I think about hockey sweaters a lot. I’ve collected them since I was a kid. I doodle jersey concepts for fun. I study their history.
Of the ones I owned growing up, my favorite was my Steve Yzerman Team Canada jersey from the 1998 Olympics. White with the alternate captain’s A on it. Pro-weight, with that thick Bauer mesh over the body. Red dazzle material over the sleeves and shoulders with a loose mesh for venting down the side.
I always loved the feel of that sweater. The weight of the mesh. The giant Team Canada crest. Wearing it felt like wearing armor.
Though I’m a Detroit fan, no Red Wings jersey has felt like that. The mesh of an authentic jersey always feels good but the Winged Wheel is too small, its proportions are off. It’s a thing attached to the front of the sweater, not a part of it.
I think about the submissions I’ve done for the Grand Rapids Griffins’ jersey design contest and I realize how much those are influenced by that Team Canada jersey. I created them to be like armor. Heraldic imagery. And a big damn shield right on the front.
So Jenny is obsessed with Hamilton and has been for months. We got our tickets to see it in Chicago last week, she’s had tickets to see it in New York for months, she’s had the recording on a near-constant loop for quite some time, all that.
Of late, I’ve found myself listening to it pretty often, and something just clicked for me about “The Election of 1800.”
After several scenes of heavy drama surrounding the collapse of Alexander Hamilton’s political career, marriage, and the death of his son, Thomas Jefferson asks, “Can we get back to politics?” It signals a shift in the narrative, that the characters and story are moving on.
The first half or so of the song sets up the conflict between Jefferson and Aaron Burr. The title character finally gets brought in when asked, “Dear Mr. Hamilton: John Adams doesn’t stand a chance so who are you promoting?”
His response? “It’s quiet uptown.”
It’s a callback to the previous scene, in which he and his wife reconcile while mourning their son. It’s also a beautiful sign of how, while the rest of the world has moved on, he has not.
I was going to do a write-up of the winners of the Grand Rapids Griffins’ jersey contest over at DetroitHockey.Net – where I’d already done a review and posted my predictions – but I realized doing so after my design didn’t win would come across as sour grapes. Instead, I decided to own that; accept the label and go forward anyway, posting my issues with the winning designs here instead of at DH.N.
And since I’m complaining, I should mention my write-up of my original submission. Obviously I designed that for a reason, it’s my style. Apparently it wasn’t the style of the Griffins but we have no word from them on what criteria were used to make their decision so I stand by it.
Let’s look at the winners in the order they were announced…
This is the one that annoys me most. It’s a fantastic jersey. I said right off that bat that I knew the Griffins would wear it. It’s not an original design, though.
That’s a Grand Rapids Rockets jersey updated to say “Griffins” instead. It looks awesome and it’s a well-done update but Roberts did not design the jersey. I feel like in a competition with a prize on the line, it’s akin to plagiarism. How can you win a jersey design contest without designing a jersey?
As I wrote in my review, I like a bunch of the individual elements on this jersey. Overall, though, it comes across as weak. The blue crest gets lost on the blue jersey. The lack of red loses part of the Griffins’ identity. The “Tuebor” on the collar works but “Si Quaeris Peninsulam Amaenam Circumspice” on the back just seems slapped on there (I’d suggested it go on the cuff). Especially with at least six stronger jerseys in contention, I don’t get why this one was picked. But there is a conspiracy theory out there…
Sure is easy to reproduce a jersey that already follows an existing template.
Like I said off the top (and in the title): chalk it up as sour grapes if you want. I’m disappointed I didn’t win. But I don’t think that means my thoughts on the winners are invalid.