Prepare yourself for an unsolicited update on the status of my underwear. This could get emotional.Let’s start at the beginning. The year was 2005 and I had just moved to Jackson, Wyoming, thus accelerating my quasi-active lifestyle into the stratosphere of bro-ed out, uber-sweaty, always crushing, never bonking, super lifestyle like you read about. I was stepping my game up, and to be honest, the underwear fleet I had brought along for the ride was not cutting the mustard. Cotton kills as they say, and I was dead on arrival with my drawer of Hanes ribbed cotton boxer briefs.[Sidebar: If we want to go back to the very beginning, boxer briefs entered my life in high school and I have never looked back. They are not for everyone for sure, but by God they are for me. And I would never hate on Hanes. They make a great product that served me well for many, many years. But times, and men, change and at this point in my life, they were a changin’ fast.]Back to the middle of the beginning. I’m trying to dominate the mountains, and my underwear is holding me back. This is one of those things you don’t know you don’t know. Kind of like “you don’t miss it until it’s gone,” except the opposite. Now, there are some people who can power through these types of, admittedly, first world, vanity-influenced problems and continue along with their daily lives without a care in the world for their underperforming undergarments; I am not one of those people.So there I was, soggy, bunched, and unsatisfied in Wyoming. I was desperate for a solution, but didn’t know where to turn. The usual places I bought clothes – Belk at the mall, Marshalls, Goodwill – came up empty in the performance underwear category. Patagonia had some silky boxer thingies, but I was far too deep into the boxer brief movement to go back now, no matter how nice Capaline 1 feels against my…thighs. I heard rumors that Under Armor was getting into the game, but they were smalltime back then. Then something happened that changed my life forever. I happened upon Exofficio and their brand new Give-N-Go line. This was back when they only had two colors, black and white – the white was a mistake and they don’t make those anymore for obvious reasons – and they didn’t have any logos stitched into the waistband. Made from lightweight wicking material of the finest quality, they fit like a glove and stood up to every challenge – lunges, light jogs, dancing to Shout, the works. This was the answer to all my prayers!Or was it? They cost $25 a pop.So I devised a plan – more of a scheme. I bit the bullet and bought a couple of pairs to mix in with my regular rotation, saving them for the biggest output days. I then proceeded to weird out my friends and family – mostly family – by requesting boutique underwear as gifts for Christmas and my birthday. This wasn’t a casual “I’ll make a list and this underwear will be on it,” type of deal: the underwear was the list. Like some crazed Beanie Baby collecting lunatic, I steadily amassed enough pairs of these wonder briefs that I was able to toss all my cotton and go exclusively Exofficio. I was high and dry and free to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I was living the dream.Until yesterday.Yesterday, I pulled one of the first pairs from my first round of my purchases out of the top drawer, and something felt different. True, this particular pair had been on a steady decline for some time, but had always come through when I needed them. But yesterday, they looked defeated, like they just couldn’t do it, couldn’t handle the day-to-day grind anymore. The elastic got that bacon-y look, the color had faded like the skin of your grandparents. Needless to say, I took them for one last spin but it was obvious that their best days were behind them. They were done.Like any trusty piece of gear, this moment brought a flood of memories shared. That backpacking trip to Costa Rica when I only took those first two pairs (they say you can do this an the ads and they are right, I proved it against my wife’s wishes). That first day on the mountain wearing them under my long johns and feeling like Superman. All the support over all the years. I started to blame myself. The elastic just couldn’t hold up to the extra pounds, and the extra washes. Maybe if I had sun dried more, or used organic detergent, this wouldn’t have happened. Maybe if I had gone back to cotton during the shoulder season, this pair would still be with us… er… me.When you own something for so long, and is so close to you, it can be hard to let go. Nothing lasts forever, not even the best, most well made, possibly most expensive, pair of performance underwear you can buy, and I know this. It’s also not like I’ll never see them again: they are stuffed in the back of the drawer, ready to come out of retirement for spot duty when I let the laundry go a little too long. Sure, I’ve got fresh pairs in green and grey and blue now, but those will also be relegated to the bottom of the pile eventually.This was the first pair of what would become many, The Original. They are the beginning of the thread that ties my life together, from being a ski bum in Wyoming to trying to make it work in Colorado to getting married and being a father in Virginia. They were there for all of it, for all the good times and the bad. Nostalgia is a funny thing that can originate from surprising sources. My life has come a long way from when I bought that first pair of Exofficio boxer briefs, but is no less exciting or adventurous as my 8-month-old can probably attest. The memories of that time may fade, but they will always be there in the back of the drawer to come out for spot duty when things get a little too serious, a little too heavy.Such is life; such is an underwear drawer.
