Tuesday, January 17, 2012

More Than Just a Game...How Camo Jerseys Honor the Military

Chicago Blackhawks Wear Camo on Veterans Day
For the better part of a decade now, professional and collegiate sports teams have been donning camouflage jerseys, an act that has far more meaning than just intimidating opponents on the field.  Not only do these jerseys show a strong sign of respect for our military, but they also display a great symbol of patriotism.  With big name sports teams such as North Carolina basketball, San Diego Padres, Toronto Raptors, Chicago Blackhawks and UMD football, it really opens the eyes of the sports world that there are many more important things going on in this world than sports.  Other teams who have worn camouflage jerseys to support the military include, Michigan State basketball, Cincinnati Reds, Chicago White Sox, Anaheim Ducks and the New York Islanders, just to name a few.

Toronto Raptors Unveil the First Camo NBA Jersey
With camo jerseys being more relevant than ever, the Toronto Raptors announced the NBA’s first ever camouflage jersey. The move to create the camo jerseys is rooted in the Raptors’ ownership group’s support of the Canadian Military. The jerseys will make their first official appearance on March 21 as part of the Canadian Forces Night. The print is mocked up in Canadian Disruptive Pattern (CADPAT), a traditional Canadian computer-generated digi-camo that has been used to reduce the likelihood of detection by night vision devices. The jersey will also be an option for the Raptors in the popular "NBA 2K12" video game.

UMD Honors US Military with Jersey
On November 14, 2009, the University of South Carolina and University of Maryland football teams recognized the sacrifices made by those who have served and those that continue to serve in our nation’s Armed Forces.  The teams took the field in black and desert camouflage uniforms featuring the Wounded Warrior Project logo, a non-profit organization that provides programs and services for injured service members and their families. The camo clad uniforms also had a unique twist.  Duty, Honor, Courage, Commitment, Integrity, Country, Service, and Freedom replaced the players’ last name on the back of each jersey. Terps defensive lineman Travis Ivey said the military connection adds a dimension to the game. “Knowing we’re playing not just for ourselves, but for wounded veterans, I think it will encourage us to persevere because that’s their life."

Getting the sports world involved opens a whole new window to military appreciation.  Praying to God that your team wins their next game might seem like the most important thing going on in your life when it really isn’t.  There are over a million soldiers fighting to defend your freedom, just so you can feel safe inside your house while you’re watching the New York Football Giants destroy the Green Bay Cheeseheads.  So the next time you see a team take the field in a camouflage jersey, don’t just criticize whether you think it looks cool or not, take time to appreciate the people who have risked their lives and worked the hardest out of anyone in the country to defend your way of life.

Peter Azzarone @ Rothco