The nadir came Saturday when the Ducks stepped all over themselves in Puddles-themed unis. …It should end now, but if they insist on finishing out the season with disposable garments week in and week out, below are a few suggestions on how to do it in style.

By Andrew J. Pridgen

The Nike PR Department once said that Tiger Woods once said, “Winning solves everything.” Of course, the Portland-based company last week stopped production of Woods’ line of golf balls and golf clubs altogether.

I should hope whomever is in charge of the University of Oregon alt-uni design department at Nike comes to the Monday meeting armed with Bowery Bagels and the idea of giving the landfill a break and Tide Pods a chance with a single green and yellow home kit and a single yellow and green away kit for the rest of the 2016 season, and on.

After all, it’s about the human beings underneath the uniform — more specifically, what is inside the human beings inside the uniform — or at least that’s what Craig T. Nelson said in All the Right Moves. And that’s good enough for me (after all, he was so good as a high school coach in All the Right Moves he went go on to become college coach in Coach.)

I find it only fitting (<– get it?) that Oregon’s quest week after week to take a factory-somewhere-third-world-sized-chef’s-torch to the fucking ice caps and give their underage factory workers something to stitch together besides their own suicide nets came to a head Saturday when Nike modeled a uniform after the Ducks’ own mascot, which brings new meaning to the expression, “If it looks like a Duck and quacks like a Duck and gets trampled by a fucking herd of Buffalo like a Duck…then it must be a Duck.”

Helping the Buffaloes to their sixth Pac-12 win in a half-decade while wearing orange fucking tights like it was hot-girl Halloween is cause for pause. And maybe cause for bedazzling the jerseys with a Mark Helfrich postgame quote: “I’ve never been in a train wreck, but that’s probably what it would feel like” (instead of the one they bore Saturday, “Once a Duck, always a Duck.”)

In the spirit of marketing (and coaching) budgets already set and the alt-uni (and Helfrich) not going away until after the season, I suggest we bid adieu to the 12-times/year Star Wars trash compactor filling of helmets and Dri-FIT with something a little more innovative than GI Joe snow camo socks or strangely misogynistic pink flare helmets to honor breast cancer month.

Here then, alt-unis suggestions for the remainder of the season.

Oct. 1 Washington State

David “Frog” Miller. For more than three decades Frog was the Bruce Vilanch of 13th Street. Need a joke? Frog’s got you covered. Have some spare change after buying a couple blue books and some Bazooka en route to a midterm? Break some off and Frog’s your best friend. Puking up a Glenwood waffle at 3 a.m. while walking back to the dorms? Frog may just take a bite of it when he gets up. Frog’s signature overalls or oversized tie dye shirt (or Homeland Security sweatshirt, see: video below), baggy sweat pant things and Gandalf beard …not to mention a helmet that resembles a knit green and silver cap should keep the Nike design team up downing Coffee People Jim and Patty’s Coffee for the next four to six nights.

Oct. 8 vs. Washington

Kurt Cobain. To commemorate the 25th anniversary of the release of Nirvana’s seminal Nevermind, and the fact that U-Dub hasn’t beaten Oregon all that much in that same quarter century, a uniform resembling a green jersey cardigan and brown corduroy-like pants should do just fine. The Ducks can further come out to Jesus Doesn’t Want Me for a Sunbeam to make the Huskies feel right at home. Plus, a Nike/Sub Pop mashup…HELLO cross-marketing opportunities, especially at SeaTac

