Thursday, April 22, 2010

Choosing a Race Shirt–Let's Keep this Simple People

When I go shopping for a new shirt, I have two categories of shirts that I look at:

1. Button Down dress shirt. This style of shirt can accomodate a tie, look good with a suit and one that I would send to the drycleaner. It requires me to know my neck and arm length dimensions and may even require me to try it on in a dressing room. If I go looking for this type of shirt, I know that it will require some thought so I work to avoid it as much as possible.

2. All other shirts. These can be button down, t-shirt, sweater, zip up, etc. Generally these shirts don't require a visit to the dressing room and at most will require me to hold it up and decide whether or not it fits. If I am in a "shopping mood," I may even hold it up in front of a mirror and look at it. In no way am I checking arm length, chest width, body height or anything that could possibly cross the line into the  category of dress shirt. The dimensions are simple, I wear either a M or a L depending on the style of the shirt.

Earlier in the week, my wife mentioned that her sister works for a company that is a major sponsor of a  Fourth of July celebration in the area. Each year, this celebration holds a 5K and 10K run and we can get a discount on the registration if we have her sign us up for the races. If I can get an additional discount on a race then that definitely gets my attention. It was no surprise when she asked me yesterday what my shirt size was. What did surprise me was when last night she came to me with the measuring tape and asked me to take her measurements for the race shirt. I didn't know how to respond to this request.

I did a double take and asked why she would require me to take her measurements for a race shirt. After all, if the race shirt is cotton we generally give the shirt to the kids that they can wear for pajamas or we use it when painting, etc. The tech tees will go in the running drawer if they are nice or to one of the kids if it's not. Why would I need to take measurements for a race shirt?

She proceeded to show me the following chart that the race has put together in determining shirt size. Since when did getting a race shirt require a degree in geometry? In addition, what are all the other dimensions used for? All of a sudden, a bead of sweat started forming on my forehead. Memories of Jr. High Geometry come to mind and how I could never figure out the hypotenuse of the triangle. I still struggle when my kids ask me if a triangle is "acute" or "obtuse". I like to tell them that we choose not to put labels on things so that they maintain their self-esteem.

After staring at the chart a few minutes and taking a few measurements, I came to the conclusion that I am a Small/Medium/Large and that none of my measurements really fell in their dimensions. I delved into my past experience of all my college classes Geometry when that occurred and told my wife to choose "C" and walked out of the room. Someone has crossed a line with this chart.