Preseason Christmas (noun): usually a day or two after student-athletes return to preseason in which they receive clothing and other various equipment that will be used throughout their sport season; for volleyball this can include, but is not limited to: practice shirts, practice spandex, socks, kneepads, match warm ups, sweatshirt, sweatpants, sneakers, backpack, travel bag. Depending on your school’s funding, you may receive more or less than I listed, and you are often required to return some items at the end of the season.
Here in Sweden, as with most things, this distribution of “gifts” has been somewhat drawn out, more like a Preseason Hanukkah. I almost prefer this, because I never know what more we might be getting, or on which days we could be receiving the items. It’s like a surprise every time – and although I’m not too keen on surprises, these are pretty great.
Our first team-issued gear: brand new sneakers. Most members of our team have these same pair, however, we were given 1000kr (about $150) to spend on any of the training shoes that are sold in InterSport. Both Jo and I opted for the purple Asics.
Right before our first scrimmage, we received our match warm ups: a Puma jacket with side neck zipper and matching Puma capri pants; we also got a Puma pullover sweatshirt with matching Puma sweatpants. I’m sure you guessed by now that Puma is one of our team sponsors.
|Pullover and sweat pants|
|Warm-up jacket and capris|
We have received 2 practice t-shirts from ELTT – an electrical company that sponsors the team, and a Puma t-shirt for us to travel in. Also, when Jo and I first arrived, we were given InterSport t-shirts (another sponsor). Jo and I also were given “move-in” gifts of an ELTT towel and last year’s team ELTT beanie.
|Practice shirts and Beanie|
As per Euro-style, the jerseys and spandex are covered in our sponsors’ names. There is not a single spot that we aren’t advertising something. One company got pretty creative and decided to advertise across the front of the spandex as they are usually shown during blocking and hitting pictures.
|6 ads on the front|
|4 ads on each side|
|3 ads on the back|
Did I mention we get team parkas? And that I’ve actually used it on multiple occasions despite there not being snow on the ground? Because I now live in a place where we need team-issued parkas. (I don’t care what ANY of the UT swim team may say; there is NO need for parkas in Florida…)
Our final gifts arrived this past week: our leather Puma travel bag and Base-brand high knee socks.