Rec Athletes – All Those T-Shirts!


As rec athletes we all have the same dilemma – what to do with all those t-shirts we have accumulated throughout the years.

Rec athletes obtain t-shirts in one of four ways. We participate in events that earn us t-shirts, we play sports that use t-shirts as jerseys, we buy t-shirts to workout in or we attend sporting events with t-shirt giveaways. Regardless of the way the t-shirt was acquired the question is what to do with them.

While I was looking through my dresser the other day trying to find a shirt to play hoops in, I realized the enormity of my cheap men’s t-shirts collection. I had t-shirts from fun runs, I had t-shirts from cycling events, I had sleeveless workout t-shirts, I had old softball uniform t-shits and so on.

So it got me thinking, which of these t-shirts should I keep and which should be donated or made into wash rags?

So I diligently scoured through what seemed like 1 million t-shirts and used the following criteria to trim my stash of shirts.

Are there duplicates? Often times, and unbeknownst to me, I will end up with multiple shirts of the same event. This is generally do to one of two reasons. Either my wife and I both participated in the event and consequently we received two shirts, or I drove with friends to the event and one or more of them left their shirt behind. The latter reason is a slam dunk, give that extra one away, without question. No need to find the friend who left it behind, because if the duplicate made it to your dresser then your friend has long forgotten about it. If your spouse/significant other is the owner of the other shirt, you should put it aside (along with any others that may fall into this category) and bring them to her/him for review. Let them decide what to do with the shirt and forget about it. If they want to keep it, so be it, but it should go in their dresser.

Do you NEED the shirt again? If your shirt doubled as a softball or basketball jersey, and there is a possibility that your team will use the same one again next year, then you must keep the shirt. If your shirt will get you a free breakfast at the sponsor’s restaurant, or a free beer, then by all means keep the sucker and wear it out until the offer no longer stands. If not, then it may be a candidate for adoption.

Does the shirt have significant nostalgia? Does the shirt remind you of your first completed marathon, your first century bicycle race, your first 10k? If so, keep it. If not and the race was a “fun run” that really didn’t have much significance to you, then feel free to set it aside. Every summer, most people are wrangled into doing one or more fun runs or walk to help a friend or a cause a friend is passionate about, if this is the case then it is OK to get rid of the shirt.

Is the player/team/group still your favorite? Sometime when attending a sporting event you will get a t-shirt as a memento. Often times these are player “jersey t-shirts.” And often time shortly thereafter that player is traded. If the player still has an important role in your fandom, then keep the shirt. If they were a role player whose shirt you had just because it was free, and then he got traded, give the guy away. Likewise, if you happen to attend a game outside of your hometown and receive a shirt as a souvenir, try to figure out if you really want the shirt. If you got a Derek Jeter shirt when you took in a game at Yankee Stadium, but can’t stand the Yanks or Jeter, then why do you want to keep the shirt. It may go back to the nostalgia factor (“This is from my first visit to New York”), but if not then you should think about donating the shirt to your favorite charity.
Are you still working out in the shirt? We often times buy a t-shirt to work out or play sports in. Either it is sleeveless and gives us better range of motion, or it has a graphic of our Alma matter or favorite team. Whatever the case, we have all purchased shits for recreational purposes. The question now is what to do with them. If the shirt can be replaced by one of the aforementioned criteria then put it in the give-away pile. If the shirt still has nostalgia and/or a conditioned response then keep the guy and be proud to wear it out.

Does the shirt have holes? Plain and simple, if the shirt has holes or rips, get rid of it. These shirts make the best rags. And for this you can discount the nostalgia factor, because wearing this shirt is more embarrassing to you than the pride you think it conveys. The best thing you can do to this type of shirt is to cut it into a rag, and if the placement of the rips allow, you can make it so the graphic on the front or back is preserved, giving you the warm feeling inside when you use it.

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