I went on a walkabout in San Jose looking for Sharks shirts. Here’s what happened next.


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All they wanted was San Jose Sharks shirts.

Which seems an easy get, right? Dad’s in San Jose. Spending his day in the SAP Center, where the San Jose Sharks play, for Patrick Marleau’s sake.

Except, it wasn’t easy. At all.

And that makes a simple task an adventure, right? There were moments: Some are captured in these pictures, others, like the mom who tipped her beer bottle to me as I walked by (and she finished her yard work just before sundown), in my mind only.

I walked 5 miles roundtrip. My arrival back at the Fairmont came at 9 p.m. local time, but midnight EST. I was out of batteries, toting a backpack crammed with food and other staples. I stopped on a stoop with other vagrants to repack my pack.

They nodded and smiled.

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It started out this way. Yes! This cheeseburger’s equivalents were:

For cars, a 1969 Chevrolet Camaro Z28

For albums, Appetite for Destruction, Guns & Roses

For Frasier’s girlfriends on Frasier? Charlotte Connor, of course.

Let’s get on with the walk.

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The view right outside the SAP Center. Picturesque, yet touristesque. I was about to get a real taste of St. Joe’s.

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Google stylized it for me. This stylization brings us back to the 1920s – well, except for the signal lights and fuel-efficient Hyundai in the foreground.

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I’m horrible with flower identification. Like, I can tell you the difference between the 1968 and 1969 Colts uniform. But flowers? I couldn’t tell you what this was even if Amy Acker promised to share a calzone with me for a correct answer. Pretty, though.

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I almost sat on this! Kidding. Cool though, isn’t it? It was just around the corner from a Catholic school with soccer fields on hard courts. I wonder how my teams would do against these teams. On these courts.

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I almost sat on this … again, I kid. Isn’t he cool? He was painted on the side of a box on the side of the road. I nearly missed him. I’m not sure, but I don’t think any real flying reptiles with four eyes have been discovered. Yet.

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Speaking of dinosaurs … this one’s a beauty. I don’t even know what it is, but with a paint job, some new upholstery, a dab of wax … well, all of us from yesterday could shine with a little TLC. Even me.

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No filter. This purple is near as majestic as the one in the Colorado Rockies’ uniforms. This iPhone my girls gave me for Father’s Day rocks. I wouldn’t have come home from San Jose without it.

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Even when the walk turned out of the neighborhoods and into the wastelands, there were cool colors. The yellow says yuckI know! I did a double-take, too. I felt the color palate called to mind a mid-90s pop motif. (I didn’t loiter).

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I stopped in for a Coke Zero, because of course. I should have bought a lotto ticket, or maybe one of those skinny cigars in the cellophane. They didn’t have root beer flavor, though. At this point, I felt I had plenty of sunlight. Plenty.

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Wal-mart was another world. I’ve never been to a Turkish bazaar. This was close, I reckon. Babies cried in a thousand languages. There was no Wi-Fi. In Silicon Valley. And there was this. It wasn’t real. But it was an omen. Beware, all who enter …

# # #

All the girls wanted was San Jose Sharks shirts.

Long-sleeved, they said. The Sharks have fantastic colors – black and teal. They bear a fierce logo and even skate onto the ice out of a shark’s jaws, a shark with flaming red eyes and everything. Sharks are just badass, you know?

This Wal-mart, though … the one with sardine-can-tight aisles and dodgers fans everywhere and cosmetics under lock and key, it has zero Sharks shirts. ZERO. Plenty of Golden State Warriors championship gear, though.

I’m from Charlotte. I can get all the Warriors gear in my own Wal-mart! #ThanksStephCurry

I got a San Jose State T-shirt for myself. (They didn’t have the girls’ sizes.) And I made it back without incident, getting the aforementioned beer-bottle tip and smile from the mom in the yard.

My dogs were tired and I was hungry. So I settled on this.

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This little joint lets you put whatever ground-up candy you want in your milkshake. And seasoning for your criss cut fries. (They’re waffle fries east of the Mississippi.)

