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The Checks (and Balance?) of Precision Craftsmanship

“Columbus Crew SC will live stream a historic club jersey partnership announcement on Facebook Live on Friday, February 24, at 11:30 a.m. ET in a press conference held at MAPFRE Stadium.”
–Crew SC Communications

First, the Owner/Chairman of Columbus Crew SC and MAPFRE Stadium, Anthony Precourt, cleverly teased “Fresh bananas arriving soon” in his Twitter account back on February 10th. Second, the Crew SC Communications team promises “a historic club jersey partnership.”

Bottom line: This better be good for Columbus Crew Crew SC fans.

Specifically regarding jerseys, Mr. Precourt and Co. have a mixed record. While he and his team designed a fantastic black checkered kit with a great local partner (Barbasol), the same corporate team also (purposefully, if you can believe it) chose to inject the colors from the little known Columbus, OH flag (I barely know it and I was born and raised in Columbus, OH) for a genuinely atrocious soccer kit. To add insult to injury, the team had horrible performances while wearing their Minion kits. Talk about poetic justice.

The Good

Image result for columbus crew black checkered jersey

And That Time When Ugly Called Something Else Ugly

Image result for columbus crew blue jersey

(Look at their faces!)

As the Joker would say: “And here we GO…”

The black checkered jersey (seen above) will remain the same, except with the new Acura logo/sponsorship.

At first glance, the v-neck is fine, the State of Ohio flag is a nice addition and the Charter Member #01 is a cool, subtle statement. The new Acura sponsorship is fine (a local connection), but Barbasol was also a worthy local sponsor. Time will tell to see what advertising and marketing campaigns Mr. Precourt and Co. have in mind for promoting Acura as being synonymous with Crew SC specifically and the city of Columbus, OH more broadly.

Acura’s slogan is, “Precision Crafted Performance.” After last season and the 2015 MLS Cup Final, Crew SC was smart to adopt this corporate slogan…and hopefully as a coaching strategy?

Returning back to the new 2017 kits, for some reason, the black and gold checkered pattern is tripping me up because while it’s a great design (I actually won an award for using that precise color scheme and design for/inside a headline in my high school’s yearbook), the placement seems…awkward. It’s unclear at the moment as to whether the checkered pattern’s placement balances the rest of the jersey, kit and complementary design elements.

Still, kudos for incorporating the checkered pattern into Crew SC’s famous “banana kits.” However, until the full kit (shorts and socks) are revealed, the verdict on the 2017 “banana kits” will remain TBD. The fact that Mr. Precourt and Co. prioritized telling Crew SC’s story through its jersey design does deserve high marks.

Now it’s time to play better soccer on the pitch, trade for Mix Diskerud (among many other necessary personnel changes) and for Mr. Precourt to grow a spine and declare to Los Angeles Football Club that the colors black & gold are officially the MLS property of THE Crew SC.

After all, as he and his team declared with their new 2017 kits, Columbus Crew SC is Charter Member #01.

We’ll discover soon if that truth actually means anything to the front office of Crew SC.

The Two Words Politicians Don’t Say

What is the matter with Chris Christie?

He’s not following the current script for public leaders who did something wrong or for those who are connected to someone who did something wrong and it’s making him look quite strange.

He said, “I’m sorry.”

There has been a lot of discussion and debate surrounding “Bridgegate” and whether or not Governor Christie knew of this situation before or while it was occurring and whether or not he has handled the situation correctly. While the final verdict is still out, it does appear (at this point) that the New Jersey governor is telling the truth.

Mistakes were made. He owned up to them. He apologized. He fired his senior staffer who was personally responsible. He wants to work hard to earn back the varying degrees of respect and trust he likely lost with some New Jersey and New York residents, specifically commuters who frequent the George Washington Bridge from the Fort Lee area.

There are many words used to describe Governor Chris Christie, but there is one that nobody has yet mentioned.

That word is anomaly.

