Sports, like in life, are ever-evolving. From leather helmets to those of today. Short-shorts to the lengthy ones worn by basketball players now. And persimmon-headed golf clubs professional golfers used for centuries have been replaced by a lighter and more technologically sound metal alternative.
In most cases, the "new and improved" product renders its predecessor obsolete and sends them to the sports graveyard for the remainder of time. So with that being said, and in light of recent developments, I offer the following: rest in peace, wrestling singlet — and for all intents and purposes, good riddance.
The National Federation of State High School Associations approved a new two-piece compression alternative to the singlet earlier this month, and in doing so put the first nail in the coffin of the least flattering athletic uniform this side of a Speedo.
Disagree? Ask them why they're doing it and they'll tell you studies have shown kids are often turning their backs on the sport in spite of interest — due primarily to the required get-up. It's uncomfortable, awkard-looking and less-than-flattering for even the fittest of competitors.
For years it's been a punchline. I'm taken back to the back-and-forth from the 1980s movie, The Breakfast Club, where a young and nerdy Anthony Michael Hall responds to the assertion that jock Emilio Estevez wears tights.
Hall: "You wear tights?
Estevez: "No I don't wear tights, I wear the required uniform."
Estevez: "Shut up!"
Traditionalists aren't going to like this. They'll tell you it's fine and it's what's always been worn. But ultimately the proof will be in how many choose the newly accepted alternative, and how quickly the inevitable transformation occurs.
There will be wrinkles — no pun intended — as the NFSHSA irons out the logistics of a redesign of the age-old product. In addition, there will be and already are concerns from those in and around the sport of wrestling as to the additional pieces to a previously one-piece puzzle for competitors to get their hands on.
But in the end it will be fine, the opposition will survive, and hopefully the sport — for the sake of those who love it — will grow in popularity rather than suffer from an antiquated, far-too-revealing and goofy looking unitard that's been associated with wrestling for entirely too long.
Times change and it's often best to roll with the punches. Or in this case, the headlock, arm-bar or two-leg takedown.