Monday, April 02, 2007

you can't a-Voit the inevitable

For most people, there is no more self-conscious or awkward stage of life than Junior High. I am one of those people.

It was a time of self-discovery. I was into so many different things. I was into music. I was into sports. I was into girls (though most weren’t into me). I was into ‘Saved by the Bell’. I was into making my friends laugh. I was into getting into trouble. I was into a lot.

But in Junior High you have to start narrowing things down. You have to start making decisions about who you are going to be; what you are going to value; what you are going to spend your time and energy on; what you are going to pour yourself into.

I was on the basketball team. I’ve played basketball my whole life and the perfect description of my basketball ability and experience is this: the sixth man. If you don’t know, a basketball team has five players on the floor at a time. The five that start the game are generally the…duh…five best. The first guy off the bench; the one who is good but not quite good enough; that guy is called the ‘the sixth man’. Good enough to compete with the best, but not good enough to be one of them.

Every year, at the end of the season, our coach would coordinate the Father/Son Game. A time for fun, food and little friendly competition. My father, in his day, was a pretty good athlete. But outside of bowling, an occasional game of golf, and a little pitch and catch with me in the back yard…by the time I was in Junior High, he really hadn’t done anything too athletic in years. Thus, it had been a while since he had the need for decent athletic garb.

So his ‘outfit’ for the Father/Son Game: denim shorts…a Special Olympics t-shirt (he and my mom volunteered with the Special Olympics which is why he had the shirt, but the word ‘Volunteer’ appeared no where on it)…and to top it all off, a pair of ten dollar Voit tennis shoes, complete with Velcro, that He had purchased that day at the local hardware store.

Ten dollar Voit tennis shoes. Not Nike. Not Reebok. Voit.

Now today, I truly appreciate, and actually admire, my father’s lack of concern with fashion. He wears what works…period. It doesn’t matter what it looks like. There are simply more important things to worry about than what someone else might think of the clothes he is wearing. He doesn’t care. My Father is more comfortable in his own skin than anyone I have ever known. I wish I had one ounce of that.


in Junior High…in eye of the pubescent storm…trying to figure out who I was…and wanting so badly to prove myself to my coach and my friends, “appreciate” and “admire” my father’s denim shorts, Special Olympics t-shirt and ten dollar Voits…I did not.

It was one of those moments that you remember forever. “Scarred” is way too serious of a word. I was not scarred by it, but it was seared in my memory.

So, why am I telling you all of this?

Because two weeks ago, we were in Gatlinburg and wanting to play a round of disc golf. It was drizzling and thus the course was a tad bit muddy. I was wearing shoes that I didn’t want to ruin, so I stopped by Wal-Mart and purchased…drum roll please…yep, you guessed it, a pair of Voit tennis shoes.

Now guess how much they cost?

Ten dollars. Apparently, the people over at “Voit Co.” are not real concerned with inflation.

The shoes fit nice, they are comfortable and most surprising, I actually like the way they look. In fact, I’m wearing them right now.

So either its true that “what goes around comes around”. Or I am turning into my father. For my sake, I hope it is the latter.

But don’t expect to see me in a Special Olympics t-shirt anytime soon.


The Anonymous Human said...

"...denim shorts…a Special Olympics t-shirt (he and my mom volunteered with the Special Olympics which is why he had the shirt, but the word ‘Volunteer’ appeared no where on it)…and to top it all off, a pair of ten dollar Voit tennis shoes, complete with Velcro..."

with every word, it got better and better...

The Anonymous Human said...

BTW, I noticed a new artist at the bottom of your "music I enjoy" section...can't get him out of your head can you?

greg said...

have you seen my baseball?

Going Weston said...

A.) I had some voit high tops in Elementary mom told me they were "newer and better than Nike," and thats why no one else had them.

B.) I had a pair like those in the pic, I was playing soccer one day in them and my right shoe completely ripped in from the velcro to the toe just ripped and flew off, leaving me with a ho-bo shoe. So be carefull.

and 3.) Is it bad that I dress like your dad, and I'm 23...?

Kevin said...

At 35, I'm still holding out for a pair of Zips because there's still a part of me that believes, just as I did at 7, that merely wearing them would enable me to jump over tall bushes and make me the fastest kid in the neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

Great article. I am glad that you have come so far from those junior high days! Relating to what you said, I live with the extremes of your example. I now wear custom tailored Italian suits. But outside of the office, I wear pretty normal stuff. I obviously have the means to wear anything I want now, but you will never find me in Armani buying $400 shirts. I literally don't care. And even more than that, I can't empathetically get in their skin and feel what it would be like to judge someone based on that. (That was confusing.) But that is why I don't care. I suppose my car is the exception, but I don't feel special when I drive it. Special like wearing a pair of Guess jeans in junior high. Have I lost you yet? Do you see what I am saying?


bill said...

i'm with you, jeff. yeah...junior high, highschool, those are definitely the peak of the self-conscious, image driven days for most people. certainly for me. i'm still fighting it, though. i'm not to the "Mike Wolf" level yet, that is for sure.

i bet you see a ton of that crap in your line of work though, huh?

Anonymous said...

It is not as bad as you would think. I am sure it is pretty bad on the Street, but we have a pretty good group of guys in a Chicago boutique. Things are just on a different scale. It is like, of course you got a Beamer, what were you supposed to get. Kinda weird coming from where we are from though.