Eagles in SI, Memories of an Umbrella and Business Attire


This post was written yesterday but posted today in order to space out my posts as I become busier at work.

I received this week’s issue of Sports Illustrated yesterday.  I read SI on my commute, always in the same order:  the back page column, the front page photos, and then the “Players” section, which is increasingly becoming my favorite after the departure of columnist Rick Reilly.

For the first time that I can recall, the topic of the section was Boston College.  Normally I’d be thrilled, but predictably, the subject of the discussion was Gene DeFelippo giving  Jeff Jagodzinski the pink slip for interviewing for the New York Jets’ head coaching vacancy.  The article was not surprisingly unflattering–Nick Saban and Bobby Petrino were mentioned–but since I’ve already given my take on the issue, I won’t belabor the point.  I do feel the need, though, to defend Gene DeFelippo against the charge that he “brazenly” bolted the Big East for the ACC after he stated the school will stay in the conference it helped to found.  I don’t particularly recall when and in what context DeFelippo made the statement, but it’s worth remembering how fluid the Big East to ACC transition of three schools were from the moment the moves were announced to when they were finalized.  Virginia Tech, Miami, and Boston College eventually bolted, but those were not the schools which were initially expected to go.  Once VT and Miami left, Boston College had to leave since a football conference composed of Cincinnati, UConn, Rutgers, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Louisville, and West Virginia couldn’t possibly have been taken seriously.  The ACC hasn’t lived up to the hype in recent years, but the Big East sure has lived down to its expectations.  Boston College’s move to the ACC may have been about money, but it sure also was about competition.

On a totally unrelated note, it’s snowing again in New York.  I now carry around an umbrella in my bag to whip out in times like these, but for the longest time, umbrella and I had a non-existent relationship.  Our troubles date back to when I was a first and second grader in Tokyo, where I commuted to school on a train and a bus.  If it was raining–or worse, it was expected to rain–my mom would give me an umbrella to bring to school.  This umbrella wasn’t one of those folded, portable types.  Nope, it was a full size (okay, a kid full size) umbrella that bordered on luggage for a seven year old.  What would inevitably happen is it would either stop raining or not rain at all and I would leave the umbrella on the bus while being preoccupied with conversing with friends.  By the time I go back home, there would have been a phone call from the bus depot to my mom informing her my umbrella was left on the bus but can be picked up at the lost and found.  And then I get a grilling.

It hardly comes as a shock, then, that I refused to carry around an umbrella for the longest time, for in my mind, umbrella = yelling.  I could get away with this once I came to the U.S. because I mostly got around by car.  Around middle school, I discovered a great American tradition called baseball caps, and since high school, I’ve worn a baseball cap whenever I went outside.  When it rained, no big deal, I wore a cap.  If a storm was particularly bad, I had a jacket with water proof hood.  Umbrellas and the unpleasant memories associated with them were history.

Well, now I’m a New York attorney, as much of a professional as one can be.  I’ve been led to believe that baseball caps are casual attire and so, for the first time in over a decade, I’ve ditched wearing a baseball cap when I am in my business attire–which is almost every day.  I can’t say I’m adjusting well.  My head feels uncomfortably lacking, particularly during the frigid winter days.  I’m thinking of wearing a cap just to keep my head warm, although people will probably tell me to just get a winter hat.  I really don’t want to because, well, I’m immature.  On the other hand, I have to concede a baseball cap doesn’t go with my business attire.

Perhaps the solution is to adjust my business attire to conform to a baseball cap.  Right now, I go to work wearing a dress pants, a button down shirt and a tie.  I occasionally wear a suit.  I’ve been told, by fellow associates and partners, that I don’t need to wear a tie.  I went tie-less one day but it felt awkward and uncomfortable after a year of clerkship when tie was expected.  So I keep on dressing as I did last year, although I have stopped “Formal Fridays,” which were necessitated last year by motion Fridays when I appeared in court.

It’s not entirely clear what the expected business attire is, although I think there’s an official policy on dress code.  I see people who always wear a jacket or a tie, many associates who wear neither, and partners who always wear a suit.  I met an associate from another firm at a bar who told me that he went to work that day in the clothes he was then wearing: a polo shirt and jeans.  Apparently his firm has “Jeans Fridays” where you’re allowed to wear the most casual of pants if you pay $5 which will be donated to charity.  It’s a nice policy.  It’ll never pass where I work.  And that’s too bad because a baseball cap goes fine with a polo shirt and jeans.  I know, because I wore them for years.

So for now, I’ll weather the winter months with my head naked.  I’m gonna have to find a way to get my baseball cap back into my wardrobe rotation, though, because that BC cap looks awfully lonely on top of my closet.

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4 Responses to “Eagles in SI, Memories of an Umbrella and Business Attire”


  1. 1 Chris Schroeck January 16, 2009 at 10:08 am

    A note on umbrellas:

    Umbrellas are the stupidest invention ever. Don’t get me wrong, I see the purpose – people need something to shield them from rain and snow. The execution, however, is all screwed up.

    “Going out in a thunderstorm? Hold this metal rod up in the air.”

    From learning about Ben Franklin as a child, I know for certain that is a bad idea.

  2. 2 joesas January 17, 2009 at 10:56 am

    Yes, I now realize my mother was forcing me to walk around with a deathtrap. Thank you, Chris, for further legitimizing my refusal to carry around an umbrella.

  3. 3 ratu April 19, 2010 at 5:56 am

    very funny and cool!!

    • 4 joesas April 19, 2010 at 8:28 am

      Thanks!


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