In an era when public figures in politics, sports and entertainment are driven solely by winning, profits and personal gains without regard for self-reflection, awareness and/or remorse for bad actions, it’s genuinely refreshing to hear and see a public leader step forward and accept responsibility when a scandal or uncomfortable situation arises. Even when he is not personally culpable, but it involves someone very close to him.

Governor Christie’s press conference was unusual in this sense…sadly.

For where the story stands right now, the governor did the right thing yesterday. It was painful and embarrassing, but it’s what needed to be done for himself and the public. He was transparent and responsible. To summarize one of his statements: If something good or bad happens in New Jersey, it’s on him. Period. He’s in charge.

What difference did his acceptance of a major mistake within his administration and apology for that mistake make?

The American people will let us know.

A Declaration of Pride

Walking around Crew Stadium on September 11, 2012 before the World Cup Qualifier against Jamaica was a surreal experience. After 9/11, MLS had sewn a patch onto every players jersey to remember the events of that fateful day. Exactly eleven years later and it’s impossible not reflect on what happened on that seemingly perfect September morning. Perhaps it was fitting that U.S. soccer decided to schedule a game on this day because they knew that people would put their American pride on full display. We all did and it was a spectacle.

A special tribute occurred from the 9′-11′ when fans were asked to stand (already doing so) and wave their flags given to us at the gates. It was an especially patriotic two minutes.

While this was not my first U.S. Men’s soccer game, the sheer sight of American jerseys, shirts, pants and flags in all directions made it a special night. Crew Stadium became the epicenter of an outspoken patriotism at its best with kids and adults alike sporting and chanting their love of America. Hearing speeches from our leaders is one thing, but seeing and hearing it from our friends, family and total strangers is when commitment and dedication to one’s country is shown and felt.

Checking out the merchandise tent is always a fun experience. One of the biggest grabs, a red and white horizontal striped jersey, was debuted earlier this year and remains extremely popular with fans today. To the casual eye, it does bear a striking resemblance to the shirt made famous by a constantly hidden gentleman who goes by the name “Waldo.” Before you judge though, take a look at what it looks like on a cute girl and your preconceived notions may take a full 180. It’s a sight alright.

Throughout the 90 + minutes, it was actually difficult not to look away from the action and take in the panoramic views of the stadium. Flags were waving, fans chanted, “USA-USA-USA!” and virtually nobody was sitting in their seats during either half. It was a textbook atmosphere for a game involving the U.S. Men’s soccer team. The ‘beautiful game’ had a beautiful environment.

In the 55th minute, Herculez Gomez made the atmosphere electric with a perfectly placed free kick. “Hercules! Hercules! Hercules!”

USA soccer JamaicaThe Associated Press

During the second half, I peered to the row behind me that consisted of five girlfriends in matching striped jerseys (this is the ‘cute girl test’) and it truly is a cool shirt in a crowd. Not too much later, a screen shot on the scoreboard featured a man in the aforementioned jersey standing next to an American flag at a past game. Turning to the person next to me, I said, “Look at how cool that looks…the jersey next to the flag.” She replied, “Wow, that does look cool.” A eureka moment was born.

The U.S. Men’s National Team currently wears the red and white striped jersey. Assuming they qualify for the next round, I have a proposal for a new jersey.

Dear Nike,

Please design a dark blue jersey (same color as on the flag) decorated with white stars.

This way the two jerseys 1. Red and white horizontal stripes & 2. Dark blue with white stars would complement each other to form the American flag. The home and away jerseys would be called, “The Stars” and “The Stripes” respectively. Furthermore, during home games, sections of the stadium could be coordinated by the two jerseys to form an actual flag along each of the sidelines.


Jimmy Lentz

Forget the beauty pageant sash from 2010. Let’s not just play against our opponents in red, white and blue, but instead go to battle with Old Glory herself.

Just imagine our guys standing in “The Stars” or “The Stripes” singing,

O say can you see by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;
O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave,
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?