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Shorts Stories.

April 5, 2010

I recently realized that every single pair of running shorts I own is at least 10 years old.

I have many, many pairs of those same Soffe shorts that every girl in the 90s owned, whether she was athletic or not. Although most of those are now in storage in Colorado. Only a green pair and a black pair made it across the Atlantic with me. Wait! And a purple pair, but those got lost in the move across the English Channel. I’ve got to stop moving across bodies of water, lest I lose all of my clothing.

I have a pair of navy blue Adidas shorts that I think I may have lifted from (or rather, simply did not return to) my high school soccer team. Innocent oversight on my part, I’m sure. I remember when I first joined the soccer team, we were so low-rent that our uniform shirts were t-shirts. When we finally graduated to proper jerseys, the coach lets us keep the tees. I loved my navy blue one. It fit perfectly. But we parted ways at the cross-country state championships. I wore it as my warm-up shirt, and when I stripped down to my singlet at the start, I handed the soccer tee off to our team manager to hold while I raced. And somehow it was the only shirt that didn’t make it to greet us at the finish line! Someone scored a free tee that day. At least I still have the shorts.

I also have a pair of proper running shorts that I purchased from the Wake Forest bookstore while on a tour of colleges in the Southeastern United States. Summer, ’97. You know what else I purchased from that bookstore? Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. And read it during downtime on that campus. Our tour guide at Wake Forest was named Jones. He was dreamy.

I remember I listened to Sublime’s eponymous album most of that trip. As did a girl named April. We’d get a kick out of starting tracks at the exact same time and knowing that the other person was hearing the same thing we were hearing through our respective headphones.

And finally, I have a pair of Umbro Newcastle United shorts that Jonathan Malespin played PeeWee soccer in. Same shorts I ran last year’s half marathon in, if you want to check them out. It was sometime around 1997 again that I got my hands on these, though the shorts were at least 10 years old by that point. I remember Kate scored a pair of white shorts.

And it is those shorts that has had me thinking about the age of everything I run in. I do believe it’s finally time to retire Jonathan’s shorts.

As Mark Remy reminds us, “When elastic’s gone, man, it is gone.”

And while he’s specifically talking to men about the lining of their shorts, keeping everything snugly in place, take it from someone who just spent the 45 minutes of her last run gripping her shorts to ensure they did not succomb to the sweet call of gravity: the rule applies to waistbands, too.

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