Saturday, January 30, 2010

Uniforms...Earned not Purchased

Throughout my youth athletic career and up through college, I thoroughly enjoyed wearing the uniform of the sports team to which I was a member. In fact, uniform issue day was one of my favorite days of the season, as it marked an accomplishment. It meant I made the team. It meant the work I put in during the off-season was time well spent. It meant more time spent with my friends who shared the same level of passion for the sport of the season. Today, as a Naval Officer, I feel an even greater sense of pride when I put on the uniform representing the team with whom I currently serve.

"u-ni-form [yoo-nuh-fawrm] - noun. An identifying outfit or style of dress worn by the members of a given profession, organization, or rank."

Last weekend, when I was watching the NFC and AFC Championships, I was once again reminded of a behavior that I will likely never understand...the act of wearing the uniform jersey of another grown man (especially with another persons name on the back). I enjoy watching college and professional sports as much as the next guy (and likely more than most) and will even put on some Navy Blue and Gold to watch Navy Football. But, for me a uniform will continue to be something that is earned and not merely purchased. It's donning the Navy ball cap signifying the successful transition from recruit to Sailor at Boot Camp, it's making the final cut on an athletic team as a child and yes, it's being fortunate enough to have an employer compensate you for your value/time.

It's not that I think less of people who proudly wear someone else's uniform, refer to the team on the field as "we" and let the result of a game dictate their mood...it's just one of many things I don't understand. Just imagine if we all demonstrated the same level of pride, enthusiasm and passion for the teams of which we are truly a part (i.e. job, family, etc)?

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