More than an old shirt

I like to consider myself – not quite minimalist – but intentional with the clothes I own. I usually wear my clothes over and over again until they’re ratty enough to be thrown out.

There’s usually no dramas there.

Lately, I’ve concluded that it’s time to throw out my “Red zone” shirt. It’s got numerous holes and the neckline looks like it’s been chewed by a small animal. But… still.

I got the shirt in 2008. I’d been in the US for around a month at that point, ready to start my Masters degree. It was the first football game of the school year, the first (and so far, only) football game I’d ever watched. One of my new friends had invited me to watch the game at the stadium.

I’m not much of a sports watching person, but how could I say no? So I went along. They were giving away free shirts to students, so we happily grabbed them as we went in.

I remember snippets of the game. I remember being in that massive stadium surrounded with the energy of several hundred (thousand?) other students. I remember desperately trying to make sense of what was happening on the field, jingling my keys when everyone else did. I remember the Stanford Tree and the Dollies.

It was a great start to what would end up being an amazing year (and a few months). Obviously, it wasn’t all roses – there were ups and downs as I struggled with homesickness and the stresses of grad school. But I look at that time fondly, over a decade on, and sometimes wish I could go back to that time. Isn’t that always the case, though?

Anyway. The shirt has always reminded me of that time, warts and all. I liked wearing it out and about as a nod to that time. It has “The Red Zone” across the chest, with “Stanford Cardinal” under the bottom. Not as in-your-face as shirts with a massive “STANFORD” emblazoned across the chest, but I liked the subtlety. And now it’s time for it to be chucked.

I’m actually wearing it right now, and when I take it off tonight, I think it needs to go in the bin, not the laundry hamper. I know it’s only a shirt, but ah! The memories.

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