Who would have thought I would learn something interesting regarding sports this week in church. Don’t get me wrong, that’s not all I took away from Sunday’s sermon, but it did spark an interesting idea for a column this week.
I am pulling this reference out of an entire message here, so don’t get the idea we stray far off-topic in our service, but our pastor told us how Nike got its name from the Greeks brainstorming for a better moniker than the original Blue Ribbon Shoes – who could blame them – and Nike is the Greek winged goddess of victory, hence the swoosh.
The Oregon-based $100 billion company now generates over $30 billion in yearly revenues, year-over-year growth of 5 percent, and sales to China growing more than 30 percent annually. In addition to shoes, the iconic Swoosh is on T-shirts, caps, keychains and almost anything that can fit one in regard to sports.
Nike’s early product placement ventures included giving a pair to Steve Prefontaine on July 6, 1972. He also had a Nike T-shirt but everyone thought it said Mike due to the cursive lettering. That aside, it went viral from there.
The origins for Puma, one of the leading athletic footwear, apparel and accessories companies in the world, began in 1924 when two brothers started a shoe company and then split with one becoming Puma and the other Adidas, using the brother’s nickname “Adi” and first three of his last. They are still going strong today.
These are just a few shoes for consideration in sports today. Growing up we had the Converse Chuck Taylors everyone wanted, and if you had another brand you were, well branded as wearing – what kids can get creative about – a pair of bo-bo’s.
Of course Chuck Taylors – you have to get the high tops – were a lot more expensive than some sneakers at the time so I had my share of bo-bo’s much to my chagrin. There was another old schoolyard habit I remember which wasn’t very nice. When someone had a new pair of sneakers that weren’t considered cool, the first one to spot it would step on your toe. Kind of like punches on your birthday, but it hurts more.
Sneakers of some sort have been around since the 1870s where the bright-banded athletic shoe with a rubber sole came to be known as the Plimsoll, very popular on ship decks where they would grip better.
J.W. Foster and Sons designed the first shoe for running in 1895 and they were spiked to allow for greater traction and speed.
I haven’t quite convinced myself I need the top-of-the-line brand on my extra stepping Fitbit tracking I’ve been working on. I did switch from my sandals to running shoes by buying a new pair of bo-bo’s.