Saturday, April 05, 2014

Uni Watchdog

There are just a few web sites I read every day. I check Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and EBay on my phone. Personal email may get skipped for a day or two. But besides, the only real website I check every day is Uni Watch, which features daily news and articles about uniforms. Very interesting to me. Been reading it for several years now.

Some of the information is overkill. I skip the news on hockey and soccer, and usually tennis as well. As an old fogie the latest shiny uniforms put out by Nike and her cousins turn me off, so I don’t read the news about all the smaller schools trying to make their mark on the uni landscape. Every morning new content is posted and the comments build throughout the day. By the time I read the post in the evening just about every conceivable comment has been posted. I would have to browse through over a hundred comments to see if my contribution had already been posted by another commenter, lest I look dumb for making a duplicate comment.

Every now and then I will post something obscure about the Braves, Tech, or Clemson, and sometimes the Falcons or Hawks. Photos of Will playing baseball in stirrups have been featured on the site, and other contributions I’ve made have been credited to me by name. But I am in no way a major contributor.    
The site was originated by New Yorker Paul Lukas, who has written for ESPN, the Village Voice, and several other media outlets. Single. Jewish. Mets fan. Lives in jeans, Chuck Taylors, and vintage clothing bought off EBay. Plays softball in stirrups and Brooklyn Dodgers cap. While we have several interests in common, we also have marked differences. While he has so many readers that I would be vain to think he knows who I am, we have swapped a few emails over the years. In the early days of Uni Watch I had made a point on Christmas and Easter to leave Christ-centered comments, something he probably disdained. Strike one?

During the college bowl season Paul went out of his way to call out the ChickfilA Bowl as over-commercialization at its finest, when in fact every other bowl was guilty of the same crime. I was quick to object, pointing out how the CFA Bowl is near the top in attendance and money given to charity. Strike two? This past year Paul caved and gave every bowl the same treatment, which was fine with me.

Uni Watch is an excellent site, with all the new content and links that get published with very few foul-ups. Quite professional for such a small operation – he has just a few helpers. Something well beyond the scope of what I could accomplish. Another very hard task Paul has is putting up with the many commenters to his site. Sometimes he has to draw the line on arguments. Not an easy job – making him an easy target for criticism. It’s his party, so he gets to make the rules. I have no problem with that.

A recent target of debate on Uni Watch has been the use of derogatory Indian names as team mascots and names. Paul had been a leader of this debate, primarily focusing on the Washington Redskins and Chief Wahoo of the Cleveland Indians. The Braves have their issues, but are not yet a prime target (NOTE: while I have noticed decreased use of the tomahawk, the Braves continued to promote the tomahawk chop last season. The tomahawk was dropped from the red jersey this season, and the alternate cap with the tomahawk A may be dropped as well. It will be interesting to see if the tomahawk will be phased out completely by the time the Braves move to their new stadium).    

To raise money and to give Uni Watch more of a family atmosphere, several years ago Paul instituted a membership program. Readers pay $25.00 and receive a custom-designed membership card and receive extra entries into various Uni Watch giveaways. Cheapskate that I am, I have never joined – though I’ve always had in mind what my card would look like. Every Christmas Day Paul generously stages a large contest to give away dozens of uni-related items he accumulated throughout the year. Every year I eagerly enter but have never won. I’m guessing most of the winners are members who get automatic multiple entries. I have no problem with this, but in my frustration I sometimes wonder if Christian/Braves fans like me have been placed on a blackballed list.  

Recently Paul added yet another interesting feature to Uni Watch, featuring a short “get to know you” write-up about the Uni Watch readers who submit them. Though I am not a major contributer I wrote up a submission about myself, though I have yet to send it. Then I learned Uni Watch memberships could be paid for with Amazon giftcards, which I have. I quickly checked out the rules of the membership program (no purple – Paul’s hated color). I was dismayed to read that no Braves card design would be accepted. Paul’s website – Paul’s rules. Perhaps I won’t become a member after all. Still, I wonder what my chances are to have my profile published?

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