Oct. 21 @ Cal

The trust funder Women’s Studies major from Brentwood slumming it in Eugene for a few years you had a crush on from Comp Lit class who you finally got the courage to ask out after downing a few pitchers of Black Butte at Max’s while she was playing pool. You invited her to Saturday Market to help you pick out some soap and ended up back at her place trying to get her backless apron shirt dress thing off (tougher than it should have been) while she was keeping one eye on the oven trying to make sure not to burn the pot brownies because she was using the last of her roommate’s special butter. I think this one’s pretty self-explanatory. And I would love to see a backless jersey for once. Also, should attendance start to sag at Autzen in time to a program that’s already flown south for the winter, these unis just may inspire Nike to sponsor a Lilith Fair reunion tour. Imagine Sheryl Crow, Tracy Chapman, Jewel, Paula Cole, Suzanne Vega, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Joan Osborne, Cardigans, Emmylou Harris and Natalie Merchant back at Autzen with Nike-designed sweat-wicking dancing butterfly wings available at the concession. I will wash the dishes while you go have a beer.

Oct. 29 vs. Arizona State

The disgruntled graveyard-shift sandwich artist at the Hilyard Subway. No matter how little money you had or how long a night it’d been — from wandering around the tree streets looking for a party to getting baked by the Bijou fountain and then passing out a half hour into Dazed and Confused (or just “Dazed” if you‘re a local) — it was never too late (and you were never too obnoxious) to make graveyard disgruntled sandwich artist guy make you a sandwich. Bonus points if he ever gave you double meats for not having to throw up in the trash can. This game is during Halloween weekend in Eugene and most of the student body will be dressed like this guy anyway (hint: stolen visors when he’s not looking), so there you go. Also, get Subway in on the action and free green aprons to the first 20k through the Autzen turnstiles. I’d also love to see Nike take a crack at the clear plastic signature disposable sandwich-making gloves for the skill position players.

Nov. 12 vs. Stanford

The guy from your dorm who you don’t know if he was ever enrolled in school but he’s definitely killing it selling weed. At Oregon we didn’t get a perfect score on our verbal. Our daddy didn’t fix the bell in Hoover Tower to get us in and fucking president Michael Douglas didn’t go to our school and use that factoid to bang Annette Bening. And while most Stanford grads go on to work for big companies built on terrible ideas creating solutions for problems that don’t exist and never, ever make money until someone bigger with fewer ideas buys them — (think, like the opposite of the Sharper Image, which was where most Oregon grads ended up working…before they closed.) I think there is an entrepreneurial streak Duck undergrads learn in Bean…an education that nobody in the cradle of the Silicon Valley gets unless they’ve started to watch High Maintenance. Plus, I’m pretty sure the uniforms are going to look great with a Hacky Sack hanging out the back, though carrying around bootleg tapes of one of the spring ’95 DMB Salem Armory Under the Table and Dreaming show along with three or four pipes may be a bit cumbersome for the secondary. Think of the viewing party at Hunky Dory that weekend.

Nov. 19 @ Utah

High-point craft brew. The right to drink something with an ABV above what you’d find being consumed in the back of high school parking lots past nine on a Friday is the craft brewing legacy Oregon brings with them to the Wasatch front the week before Thanksgiving. Just think of those foamy helmets and that rich, full-bodied dark amber Ninkasi-themed uniform. Utah’s front seven just may drool themselves into spotting the Ducks a pair of scores before pounding them like a Mirror Pond from lines that have just been flushed.

Nov. 26 @ Oregon State

Trainwreck. At this point in the season the Ducks will likely be playing for whether they’re going to close out the season at .500 or 5 and 7. Oregon State may be looking to grab their second win. Knowing that Reser Stadium has been the home field for all-things-middling on the gridiron in the Pacific Northwest for most of the past five decades, it’s fitting that both Oregon institutions’ trainwreck season(s) comes to a screeching halt here. I’m hoping the Ducks’ final homage to the Helfrich quote following the Colorado loss also turns into a tribute to the movie of the same name’s strangely off-key final scene where Amy Schumer dons a Knicks City Dancers uniform and shakes it awkwardly to Uptown Girl for Bill Hader.

Andrew J. Pridgen is the author of “Burgundy Upholstery Sky” and said he wanted to go to Lollapalooza even though he wanted to go to the Lilith Fair. Can’t you tell?

 

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