During the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s, about the only small-town Arizona high school football team to wear black uniforms was the Round Valley Elks.
They wore it because black was one of the school colors.
I have to admit, the sight of coach Tot Workman’s Elks charging onto the field in their all-black uniforms was intimidating, but I think it was more because his teams were so dang dominating.
Most recently, other schools have chosen black uniforms, including the Payson High School football team.
Former PHS coach Byron Quinlan and I had a friendly disagreement on using the color, which he seemed to favor.
My argument was that purple and gold were school colors and that tradition should be maintained, especially when uniforms were concerned.
Byron was one of my former students and players and I love him to death, but I realized he was the head coach and the decision of what colors to wear was his alone.
To me, black often is associated with grief and sadness. Psychologist David Fontana once wrote, “Black is the symbol of death, sorrow and the underworld.”
But there are teams who look to create a subliminal effect on opponents by using black, which can be interpreted as a symbol for bravado.
Black also gives the illusion of speed, especially in fast-paced sports like football.
Watching the Arizona State University Sun Devils win this year, especially the Territorial Cup victory over Arizona, was a real thrill for this ASU alum.
But in some games, the team’s choice of solid black or partly black uniforms rather than the traditional maroon and gold sometimes bothered me.
I’ve been told I’m just and old fogie set in my ways and pretty much agreed with the assessment until I received e-mails from Rob and Tim Peterson — twin brothers who were starters on Arizona State’s 1975 football team that finished 12-0 and beat Nebraska in the Fiesta Bowl.
Tim wrote, “The University of Arizona may have lost the game this year, but they can claim honor. The Wildcats wore their colors and deserve credit … for doing so. They protected their pride. Where ASU slapdash … and chose to wear “Black” identifying with commercial exploitation. Think about this for a moment: could we identify with our nation if Nike and others sold the concept to change our nation’s colors? Would we accept it? Are we degrading our distinguished tradition stitch by stitch?”
He concludes by asking, “Let’s be proud of our colors, the Maroon, the Gold, our tradition and demonstrate our allegiance to Arizona State University.”
His brother Rob, agrees, “I think he has a point about keeping with tradition… Let’s bring home our colors and bring home a national championship in 2013.”
Okay, maybe I’m not such an old fogie after all. The Petersons are younger than I, and they’re in favor of retaining traditional school colors.
Due to a problem on an online reporting site, the score of the Lady Longhorns vs. Globe game on Nov. 20 was reported incorrectly as 51-0. The final tally was actually 51-26, PHS coach Jen White said.