If you’ve been reading the Daily Bee’s sports section, you’ve probably noticed a stark lack of up-to-date photos of high school athletes.
This week’s weather definitely has something to do with that.
As local baseball, softball and tennis teams endured yet another wave of weather-related cancellations, this week, I decided to double down, take a deep dive into the Daily Bee archives and find the best retro spring sport uniforms from local high schools.
Aside from the fact that the Daily Bee seemingly only took 30 sports photos from 1965 to 2005 — film was expensive back then — the results were aesthetically pleasing. With exception of some of the fall and winter sports, most of Sandpoint and Clark Fork’s retro uniforms were good. In the event of a rebrand, the following uniforms should be used as inspirations.
Here’s what I found.
Although more recent Sandpoint baseball uniforms use the fairly standard, inoffensive block “S,” taking a deeper dive into the archives reveals a solid crop of uniforms.
The most notable difference is the use of script fonts, which range from traditional cursive fare to even some with more Gothic influences, a la the ones Mike Aldape (pictured) and co. wore back in 1993. The regal, swooping “S” is a nice departure from the norm, but it looks out of place with the cursive “B” on the helmet.
But the strongest of the bunch belong to the early 2000s JV teams.
Those teams donned uniforms adorned with a slanted, scripted “Sandpoint” that’s both grand, yet economical. The underlined serif on the “t” coupled with the motion of the logo evoke the Los Angeles Dodgers’ classic logo — all without falling into the common high school logo trap of passing off a professional team’s logo as its own. The block “S” on the caps compliment the script so well.
In short, the scripted “Sandpoint” uniform is a clean, timeless look that the school should consider bringing back.
Speaking of script fonts, Sandpoint softball has sported a slew of strong uniforms over the years. Their current uniforms aren’t very different from the ones the Bulldogs wore in the early 90s, which featured standard-fare script fonts and pinstripes to create a timeless design. Softball has wisely stuck to a winning formula, so finding a bad uniform in the bunch was difficult.
But this continuity begged two questions: Are the uniforms boring? And what happens when script fonts get overused?
The red away uniforms worn a decade ago could provide an answer to both questions. They were one of the only kits that didn’t use script fonts; the Times New Roman-esque numbers on the front and back are the closest things to it.
Surprisingly, they don’t look outdated. Uniforms from the 2000s haven’t aged well because everyone wanted to celebrate the new millennium by using garish “futuristic” fonts.
Yet ten years later, Sandpoint softball’s red uniforms look tasteful. Sure, the angular trim around the v-neck needs a little work. But it’s a start.
Track and field
Little did Pat Crow and Chris Thompson know, but their neck-and-neck finish in the 4x200 back in 1992 was a fitting symbol of uniform trends throughout the next two decades.
On one hand, there’s the Priest River uniforms: sleek, timeless and great use of script fonts (notice a pattern?). On the other hand, there’s the Sandpoint uniforms, which should stay in the past.
Like their race, which was ruled a tie, uniforms from the 90s and 00s were a mix of old classics and new catastrophes.
The slanted “DOGS” just doesn’t work on several levels. At best, it’s ripping off UC Santa Barbara’s logo font (which isn’t good); at worst, it looks like a generic team from a deodorant commercial.
Yet the best high school track and field uniforms came courtesy of the Clark Fork Wampus Cats. With a tasteful blue-yellow-white gradient and a script font that really popped, the smallest school in the area was by far the best-dressed.
Although Clark Fork switched to its current uniforms, which they’ve used for over a decade, the tri-color singlet will be missed.