Why Juggling With a Chainsaw is Safer Than Ordering Team Kit

You know those situations where one of your friends is incredibly frustrated over what seems like the most trivial thing? And the fact that all you can do is laugh at the situation (behind their back of course and after they’ve had a chance to vent all their woes to their apparently ever understanding friend). Well I used to be that kind of person. Then the university Juggling Club 2nd team kit saga happened. And it all changed in a heartbeat. I laughed no more.

A different kind of juggling

Luckily I refer not to my own experience but that of an unfortunate friend of mine, Adam, when we were still at university. Now let’s clarify a couple of things here. Much as you may think otherwise competitive juggling is a major establishment and not restricted to awe struck Japanese tourists in Covent Garden capturing it in 12 megapixels. It combines athleticism, co-ordination, balance and showmanship. And as a result I held Adam in quite high esteem for his Thursday evening excursions with the traveling troupe. And from what I understood they were tight knit bunch, juggling buddies with juggling related inside jokes and not afraid of a mean curry either.

Red t-shirt Juggler

Juggling with your life (via Flickr @lbphotos)

However the start of the New Year marked a whole different sort of juggling for him, and let’s just say that a few pennies (and balls, batons, general aerial paraphernalia) dropped. The team captain had lined up a few meets across the country and wanted brand spanking new custom t-shirts to bring the ‘bling’ back to the world of competitive juggling.  Think ‘Bring it On’ meets Alan Sugar, showy but professional in a tacky reality show sort of way. This responsibility was to left to Adam who was more than happy to take it on, thinking how hard could it be to order some printed t-shirts? Awesomely hard. The kind of thing that can make or break friendships. And entire juggling troupes.

“Gamboge My Dear Watson. Gamboge.”

What follows is the amalgamation of various public rants, broken dreams and hidden frustrations expressed over pints of Britain’s finest cider. It started with deciding on the printing design. What was initially a scattered bunch of ideas developed into firmly drawn party lines between the diabolos crew and the clubs crew. Neither would budge.


Diabolo (via Flickr @chaquetadepollo)

Adam was definitely a clubs man but feared that siding with them might lead to a mutiny from the diabolos (in other words a juggling picket line). So he did what any sensible kit organizer would do. He decided to include both designs and squeeze them onto the front of the t-shirt. Equally sized. Equally prominent. His pleasure with this end result was expressed as “its going to look amazing mate, but I’m going to tell each side I’m going with their design, better to keep this on the down low.” Sowing the seeds of his own idiotic downfall.

Juggling Clubs

Clubs (via Flickr @caseywest)

In order to avoid anymore conflict he decided to go with his own colour choice; gamboge. Yes really. You would never have heard of it, and for good reason, its what gold would look like if it been covered with a vomit finish. He called it ‘bling’. Again he felt it was better to ignore my advice and not inform the team of this choice as it would “ruin the surprise”. I actually agreed with him, I just think we had a different idea of what kind of surprise he was talking about.


Hideous gamboge architecture, so why t-shirts? (via Flickr @tillwe)

Then came getting in touch with the t-shirt printing company. They strongly advised that he opt for the screen printing process (i.e. the best way to print onto cotton) but he had his heart set on embroidered diabolos and clubs on his gamboge monstrosity. So he made the order and waited couple of weeks for it to arrive.

Unfortunately when the DHL delivery came through the unveiling of the kit wasn’t quite what he had envisaged. I watched with that sense of impending cringe-moment as he pulled out the first t-shirt with the team looking on. There was a collective look of ‘you’re joking right?’, but one look at Adam’s face said it all, genuine glee at his textile Frankenstein. Before you know it everyone was launching into him about messing up the order and putting the team’s reputation at stake. However he didn’t back down and claimed the t-shirt was a ‘grower’ (the way that Marmite’s taste has grown on me i.e. it hasn’t). And then to stoke the fire even more, as if the whole house wasn’t burning down already, he then asked the whole team to pay up. Cue pandemonium. As a student you thrive on freebies and cheap stuff, not gamboge embroidered t-shirts that you actually have to pay for.

T-shirt printing the right way

And that really was the beginning of the end for Adam’s juggling career. In fact it was more the end of the end. Rapidly booted off the team for his ineptitude and ensuring frosty relations with former teammates. This was exactly the kind of situation that used to make me laugh but it genuinely was quite tragic to see and has given me a newfound appreciation for being in charge of a team’s kit.

Man with t shirt

Buying a custom t-shirt really can be this fun (via Flickr @B Rosen)

Now bear that in mind when you dump that responsibility on someone in your team, club or society. One way to make everyone’s life a lot easier is by coming to us at Indigo Clothing, we can’t help you with your domestic disputes but we can ensure high quality t shirt printing with a friendly service. Sounds cheesy but trust me you’ll be the one laughing. I know Adam isn’t.

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One Response to “Why Juggling With a Chainsaw is Safer Than Ordering Team Kit”

  1. Alex 6th January 2011 at 6:11 pm #

    This is comedy gold – great post Faisal!

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