Friday, March 20, 2015

The Sporting Life

Well, here we are in the thick of March Madness again, with people leaving work early to watch basketball and filling out brackets to see if they can guess the winners. Basketball is definitely one sport that we in The Underworld do NOT follow. The uniforms are altogether too baggy and loose-fitting!  LOL  In fact, the chief requirement of a sport if it wants us to pay attention to it is a sung uniform. Were college basketball players still wearing tops and shorts like the ones in this cover photo, I might be more included to pay attention.

While trawling the world for photos to be used in our sister site, Krazy Kaptions, a project that continues to be a huge hit amongst my Facebook friends, but which has yet to really "happen" on the Internet despite recently reaching its 300th post, I have come across the occasional picture that isn't funny enough to be included there, yet is interesting for other reasons, which may become clear as you look them over. Hence, this post paying tribute to some enjoyable, mostly unknown, athletes and their get-ups!

While we're still on basketball, check out this EARLY shot of the Harvard University team in uniforms that are shocking in their disarray and lack of conformity.
However, the young men certainly are handsome, aren't they? Here's a little bit closer look.
Look at the abbreviated shorts on this 1940s high school team! It's hard to believe that this is what players wore back then, though I would lay odds that there was more ease of movement in them than the almost skirt-like, long-hanging "shorts" that are worn today. (Love the hilariously "tough" little guy on the far right. In charge of water and towels, maybe?)
More of the short-shorts, this time from Michigan State. But what's up with the preened, waxen-looking eyes and faces of the guys? They almost look like they have eye makeup on!
There's something almost diaper-like with this set of uniforms, but I still prefer all that leg over watching someone flounce around in drapey nylon pants.
Before long, satin replaced the heavier fabrics on the court. This team seems to be bursting with hunky virility in spite of the tiny, shiny shorts.
For a while, polyester was king when it came to basketball uniforms. Still worked for me!
Few sports ever boasted a more revealing uniform than wrestling. This lobby card from Pat Boone's tacky 1958 musical Mardi Gras does make me want to see it again because I also seem to remember a song set in either the shower or the locker room, but the shorts he and his friend are wearing are not the traditional wrestling get-up.
These burly and demonstrative sailors in the midst of a wrestling bout look great, but are also not garbed in the standard clothing for the sport.
Neither were these admittedly hunkalicious college guys, plying their trade in front of the school.
No, that would be the brief.
Or in many cases, the singlet!
I do not follow wrestling, but it I believe that high school and college wrestlers choose singlets while the "professional" wrestlers on TV choose anything from a singlet to a brief to compression tights. The get-ups that these young men are wearing look pretty fun!
Get a load of the feathered hair on this stocky gaggle of school wrestlers.
I developed a distaste for WWF-style wrestling when I was a teen and would see those magazines in the drugstore featuring sweaty, bloody faces in all their gory glory. (Look them up sometime if you dare... Ick!) And, of course, today's WWF is filled to the brim with garish gimmickery. No... if I have to choose, I'll take the old fashioned, burly, handsome, brief-clad type of wrestler seen here.

What about this tan, Frenchman with the appealing smile?
Or do you prefer a more intimidating expression?
This guy probably sums up my favorite type of look and physique.
This is a clearer shot of him. Whatever happened to good old-fashioned handsome men like this?!
Singlets recall those early swimsuits men used to wear. Look at this old photograph of a man in a tank-style swimsuit. It's clearly a photo from decades and decades ago, but oh my that handsome, piercing face...
Sometimes even cotton swimsuits could be revealing if they'd shrunken enough. These guys are so tan that the zinc oxide they're using on their lips almost makes them look like they're doing blackface! (But I don't know how you can really spend too much time on their faces with Mr. second-from-the-right in attendance.)
Ever since our childhood summer jaunts to Sunlite Pool (the world's largest recirculating pool) in Cincinnati (not shown here), we've had a thing for Speedo-clad lifeguards, now a thing of the past.
No one thought a thing about sitting in the lifeguard chair in nothing more than a foot or less of fabric!
Again, swiftness in the water during rescue was part of the reason for their existence.
The mid-'80s practically signaled the end of the Speedo except for competitive swimming and diving (and even now its existence is threatened by allegedly more hydrodynamic suits that cover more of the body.)
Thus, scenes like this...
...and this may be gone forever... (though I often celebrate the Speedo and other trim suits in a yearly Memorial Day post.)
I used to love poring over high school and college yearbooks and getting to the swim team pictures.
Another great team sport uniform is that of rowing teams!
Often is seemed as if the guys were deliberately wearing the most flimsy, weathered, paper thin jersey shorts they could get their hands on.
True, these were probably practice clothes...
...but even the official competition uniforms were flimsy, clinging and revealing.
Lastly, we turn to football, a sport in which (as opposed to most of them) the clothing has gotten more revealing over the years.) Here's the weird thing. All my life I hated football. I even PLAYED it for three years and despised every second of it, never knowing at all what either my teammates or I was doing. (And I couldn't get my coaches to give me the time of day! LOL) I was so anti-football that I would rant and rage when games ran over into prime time Sunday TV.
Then, one day, I was at a friend's house during an NFL game and he had a high-def, large-screen TV. I saw all sorts of anatomy that I couldn't believe. And eventually, after watching at first just for the junk, I got to where I am now completely enmeshed in the game itself and cannot bear to ever miss an NFL game if it is on!  Crazy, right? After the Super Bowl I slide into an immediate depression that lasts more or less until the swimming pools open on Memorial Day, alleviated only by occasional social events or sometimes performance in theatre during that period.
This is one of my favorite Bengals, Margus Hunt #99, who is an import from Estonia and who has a remarkable story. Brought to the U.S. for his sport of choice, track & field, he arrived at the college to find that the entire program had been dropped! The 6'8" giant (nicknamed "The Eastern Block") then tried football where he excelled tremendously. Now he's in the NFL. From the looks of it, some of Estonia's Viking heritage is still alive in #99!

