I try to break out of my comfort zones from time to time. I have never been a fan of horror movies because they are scary. For the longest time I was under the impression that my wife shared that same opinion. Some time ago when she became enthralled with the Twilight series of books (that were later turned into movies) about vampires and werewolves, I was surprised. Just to display my love for her (and to display that I’m not afraid of my own shadow) I decided that I would show her that I was interested in something that she was interested in and break out of my comfort zone about scary movies.
Yes, I now have seen all three of the Twilight movies and now know they are less about scary vampires and werewolves and much more about guys who sparkle in the sunlight. While watching these movies (trying to find the positives and doing anything to distract me from the bad acting) I found myself listening for non-native bird calls (used as background noises) and focusing on the beautiful landscape of the Pacific Northwest, the setting of the books/movies. There is something special about Oregon and Washington. The movies also remind me of living in Idaho and leave me hoping for a return trip to those areas (regardless of the recent inhabitants of men without shirts).
The University of Oregon has been in the sports spotlight over the last few weeks as well. The Ducks faced the University of Auburn Tigers in the NCAA National Championship (which is a ridiculous title for a meaningless end to a sport, but that rant is for another post). Since baseball has yet to start, I watched the football game. I knew Auburn would win so I pulled for the underdogs in what was a great game. While watching the game I couldn’t ignore the new color palette used in the uniforms of the Ducks.
For several years Oregon has been breaking comfort zones and tradition in the realm of collegiate football uniforms and now their new area’s basketball court. In every single game this season the Ducks had a different uniform. The highlighter yellow socks and shoes in the national championship game were simply distracting.
According to GoDucks.com, “All told, Oregon will have 80 different combinations (jersey/pant/helmet) at their disposal.” The uniforms do feature the latest technology offered by Nike that avoid collecting moisture, are lighter, and work with specific pieces of well-designed pads.
The basketball Ducks have a new arena and basketball court. Keeping the tradition of breaking the mold their court is like none other. In this instance the designers took inspiration from the Pacific Northwest’s landscape and replicated the dense forest on the court itself. I like the idea but the application is strange. At the very least this court takes pressure off of Boise State University’s “Smurf turf” (a blue and orange, artificial turf football field and the most distracting sports related field/court). Again Nike, was deeply connected with the arena and court design.
In an article in the New York Daily News, Seth Davis (CBS college basketball analyst) was quoted saying “I frankly do not understand why a school of Oregon’s caliber thought it necessary to design a court that is so garish, to me it means they don’t think they are good enough to get our attention by winning basketball games, do they need another gimmick.” I couldn’t agree more.
There is something to say about tradition as well as new technology or ideas in this court (sorry, pun intended) as well as the field of interpretation (again apology, intended). To me this is the equivalent of the free food offer to get visitors to programs. Don’t get me wrong, food can be an effective tool in programming but shouldn’t cheapen the real product you are offering. I’m not sure at what point you do something for change itself, to be shocking, or sell jerseys, that you sacrifice credibility of your product (even if you are in the national championship game). If no one takes you seriously, how effective are you at getting your intended message out.
Yes, I know there are two more Twilight movies to come and I can’t wait (to spend the time with my wife).