight of the basketball. It flies from player to player, end to end, riff to rumble, and eventually we watch someone with artistry and deftness stick it just right.
Part of the beauty of it is watching the athletes themselves. Their physiques are totally awesome. At least we think they are...because we really can't see them for all that loose and shapeless clothing.
I am not going to venture as to where this style came from, but it looks like it is meant to be primarily a way to cover up being overweight. There must be a lot of overweight tough guys out there, because somehow it became "fashionable" on the mean streets and "spread out" from there.
There certainly is no athletic reason for those suits. They actually look more like casual clothes...and not clothes that were well-selected either. They make the men look small compared to their shorts and shirts. They look shapeless, fat, and blocky, with skinny little legs sticking out the bottoms of yards of material.
The women's uniforms aren't much better. And frankly, the Lobo opponents are usually looking even worse. It is almost like puritanism has improbably visited itself upon a hip-hop generation. And then there is the "spirit squad." How did they get away with tight uniforms. Now I am not saying the Lady Lobos should trade uniforms with the cheerleaders, but the physicality of the players is part of the beauty of sport!