On the heels of hockey’s extremely successful white and black outs, enter football’s gold out vs Virginia Tech. The students organized, with the help of QB Thomas Castellanos, a plan to blanket the BC student section with a sea of gold. As a long-time supporter of increasing the amount of gold in the stands, I commend this effort. Though the crowd was predictably mostly maroon, I don’t scoff at the modest increase of fans wearing BC’s secondary color. Still, I think we can do better.
BC crowds have mostly lacked gold since the Superfan shirt died off, and nowadays Alumni Stadium looks more like a monochrome maroon. Many join me in questioning this current fashion, including BC legend Acacia Walker Weinstein, who got Lacrosse crowds to wear the neon yellow shirts that are now iconic in the sport. I also sense this desire to return to gold from BC Athletics itself, based on their support for this gold out and last year’s parent’s weekend free t-shirt. Similarly, I’d personally like our crowds to either be a mix of the two or simply primarily gold like many Minnesota crowds or superfan sections of yesteryear. Like Clemson orange and Tar Heel blue, gold just pops. If you agree, this post is for you.
To clarify, I’m talking about a pretty broad meaning of “gold”. This includes the color of our football pants and also colors that are almost a vintage yellow like the superfan shirt or the shades of Minnesota or Arizona State. There’s also a more light yellow color briefly donned on an early 2010s football jersey, and much of the little primarily gold apparel I’ve seen in the bookstore. I personally don’t like that color, but really I just mean anything the consensus decides looks good. On the other hand, I DO NOT mean Superfan shirts in particular. I welcome people to wear them, but this article is not part of the crusade to bring them back. I don’t care about Superfan shirts, I care about gold.
So how do we get people to wear gold? Like any policy outcome, I take the normal policymaker perspective and recognize a simple reality: most people going to the game are just living their lives, optimizing for themselves. They are interested in participating in trends, but they also have their own stuff they like to wear and won’t go too far out of their way just to cooperate in the prisoner’s dilemma. Don’t own any gold? Not going all the way to the bookstore on a two day’s notice. Own just a superfan shirt? Ask your friends whether it’s cringey and make a game-time decision depending on (1) what they say and (2) the temperature. Own some gold merch but the best-looking thing you own is maroon? Gotta optimize for the Instagram grid. Don’t go on the internet much? Just wear whatever you normally wear because you didn’t even hear about the gold out. This is how people make decisions.
This is not a bad thing. After all, it’s the reason all of us go to the game in the first place. We like sports, we like BC, we like seeing our friends, thus we go. Instead of fighting the fact, use it to clarify the steps required to achieve the desired outcome. In this case, take lots of small steps over the years to encourage people to choose to own gold stuff that they’ll actively want to wear to the game, even if no one’s telling them to:
- Have lots of cool merch on sale that has lots of gold in it, including stuff people can wear in the cold. Gold sweatshirts!! Gold scarves!! The superfan shirt crusade misses on this.
- Give freshmen gold shirts again at welcome week. We used to do this but stopped in favor of maroon. I argue that athletics wrongly conflated the superfan shirt’s demise with a need to switch colors entirely.
- Have a color rush game each year with cool gold jerseys and sell those. This also doubles as cold weather attire. We sort of did this in the early 2010s but like I said earlier, I think those jerseys could be better and the shade of gold didn’t really work as a primary color. With the right shades of gold, we could even do this in other sports, especially basketball and hockey. Minnesota and Arizona State have done this well.
Calling for a gold out does something, but years of BC hammering maroon means most people had nothing they wanted to wear. If we want people to wear gold permanently, we should focus on strategies that increase the percent of people who just do it without really thinking about it. Who knows, maybe it’ll even become a trend again.
Written by contributing author, Jamie DeAntonis.