Another player who's caught my eye is the Philadelphia Eagles' Zach Ertz, for reasons which should be clear. This is but one example of what it there all day every day on the field, though.
As a football fanatic, I've seen a variety of eye-popping things, be it Dallas Cowboy DeMarco Murray having his pants pulled practically all the way down, exposing his brown behind to the world or other players' pants having the side ripped away, exposing a flank of white or dark butt cheek where his jockstrap didn't cover. Or there's this incident in which the New England Patriots' Rob Gronkowski was tackled and the other player's facemask caught on his waistband.
Gronk wasn't about to give up without a fight, so he just kept on charging, even though the guy was tackling him with his face and pulling his pants farther and farther down with each step.
By far the craziest thing I've seen so far was the day Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Drew Stanton (who slightly resembles Tom Brady, though even better looking and far less of an asshole) took the field and was tackled by the waistband of his jockstrap! The Seattle Seahawk player grabbed the black band at the back of his waist and held on for dear life and Stanton struggled to keep moving.
When he finally had given up and fallen to the turf, he was darn near de-pants on national television.
Most of the time, we don't have to go that far to see what's going on with a player. Take the time Detroit Lions player Same Martin punted the ball out of bounds and was penalized for it. In mid tantrum (in which he was mostly mad at himself, I hope), it became clear that a lot of players opt for compression shorts under their pants rather than anything more substantial.

He might as well be posing in an art class!
So, anyway, if you're a football fan, you know all about this. If you're not, and you're stuck somewhere watching it against your will, see if playing "spot the stem" can help pass the time. In any case, we are not going to break down and watch basketball... unless they go back to something like this 1911 team wore!


Gingerguy said...

Only here could you get me to pay attention to sports! so weird, the further back in time you go the better the guys look. Love the tough little guy in the beginning, he reminds me of the tap dancing, hard boiled kid in "April Showers". I never thought I would say this but I might actually watch a football game someday.

Anonymous said...

The only basketball game that I never miss is the one in The Bachelor and The Bobbysoxer. Johnny Sands and the other players look very sexy.

joel65913 said...

I'm not a sports fan either, aside from diving and gymnastics, but this was a fine looking collection.

The feather haired wrestlers just have to be from the late 70's/early 80's when everybody had that haircut.

Like Armando I remember watching The Bachelor and the Bobbysoxer and being amazed at the brevity of the shorts on the guys playing basketball. I guess that was standard issue back then. Like you I'd be more inclined to watch if it still was!!

Dave in Alamitos Beach said...

Ugh no, you can't get me to get excited about football because they are still too covered up. And when you can't see their faces, what's the point? Basketball is even worse, and baseball is too slow. I guess soccer is the best since you get to see faces and bodies mostly unencumbered.

I marvel over the fact that people actually wore more revealing close in my grandfather's era, and he was born in 1896!

Poseidon3 said...

Good for you, Gingerguy! Hey, at least I may have given you a way to suffer through if you're stuck at a house or party in which football is being shown. :-)

Armando and Joel, I have never seen The Bachelor and the Bobbysoxer, but it's more than clear that I need to the next time it's on! Thanks for the endorsement of it.

Now, Dave, you're just being selfish... ha ha! You want to see the crotch AND the face together?!?!? As I tried to show with Drew Stanton, the guys can still be VERY handsome and once you know what their faces look like, you can fill in the blanks once their helmets are on. BTW, I went to a baseball game last summer. Hotter than the 7th level of hell and it went 12 innings before a single score. Sloppy-looking players so far from what I grew up seeing. NEVER, E-V-E-R again......

KP Knapp said...

I stopped watching all basketball when the players switched from short shorts to wearing either ladies culottes or gauchos. Now players love to make homophobic remarks about the old style players' uniforms.

angelman66 said...

Spring is here, Poseidon, and you are getting us all feeling frisky!! And long live the speedo, the brief and the singlet!! Sports are so stimulating... ;-)

Dave in Alamitos Beach said...

Actually, despite enjoying your blog and this post, I'm not much of a crotchwatcher at all. It's probably the last thing I notice after a beautiful face and the rest of the body (I know, blasphemous!).

That's why I like watching soccer (and I don't really watch it at all) more than say wrestling (the "real" kind at the Olympics) despite wrestling's almost perfect outfits.

So I'm afraid I'm a diving fan just like everyone else. :-) Hopefully they never go the way of swimmers and those full body suits. I'm sure ratings would plummet if they ever did that.