thumbI don’t know when the modern tradition of bringing out championship caps and shirts during the celebration of sports victories began, but as an organizer I really hate it.

Before I start my rant—er, blog, I want to congratulate the St. Louis Cardinals on winning a very exciting World Series.  I read online this morning that in late August, St. Louis stood a .02% of making the playoffs.  The PLAYOFFS! Let alone the series.  Then down went the Phillies, down went the Brewers and finally down went Texas.  My good friend Blair is from Joplin, which was decimated by a tornado this year.  Missouri really needed a sweet victory after such a tough year and their home team delivered.

But before we can celebrate this meaningful moment, let’s dress the winners up in un-meaningful grey shirts and caps.  That bothers me because these garments are like late comers that just don’t belong in the moment.  I remember watching Hank Aaron hit his 714th home run to beat Babe Ruth’s record and I remember feeling the same thing when a fan jumped on to the field to circle the bases with him.  That guy didn’t belong there!  This is Hank’s moment.

My feeling is dance with the once who brought you.  It is the Cardinal uniform that the fans saw all season, especially the home town uniform, that belongs in the photos and videos of this special occasion, not these late-comer shirts and caps.

These shirts and caps distract from the moment.   Part of the excitement of baseball is that the batter and pitcher must be very actively involved in the moment.  In a split second that strike pitch can turn to a ball pitch, if you’re not paying attention.  The burdens of the past are gone. The future is unknown.  Only the moment matters.  Many definitions of happiness are about living in the moment.  Organizing is about unloading the burdens from the past and setting up systems for the future, so that you can enjoy the now.  What doesn’t help is adding more junk!

As an organizer, I look at these shirts and caps and think EXCESS.  The players will be getting rings to commemorate the occasion of this victory.   They will keep and cherish these rings forever. Do they really need these shirts and caps too? Again, wouldn’t the actual uniform shirt and hat, be more valuable?

In my clients homes I see ton of t-shirts and caps, and many of them are just for showing up at family reunions and corporate outings.   They don’t actually represent an accomplishment.  So as I see it, these late-comer shirts and caps that the champs must don, kind of cheapen their incredible accomplishment.

You might argue that the Cardinals get to wear these t-shirts and caps because they DID actually accomplish something, but so can ANYone else who didn’t accomplish anything, by buying them.  So what makes them special?

That brings up my other problems with these shirts and caps, which is the blatant commercialism.   It’s someone saying, “Hey, let’s cash in on the moment.”  I don’t have a problem with a fan buying a shirt to commemorate the occasion, but I don’t like the idea of using this special occasion to push this product by using the champs as models.

Finally, I’m really bothered by the sheer waste that comes from this practice.  You know there had to be a ton of shirts and caps printed up for the 2011 World Series Champions Texas Rangers.  I’m sure these can’t be worn, which means they will go to waste, which I hate.

I suppose I could change my mind, if I learned that the proceeds from these shirts and caps went to a Joplin relief efforts or some other charity.  It might even help to learn that they were manufactured in the United States, but until I learn anything like that, every World Series, Super Bowl, and Stanley Cup celebration will be cheapened for me by this distraction gear.