Go Ask Daddy About Undergear, Chinese Manufacturing and the Battles That Can Rage in Our Mouths

photo credit: DocChewbacca Sacred Water of Fuji Temple via photopin (license)

We’ll get our new kits today.

GAD GRAPHICThat’s soccer lingo for new uniforms. We’ll play our opener Monday. New kits, new coach, new season. I have a good feeling about it all. Every time I think it’s time to retire, something like this happens. Some place asks me if I’ll teach. And I say yes.

I’m particular when it comes to kits – I don’t have a say in this case, so I hope for the best.

I have a few hang-ups. Quirks, really. Harmless. I’m partial to prime numbers. That’s not so strange, but perhaps that I was once a fan of multiples of threes, then made the switch to prime numbers? Maybe that makes it strange.

For uniforms, my quirk is simple: I want symmetry.

I can’t stand uniforms with one red sleeve, one blue. Or those gymnast leotards with one long sleeve and one short. Be honest, on this one, would that not bug the holy jalapenos right out of you? So send good vibes that our kits are the same on one side as the other.

1. What should you wear under your soccer jersey?

soccer jersey
photo credit: 1950’s USA Throwback via photopin (license)

I tossed this one to a new friend at work, a coach, and player.

“What should you wear under your soccer jersey?” I texted. “Are you sure this is for your blog?” she answered. Woah. I felt creepy as the boogeyman and twice as awkward. “It’s for my blog, you see. There’s this thing I do, on Fridays … Go Ask Daddy …”

I dug the hole like a champ.

Tough girls like Tina – and my girls – often opt for nothing but a sports bra underneath, no matter how frigid the day. It’s like a lineman in the Bears-Packers game at Lambeau with bare arms. I’d advise you to wear (and Tina agreed) Under Armour or some such moisture-wicking undershirt.

If it’s 65 degrees or above, just a form-fitting short-sleeved lycra shirt or sports bra will do. If it’s 55 or cooler, you’re still cool with the short sleeves. At 45 degrees and below, opt for the long-sleeved Under Armour. Anything colder than that? Layer up.

A short-sleeved and long-sleeved shirt for temps that dip to 35, and below that, those two, plus a jogger’s jacket of some variety. Layers, my girls. Layers.

2. Why didn’t they have color TV back then?

I still remember black-and-white TV.

Non-football fans in the family would face exile to an inner room to watch Shirley Temple movies on a colorless set during the Super Bowl. True story. Don’t judge, it was the times. Back in the mid-40s, we’d have been watching the game in black and white, too.

(Only, there weren’t Super Bowls back then.)

Color TV coexisted with black-and-white TV in television’s infancy. CBS and RCA competed with different color mechanisms. Color TV had a tough time catching on. The technology wasn’t so easy to parse.

Now, we have a deluge of color, a hue tsunami that sometimes assaults the senses.

Like these unis.

3. Why is everything made in China?

Asian factories can produce goods fast and switch on the fly more easily than can their American friends. Overhead and workforce costs are significantly lower. Safety practices and social responsibility sometimes are the casualties in this quick-and-easy setup.

The bulk of web-enabled devices are produced in China, but their infrastructure – Android and iOS – are maintained right here in the U.S. of A.

4. Is Shaquille O’Neal the guy who lives in our neighborhood?

Oh, Shaq wouldn’t shack up in East Charlotte, honey.

I mean, there’s Walmart and Little Caesar’s pizza and even two Food Lions a couple of miles apart, but when you’re the Big Aristotle, you need grander digs. Shaq, though, is little more than a 7-foot kid, which I can identify with, except for the 7-foot part.

We eat similarly, too, me on a smaller scale, believe it or not. A friend of a friend who works at a South Charlotte steak house said that during Shaq’s final NBA season, he sat in her section. His order:

  • One steak
  • One order of crab legs
  • One whole roasted chicken

He ate it all.

Quite a feat for a man whose name means “handsome.” (Eli, by the way, means “high.” But not like that.) Shaq didn’t score in double digits the next night against Charlotte. The restaurant should offer a downsized version of that dinner in his honor, I say.

Shaq’s influence is for real. There are now three NFL players named Shaq: Barrett, with the Broncos; Shaq Mason, with the Patriots; and Shaq Thompson, with the Panthers.

5. What makes mouthwash spicy?

roof of mouth

Here’s exhibit 235 of how today’s generation is babied: There exists a Listerine Zero.

Those of us of a certain age remember the days when mouthwash and antifreeze were essentially the same chemical makeup. The feeling that your mouth has been descended on by a thousand fire ants isn’t from the alcohol content – it’s the essential oils.

Yes, the same kinds of things your hippieish friends will offer if you complain of a headache, a stomachache, or just NeedSomeZenInMyDayAche. It’s a different blend, of course, designed not to ease your pain, but to destroy plaque in your mouth.

It’s a dirty, germy war zone, and feels like it, your mouth when the oils get to battle.

So the Listerine Zero doesn’t have those mighty warriors fighting in your face. No, it’s more like a pillow fight in which no one really takes a full swing at an opponent. Plaque scoffs at Listerine Zero, the way I scoff at low-fat cheese and gluten-free churros.

