Team uniforms, Australian underwater hockey players are passionate about them. Everyone’s got an opinion and you can never keep everyone happy. Getting the uniform right can improve the awesomeness of any team. A decade of Australian dominance was built on over-sized florescent green and gold parachute tracksuits.
Still, a large group of people deciding to wear exactly the same thing at the same time is a little strange. You often see big groups from one sport or another, rocking out together in matching crop tops and short shorts. Sometimes they look good, most of the time they don’t. Irrespective, they always stand out.
This is especially true in our sport. A bright yellow t-shirt with UNDERWATER HOCKEY plastered across the chest is pretty hard to miss. Wearing an official looking uniform does have some upsides. For example, it adds credibility when trying to get an upgrade while flying. It might even trick someone into thinking that wearing budgie smugglers and flailing about on the bottom of the pool is a legitimate way to spent three weeks. Despite all of these upsides, something about wearing my team uniform on the plane over here just didn’t feel right. Wear your uniform while traveling by yourself and there is a fair chance that you’re going to look like a genuine squeezer. The “look at me” factor is just too great. Basic hygiene is another consideration. A competition like the World Championships is a long haul and your uniform is your home for most of that time. Wear the same clothes for two weeks and you’re bound to cultivate a decent stink no matter what you do. Soiling your uniform for an extra 40 hours on the plane on the way over isn’t going to help.
This year’s Australian team uniform seems to be going ok. Self appointed style guru Stewart ‘Parko’ Parkinson has been shooshing about with Catalina Chica Perez, Sandra Milner and Kirsteen “Chooky” Reid. They have managed to overcome Stewart’s passion for double denim to deliver a creative masterpiece that combines polyester, South American exotica with retro chic. Hopefully, it is a uniform to inspire another generation of Australian players to do great things.