The Collegian
Tuesday, February 07, 2023

Winning: green is the new pink

Charl Schwartzel looked pretty fashionable at the Augusta National Golf Club on Sunday when he wore a bright green blazer.

If Schwartzel had browsed, he would have realized that one of Spring 2011's most wearable trends is bold-colored, '60s inspired coats.

Though it's doubtful the South African had time to peruse the latest runway looks in between time on the green, in addition to winning the 75th Annual Masters Tournament, Schwartzel won some major style points with his blazer.

The green jacket, awarded to the Masters Tournament Champion each year, has to be one of the most unique trophies in the sports world-- it's much cooler than a hunk of metal.

Last year, during the Shackelford household's annual spring cleaning, my mother decided it was time to throw out some of the dusty, plastic trophies my sisters and I had accumulated over the years.

Sorting through the "hardware," we discovered basketball players with broken arms, plaques embroidered with "Schackelford" instead of "Shackelford," seventh place ribbons from summer swim team, participation trophies from youth soccer, and even a pair of bobble head tigers on pedestals, whose origin was unknown.

Needless to say we scrapped all of these items with little hesitation. One of the trophies we did keep was a plaque with a photograph of my sister and me in our awkward years, leaning against the fence surrounding the tennis court where we had won a junior doubles tournament. Despite the fact that I had braces composed of just two brackets and was grinning from ear to ear like the Cheshire cat in the picture, I could vividly remember that match just by looking at the trophy.

Trophies have been a constant throughout the history of sports: from the laurel wreaths awarded at the first Olympic games in ancient Greece, to the bronze, silver and gold medals of today.

The football player's pose on the Heisman Trophy has become one of the most iconic stances in the sports world, replicated by wanna-be running backs and football aficionados alike.

The Stanley Cup, also called "The Holy Grail" or "Lord Stanley's Mug" by sportswriters, is surrounded by traditions such as drinking from the top tier after winning the NHL playoffs.

The Venus Rosewater dish -- awarded to the Wimbledon women's singles champion, and ironically won by Venus Williams four times -- is engraved not with tennis motifs, but with mythological images.

If you walk by the bookstore you'll see a giant poster of the men's basketball team with their A-10 tournament trophy.

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And if you visit the Richmond Spiders website you'll see the video clip of the women's tennis team screaming and chanting as they hold the trophy representing their third consecutive A-10 title.

Trophy winners kiss their prize, hold it above their heads and cry tears of joy. For the athlete, trophies represent everything that they have worked for -- a physical manifestation of the early mornings, the sore muscles and desire to win no matter what the circumstances.

Years from now Schwartzel will look back on pictures of Phil Mickelson awarding him the legendary green jacket as he grinned from ear to ear, and vividly remember that moment of the first big win of his career.

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