# # #

I settled on sweatshirts for the girls from Santa Cruz Pier. They were cool. I picked them in 3 minutes flat and had to pay 20 cents extra for the plastic bag because it’s California.

Sitting around in a meeting after coming back to Charlotte, a guy asked me, say, weren’t you looking for Sharks stuff? Did you ever get any?

Instinctively I told the story but at about the time I got to the point where I was battling cacti and eight-eyed pterosaurs, he said, I know a guy who has some extra stuff. They just gave it to him in the area. 

Of course.

No problem, man. One dude asked on the last day, you walked HOW far to get your kids shit? Man, I’d have never done that. Well, friend, I didn’t want to let them down. I get on a mission for these kids, I get a narrow focus.

All they wanted was Sharks shirts.

Have I mentioned the cool logo?

What about you? Which is your favorite photo? What do you see walking around your town?

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15 thoughts on “I went on a walkabout in San Jose looking for Sharks shirts. Here’s what happened next.

  1. This was a fun way to see how you explored San Jose! And I’m kind of drooling over that burger and fries and shake right now. Did the girls at least like the sweatshirts?

    1. Oh, the love the shirts! They wear them all the time. That burger was every bit as good as it looked, Beth. I wanted to steal that plate – it was basically a slab of wood.

  2. The Sharks logo is cool. Were the stores out of shirts because of the popularity? Hockey is awesome like that. 😉 Glad you were able to find something for your daughters.

    The cheeseburger and fries picture has my mouth watering. The analogy to the 69 Camaro Z28 gave me chills, as it’s one of my favorite cars.

    Thanks for sharing some of your trip, Eli.

    1. They made the Sharks logo look even fiercer, LJ. Still not as cool as the Avs’. The stores were dumbed down to Steph Curry here, there, and everywhere.

      I swear, I could find only one San Jose State shirt, and it was in my size (Hayden took it and I haven’t seen it since!)

      That Camaro is art in motion, my friend. Glad it had the desired effect.

      1. Aww. Hockey is still the Rodney Dangerfield of sports. Can’t get no respect. The Winged Wheel is epic as well. It’s a logo that belongs to a team in a city named Detroit. It’s funny but I don’t have the animosity towards the Avs anymore, but dates still stay in my mind. I have a bet with a Sabres fan. My mind immediately went to December 23, 1987. So bizarre.

      2. Isn’t it crazy? The wings don’t make me itch the the dodgers do. I’m even growing tolerant of the raiders (not really.) the jazz are getting on my nerves. But it’s been a while since our hockey teams have had something to fight about.

  3. Middle Son and family live in Santa Clara, just next to San Jose. I’ve been to the MLS stadium there, and a parade, but not the Sharks venue. Maybe on a future trip.

    1. Santa Clara’s where the 49ers play. I walked by the MLS Stadium on my way to a coffee shop and In and Out Burgers. Our event was in the SAP Center – it’s aging a bit, but still pretty cool. Like me.

    1. You just wind up putting a foot in front of the other and there you go, Mimi. It was a great adventure, even when night was falling and I was stuck in a Wal-mart with no phone battery or internet!

  4. I have gone all over creation looking for stuff for my daughter.. so I totally get it. It was sweet of you to look until you found something. I think staying away from the “area” was a good idea. LOL! Local team logo paraphernalia is difficult sometimes because of the copyright laws. Baseball is usually easier but anyone who reproduces a logo has to pay a butt load of money for the license. That is why you won’t see it. The teams want the money from selling their own goods. And you do NOT want to get caught selling something without permission. The lawsuits and fines are hefty in some states. The Sharks probably have a premium on their logo.. thus making it difficult to find “legally”. I’m sure you know all of this tho..
    Our little town has some cool history. Interesting that you first picture was of a hamburger. Athens “claims” to be the home of the first Hamburger ever. You can read about it here… https://www.athenstx.gov/events/the-uncle-fletch-davis-hamburger-festival
    Gotta go study… take care my friend and have an awesome weekend with your girls!! ❤

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