The Latest: UConn basketball players returning to campus June 19, 2020 Athletic director Bill Moos said 10 percent of administrative positions across the department will be eliminated, and teams will schedule more regional nonconference games to reduce travel costs. There will be no merit raises or increases in sports programs’ budgets.Staff travel will be restricted, except for recruiting, and summer programming for athletes will be limited in 2021.“While many of these necessary changes are difficult, especially those impacting our employees, we hope that they will be the only ones necessary in the months ahead,” Moos said. “I am confident that we will weather the storm.”Football coach Scott Frost ($5 million guaranteed annual salary) and men’s basketball coach Fred Hoiberg ($3 million) announced Thursday they would donate portions of their salaries to the department’s general operating fund.___ Deputy Health Minister Sandra Zampa says the celebration amounted to “dangerous behaviour.”Fans in Naples flooded into central piazzas and set off fireworks to celebrate shortly after Napoli beat Juventus in an empty stadium in Rome on Wednesday.Nearly 35,000 people have died in Italy from the coronavirus. The Campania region that includes Naples has accounted for 431 of those deaths.___More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Western Hockey League teams need their arenas at least half full next season to operate, according to the league’s commissioner.The COVID-19 pandemic has shut down large gatherings across North America over concerns of the spread of the virus. Some sports leagues are planning to return with games in empty stadiums and arenas.Major junior hockey is ticket-driven and doesn’t have a lucrative broadcast rights deal to fall back on, WHL commissioner Ron Robison said Thursday.The WHL consists of 22 teams spread across Canada’s four western provinces, plus Washington and Oregon.Six jurisdictions with different levels of infection, health restrictions and relaunch plans, plus a currently closed Canada-U.S. border until July 21, make planning for a 2020-21 season complicated, Robison says. The European Tour won’t have a senior circuit this year.The Staysure Tour for players 50 and older announced Friday it has canceled the season because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was supposed to start May 14-16 in Austria. Three senior majors on its schedule — the Senior PGA, the Senior U.S. Open and the Senior British Open — already had been canceled by other organizations.Mark Aspland, the head of the Staysure Tour, said along with complexities of international travel, the tour had to recognize the additional risk related to the tour’s age demographic.All player exemption categories this year will be extended to the 2021 season.___ The WHL’s goal is a full 68-game regular season starting Oct. 2, with training camps opening Sept. 15.___The Tampa Bay Lightning closed their facilities Thursday after five team employees tested positive for the coronavirus, a person with knowledge of the situation tells The Associated Press.The person spoke to The AP on Friday on the condition of anonymity because the NHL and the team are not announcing the closure. The NHL is also no longer announcing which teams individual players tested positive. It was not clear how many Lightning players tested positive. On Thursday, the state set a new one-day high with 3,516 new cases of coronavirus, and 2,947 hospitalizations, which nearly doubled the number in hospitals over the holiday weekend. There have been 2,132 confirmed deaths from coronavirus in Texas, according to Johns Hopkins University.___The second-tier United Soccer League Championship is preparing to resume its season on July 11 after reaching an agreement with the USL Players Association.The 35-team league had just played its season openers when play was stopped in mid-March because of the coronavirus pandemic.The league says it will resume negotiations with the union on what would be their first collective bargaining agreement. ___Soccer players’ union FIFPro wants players to be given mandatory breaks because match congestion caused by the coronavirus pandemic is likely to last through 2022.FIFPro warns of a “first spike in injuries because of insufficient preparation time and congested match schedules” since soccer restarted last month.The Netherlands-based union says “the impact of COVID-19 means the match schedule will be even more intense over the next two years.”The union asks for vacation periods of at least three weeks before starting preseason practice and a “mandatory mid-season break of between 10 and 14 days.” Associated Press FIFPro says “now is the time to apply this to player health.”___Thousands of Napoli soccer fans who poured into the streets to celebrate the team’s Italian Cup title without social distancing have been criticized by health officials as being “reckless.”World Health Organization assistant director general Ranieri Guerra says he was reminded of Atalanta’s Champions League game with Valencia in February. That match is believed to have been a key factor in why the virus has been so deadly in Bergamo.Guerra says “we can’t allow this.” Texas Motor Speedway is planning to have some fans in its massive grandstands when NASCAR runs its rescheduled Cup race there July 19.Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has approved a comprehensive action plan to allow fans for the race in Forth Worth. The track said the grandstands and suites would be open to fans, who would be subject to social distancing requirements and additional protocols.It wasn’t immediately clear how many tickets would be available for the race at the 1 ½-mile track that was originally scheduled March 29. There are more than 110,000 grandstand seats.Abbott had previously said that outdoor sporting events with spectators in Texas could be conducted at 50% capacity.The announcement Friday comes as Texas continues to set record highs in the numbers of new coronavirus cases and hospitalizations since Memorial Day. The school has not set a date for the return of the women’s basketball team but says football players will return to Storrs on July 1. The plan for men’s basketball and football was submitted to the state’s Higher Education Committee as a pilot program. The school says that would allow it to solidify policies and procedures before the student body returns in mid-August.___The Nebraska athletic department is reducing its 2021 budget 10% because of projected revenue shortfalls tied to the coronavirus pandemic.Nebraska’s budget was $140 million last year, meaning it is looking to save about $14 million this year, the school said. Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditThe Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world:___Members of UConn’s men’s basketball team returned to campus Friday, with the school beginning preparations to reopen after shutting down because of the pandemic. The closure comes some two weeks after players were allowed to return to their respective facilities to take part in voluntary on- and off-ice workouts. Players were allowed to skate in groups of up to six at a time.The move to open facilities was the next step in the NHL’s bid to resume its season with a proposed 24-team expanded playoff format, with games being played in two hub cities.The NHL projects teams to open training camps on July 10.—AP Hockey Writers John Wawrow and Stephen Whyno reporting.___
JEFF SCHORFHEIDE/Herald photoIt took 16 wins for Wisconsin to claim the Big Ten regular season title. To win the conference?s next championship, it only needs three.UW will travel to Indianapolis this week for the Big Ten tournament where, as the No. 1 seed, the team will be the favorite to add a tournament title to its regular season one.?It would mean a lot,? junior Marcus Landry said of the importance of a tournament championship. ?Obviously that?s what everybody wants; everybody is going for that.?Though the tournament officially starts Thursday, the Badgers have a bye in the first round and will play either Iowa or Michigan on Friday. Wisconsin beat each team twice in the regular season, but not knowing their next opponent right away just adds to the difficulty the Badgers already have with the potential of playing three games in as many days.?It?s a situation that we?ve been in before,? Landry said. ?But we prepare for both teams, and when you find out, you prepare for that team. It?s kind of a different situation, but that?s how it works.?UW played in a regular season tournament at the Kohl Center earlier this season that also saw the team play three games in three days.?That prepared us for something like the Big Ten tournament and the NCAA tournament,? Landry said.Wisconsin has twice previously been the Big Ten tournament?s top seed, but his lost in the quarterfinals both times, and only three teams have been able to follow up a regular season title with one in the conference tournaments.?Obviously when you?re the top seed there?s a target on your back,? sophomore Jason Bohannon said. ?You just have to go in there with the mindset of one game at a time and not try and overlook anyone because everyone is fighting for their lives.?Should Wisconsin advance to the semifinal round it would play the winner of the Ohio State-Michigan State game, and only a trip to the finals could gave UW a third chance to play Purdue ? the team responsible for both of UW?s conference losses this year.?If we get to them, the third shot is great, but if we don?t or they don?t, it doesn?t really matter,? Landry said.Wisconsin is safely in the NCAA tournament, but like some of the conference?s other teams, UW will be playing to improve their seed. Others will be desperate for a tournament championship win and an automatic bid into the big dance.?Every game is going to be physical, every game is going to be a dogfight. ? Every team is trying to get into the NCAA tournament,? Bohannon said.With such a grueling schedule ahead, the Badgers will need to rely on their bench to provide valuable minutes. Wisconsin has the potential to go nine-deep, and Jason Bohannon was honored as the conference?s sixth man of the year Monday.?It feels pretty good,? Bohannon said of winning the award. ?I just tried to provide a spark off the bench however I could this year.?Wisconsin hasn?t played since claiming sole possession of the regular season title Saturday, and in addition to being rested, UW will enter the Big Ten tournament on a winning streak. The Badgers have won their last seven games and 20 of their last 22.?I think we?re playing pretty good,? Landry said. ?I think that there?s a lot more that we could do, that we?re capable of, but I think we?re playing pretty well as a team.?With the NCAA Tournament set to begin next week, the Big Ten Tournament will also give the Badgers additional experience playing in games where a loss means going home.?We know it’s going to be a long stretch, but we?ve got to take things one game at a time,? Bohannon said. ?It?s good preparation for us, and hopefully we can get something out of it.?The tournament kicks off Thursday when Iowa takes on Michigan. Penn State will also play Illinois and Minnesota will finish the day when it plays Northwestern.Last season Wisconsin lost in the championship game to Ohio State. Wisconsin?s only Big Ten Tournament championship came in 2004.