Gary Conkling Life Notes

Mostly whimsical reflections on life

The Green, Yellow, Black, White and Gray “O”

You know you have turned an important corner when people buy you annoying clothes in new colors. In my case, that means stuff branded with the University of Oregon “O.”

il_340x270.488156112_bktoI have other clothing that annoys, such as jerseys, shirts and jackets with the New York Yankees logo and the No. 2. But the color range is pretty restricted to blue and white, with pinstripes thrown in for panache.

There are no boundaries for UO apparel. The rainbow is the university’s school colors. It is perfect to fill out your wardrobe.

For my birthday, I received a stylish gray polo shirt graced with the Oregon Duck and an equally stylish gray zip-up windbreaker featuring the special “O.”

I now have UO polo shirts in all the school colors – green, black, yellow, white and gray. And I have pullovers, vests and windbreakers in just as many colors.

For me, a guy, this makes getting dressed in the morning a lot easier. All I have to do is pick a color for the day. I even have green and gold running shoes that match, sort of.

With so many varieties, I never have to worry about the weather. I can layer up in Duckish style. I even have a short sleeve windbreaker for those not-too-hot, not-too-cool days – or when I go to the park and pretend I’m still playing baseball.

Some people love window decals. My clothing shouts my football favorite. As extra satisfaction, the Duck logo wear also really get under the skin of people who cast their sports allegiance elsewhere, like my brother-in-law, the Washington State University graduate. As best I can tell, he just has one red and gray sweatshirt.

As several of my detractors have noted with a tone of incivility, I didn’t matriculate to or graduate from Duckdom. True, but I did take a week-long executive management course at the university and I stayed at a Holiday Inn near campus.That should count for something.

Many Duck haters, like my mother, grumble about the relationship between Phil Knight and UO. Every time they see the “O” on a Duck jersey, shirt or jacket made by Nike, they grind their teeth, believing it is all a plot to funnel money to Oregon so it can erect flashy temples that lure young gods of football to Eugene. I like to remind these people that they buy Nike gear, too, and are contributing to Phil Knight’s conspiracy, thank you very much.

1460788Even people who smile when I wear Duck apparel can be annoyed when I wear the same Duck apparel over and over. Or as my wife said on my birthday, “Now you don’t have an excuse for wearing your yellow Oregon windbreaker all weekend, every weekend.” She is absolutely right. I can wear my new stylish gray zip-up windbreaker all weekend, one weekend and the yellow pull-over one all weekend, the next weekend. Everybody should be happy.

Of course, the wearing of the Duck jersey is reserved for game day and, even then, only after a shower. Carole joins me on game days with her own, ever-expanding Duck wardrobe. Now with daughter Sophia headed to UO this fall, she is getting in on the act with an array of hoodies. With the first three “home” football games scheduled before classes start in late September, all of us can congregate in our personal executive suite, equipped with our own big-screen TV, refrigerator, restroom and little smokies.

Fall is a great time of year, and all the better because of college football. The tradition, the spectacle and the annoying sports apparel. I love it so much, I annoy people all year long.




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