Athletes grumble over their aged uniforms


Football players show off their new uniforms.

By Josie Berger, Sports editor

For many athletes, their most familiar and well worn piece of equipment is something they almost take for granted: their uniform. Athletes at West Essex have strong opinions about the condition of their uniforms, but hesitate to express their worries.

Out of 75 athletes polled, 52 said they would rather purchase their own uniforms than use their friends from the year before. The school has heard the athletes’ requests, but not all concerns can be met.

“Freshman year all we had to wear was cotton t-shirts, but last season we got new JV uniforms,” junior Gillian Wolf said. “This season, we wore our uniforms from last year and varsity’s old ones.”

According to athletic director Anthony Minnella, the ultimate motives behind re-wearing sports attire are financial reasons. Each team is on a rotation of three to four years to be eligible for new uniforms, Minnella said; if every sport were to get new uniforms each year, it would cost the school about $200,000 annually.

“I was unaware that there are student/athletes that are upset,” Mr. Minnella said. “ I would hope that if there were upset student/athletes, they would bring their concerns to our attention.”

At the start of a season, a team will typically have a meeting where they sign out their uniforms until the final game, where they are returned. This system allows for coaches to ensure that athletes will return their uniforms by the end of the season in the same condition. Many teams have to wear hand-me-downs from varsity until they are able to get their own.

Boys soccer is another example of a sports team that continues to wear the same jerseys each season.

“It makes the team feel like they aren’t really important because they just get uniforms that no one else wants,” freshman Ben Grunther said. “They should change this policy.”

Other than tennis and many sports at West Essex, the dance team is able to get new uniforms every three years. This process allows for all freshman and seniors to have an opportunity to have brand new uniforms at one point while being on the team.

“Unlike other sports, we get to keep our uniforms when we leave high school because we paid for them ourselves,” junior Dana Stelter said. “This is different from other sports because if we lose anything or it gets ruined, we have to purchase a new one for ourselves.”

After seven years and finally winning a state championship, the varsity football team just got new uniforms this past September. Although the school is on a rotation of when a team can get a new uniform, many students believe this is dictated by the success of the team.

Coaches for these teams tend to also have strong opinions about the uniform dilemma. Obtaining new jerseys is not up to the coaches, which makes some of them a little frustrated to see their team wearing the same uniform every year.

“I think that people like to have new uniforms and after a while, there will be loose material, and they wear out,” Mr. Albanese said. “We should maybe get the new uniforms not every season, but possibly every two or three.”

The uniform debate seems to be a running concern at West Essex, but goes unnoticed by the administration. Students hold in their worries, which makes it impossible for a clear solution to be made. If athletes vocalize their concerns, the administration will work to the best of their ability to satisfy the needs of all athletes.