And they [were] all yellow
August 22, 2011
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Todd Borden | Guest opinion | August 22, 2011
Look at the stars, look how they shine for you, and they [were] all yellow
I remember my first DP football game in 1975; I was awed by the team as they ran out onto the field in their navy blue jerseys and yellow helmets. Earlier, I remember watching my next-door neighbor, Richard Stein, help lead the school to its first CIF championship in basketball in 1971 in his navy and yellow uniform. Somewhat later, I remember meeting my wife at the DP vs. Santa Barbara High game (when Randall Cunningham single-handedly beat us on a two-point conversion as the gun sounded—but that’s another story) as DP and its yellow helmets competed against SBHS and their gold helmets. Since I’ve been a teacher at this school, I remember watching DP play San Luis Obispo in the CIF football finals in 2002 in their yellow helmets. And, of course, I remember my own navy and yellow baseball uniform and bright yellow varsity letter.
So it was a surprise to me when DP changed its schools colors to navy and gold in 2007. I was told something about how DP originally had gold helmets in the late 1960s, and how DP’s colors were intended to be the gold of Santa Barbara High and the blue of San Marcos. But these were not the colors that I had grown up admiring since I was a child, nor were these the colors that I wore proudly as a student-athlete. For these reasons, and dozens more, I would love to see DP return to the familiar and long-standing navy and yellow again.
I’ve heard it said that the DP’s Notre Dame-style football uniforms are popular with some people. But when I see a picture of our football team in the newspaper, I can’t tell if I’m looking at the Chargers, or the Santa Barbara Dons, or the St. Bonaventure “we-recruit-every-good-player-that-doesn’t-attend-Oaks Christian” team.
And what is so iconic about the all-too-common gold helmet anyway? Sure Notre Dame is famous for their golden domes, but wait, is that Notre Dame, or Navy, or Purdue, or Boston College, or Baylor, or Colorado, or Pittsburgh, or South Florida, or UCLA, or Washington, or Wake Forest, or Vanderbilt? Hold on while I Google ESPN’s “Uniform Watch.”
But when LSU or the Green Bay Packers take the field, there is no confusion what-so-ever. Talk about instantly recognizable uniforms!
And there’s another problem. Even if you persist in your belief that DP’s University of Pittsburgh-clone football uniform is clearly superior and recognizable than their former LSU or Green Bay-style, you must admit that the gold color of the football helmet does not translate well to the fabric of the uniforms of the other athletic teams that DP fields. The other teams look like they are now wearing navy and light-brown. The t-shirts and banners that support the athletic teams look dingy and washed-out compared to the former vivid yellow. That bright yellow tip-off circle in middle of the gym? Ignore that; we’ll get around to painting it beige one of these years. The helmet car that Chip Foose created to honor his sister— it doesn’t match the current helmets, but who cares—it’s so last century.
I say bring back the yellow helmets that I watched Dan Daly wear as he scored five touchdowns against San Marcos in 1977. If not, at least compromise; UCLA also wears gold helmets for football, but yellow for every other sport (think of their iconic basketball uniforms). If we did this, at the very least we could banish the navy and dingy light-brown.