And asymmetrical soccer kits and non-prime numbers, but those are battles that rage in my head, not my mouth.




  1. My jersey number was always 9. Turns out it was my wife’s number when she was in high school, too. Multiple of 3 (2 3’s actually) which is a prime number. Symmetry is a must in both color and design (make the sleeves the same length!). All though, mismatched socks are okay. And mouthwash needs to burn to work.

    1. Amen to it all, brother. Otherwise, you’re wasting your swish. My girls all have jerseys in multiples of 3s for numbers, and then dad had to go and switch his madness.

      You two 9s were meant to be, Eric.

  2. I’m with you on symmetry! What’s the point in one long and one short sleeve? No!
    My Seattle friend gave Colin a Seahawks jersey. Number 12, FAN 🏈
    Shaquille O’Neal does not eat any veggies? Shame on him 😂

    1. Luckily, our kids are symmetric! All is right in the universe. Even if one sleeve is a different color, that bothers me.

      Your friend should have given Colin something nicer, like a Broncos jersey, No. 13, Siemian!

      My friend’s friend didn’t mention veggies on Shaq’s plate, but for all I know, he downed a whole pineapple after dinner.

  3. My grandkids’ soccer season started this week. LOL nine-year-old Eliza’s soccer boots definitely don’t go with her kit, but they sure brighten up the field 😀

    1. It’s the season, Lyn – it’s a beautiful thing. I’ve seen her boots, and that’s the best way to track her on the field from your perspective.

      Girls can be a blur of team colors and ponytails, so if you can either put a brightly colored hair band or boots, that helps.

      Elise, the keeper in my family, remembers girls for their cleats, not their numbers, because she watches their feet most – and runs into them repeatedly when she slides out!

  4. I think quirks make us each that much more fun to be around. I face all my cash (when I actually have it) in the same direction. The former banker in me can’t help it.

    The mouthwash !! Omg the mouthwash… I thought my grandmother was trying to kill me when I was younger with that stuff!

    1. Quirks keep us from becoming sheep, Tiffany. I do the same with my bills, on the two occasions a year I seem to have two bills to rub together.

      I hate when a cashier gives me bills not only upside down, but face down! Such disrespect for our forefathers!

      That mouthwash probably could have unclogged a kitchen drain, cleaned rust off bumpers and melted diamonds. I know the stuff.

  5. 1. Tina is very funny. 2. Multiples of 3 are my fave. Prime numbers, I have a hard time even remembering which ones are prime. 3. Oils in Listerine? I had no idea!! 4. I’m in North Carolina today. Asheville. Love the hills. Wish I could see them in the fall.

    1. Isn’t she? Sometimes I say stuff and don’t think about the words first. I loved multiples of three for years – then one morning, woke up, and it was prime numbers. I probably failed tests on them all my school career.

      We’ll be in Asheville tomorrow! That’s where my oldest is in college. My youngest has a game there, and as luck would have it, my oldest has one just after it – at the same park. Thank you, Jesus.

      p.s. What typos? I got you.

  6. Definitely agree on the need for symmetry. Nothing makes me crazier than mismatched sleeves…even different colors or one sleeve sporting stripes makes me nutty. I’ll claim that OCD, thank you.

  7. That was some excellent digging you had going on!
    And it might be the Upstate NY’er in me, but that’s far too many layers to play in! Granted I played in the days before UA but you *might* wear a thermal tank, long sleeves and uniform shirt.
    Granted, I also used to just wear my waterproof shells and thermals for a day on the slopes, so it might just be me.

    1. Thanks, Court! Yes, the layers guide should be adjusted for climes. I love transplanted Michiganders and such here in Carolina who want the pool to open in February because, hell, it’s in the 50s.

      And then probably you’re just a badass, which trumps all.

  8. Isn’t there something biologically wired in our brains to be attracted to symmetry? I’m pretty sure I’ve read that in multiple places. Maybe the people who like asymmetry are the ones who are… mis-wired. (I’m trying to not speak judgmentally about others during Lent! …although, so far it is more failure than success, I am sorry to say). Do you remember those rainbow-colored test-bars that would show up on a TV station when it was off the air? Now we are inundated with 24/7 news, games, infomercials, and Real Housewives. Also, thank you for teaching me something about mouthwash (I seriously had no idea) and for leaving me with a quote that will almost certainly be bouncing around in my head the next time I am wondering why on earth I am on the track literally running around in circles. 😉

    1. If the wiring doesn’t exist, it should, Lu. A crest or logo on one breast doesn’t bother me, but the striping and piping has to mirror.

      I wish we could take some time for those test bars. Maybe that could become the universal symbol for walking away from tech, shutting down the devices a bit and just being.

      Thanks for tuning in. I have five more questions and answers coming up for your Friday entertainment.

      1. I think I need test bars on my cell phone! Or maybe iron bars. It is my distraction and numbing-agent of choice. How did it become that I can’t even wait at a red light anymore?

      2. Mobile phone test bars are a stellar idea, Lu. I try to concentrate on one screen at a time, that’s my modern-day Zen. Maybe you should remedy your impatience by checking your phone only at red lights?

      3. I’d love to be patient enough to sit through a red light without my phone at all! But yes, one screen at a time sounds like a great place to start.

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