USC Football: What’s In a Jersey Name?


C&G Shades On is a special weekly column from Sara Kakuris, bringing a die-hard USC football fan’s voice to Reign of Troy. 

Since my colleagues at Reign of Troy are obviously quite amused with poking the Trojan fan base with their provocative talk of alternative uniforms, I feel it is only fair for me to add in my own two cents.

It’s well established that I am a USC traditionalist and, for those who don’t know me outside of this column, let it also be established that I hate change in general.

No, I don’t want to see alternate uniforms.

In all truth, I don’t mind the accents. If they’re happy with the shoes, more power to them. The shiny helmets actually grew on me!

To be honest, cardinal and gold are not my favorite colors in the world. They’re not great for the complexion and my game day nail polish must be changed before I can go back to my weekly required business casual attire.

But those colors belong on the USC uniform.

The first time I heard that uniforms were a strong recruiting tool, I thought it was a joke. Now that I’ve been made aware this is a thing, I have to ask…do we really want a recruit who chose his team by who had the coolest colors?

However, all of this aside, I could live with different colors or weird shoulder decals or…camo…but what I would NEVER get over is adding names to the jerseys.

Since the second I became a USC football fan, the lack of names on the jerseys has been my biggest obsession and my favorite tradition to describe to outsiders.

For those who don’t know, though I doubt there are many, USC believes in the team over the individual. One single player does not win or lose a game (though this can be hard to swallow at times of missed field goals or unblocked Hail Marys).

We are not a field made up of single players, we are a Coliseum made up of the USC Trojans Football Team.

I think this is the most beautiful sentiment a sports team can have and I feel that it automatically puts our game mentality in the correct place.

Our guys are never (ok, rarely) under the illusion that they are the star. They’re not given the opportunity to think that.

It’s one of the reasons I’m concerned with recruits who act like we should kiss the ground they walk on. We’re SC. That doesn’t happen, and for good reason.

My father is a fire chief and uses the example of the USC no-name concept in the class he teaches on leadership to his fellow firefighters. He wants to convey to them the same message – you don’t win thinking only of yourself, you win as a brotherhood.

The tradition of team over individual that is represented in our jerseys should be a far bigger recruiting tool than flash. We are the only team in FBS football to never put a name on our jerseys. Our players are given the opportunity to play for something bigger than themselves.

Not everyone can say that.

I welcome hearing your thoughts and any future ideas you’d like to see in a column. Feel free to follow me on Twitter at @SCTrojanSara and tweet me any time.

See you next week and Fight On!

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