Students can’t afford Goodwill for ‘Rich Out,’ yet can afford every other game theme?


Will Anderson, News Editor

  As you sit in the visiting stands of the Del Oro High School football stadium, you aren’t able to see the appearance of the fans on the opposing side.

  You can pick apart the main colors, black and gold in support of the Golden Eagles, but whether it’s a rugged, stained and ripped t-shirt or a freshly pressed polo, you can’t tell the difference.  

  I was dressed in a black button down shirt, black slacks, thinly framed prescription glasses, a watch and black dress shoes the night Granite Bay played their biggest rival in football – I can assure you no one from the Del Oro stands could tell I was wearing anything but some black clothes.

  I was a participant in our student sections “rich out” theme.

  There was no faux fur clinging to my outfit, or flashy jewelry that screamed I was intentionally flaunting my money, but I was a participant nonetheless.

  Before the kickoff, there were ceremonies that honored fallen soldiers and local first responders – the game was titled the Honor Bowl, an event sponsored by the San Francisco 49ers.

  A paraplegic man in a motor powered wheelchair, who was honored in the pregame ceremonies, approached me and asked what my formal attire was for.

  At first he thought I was a football player that was wearing nice clothing before changing into my jersey, but I explained that I was a news editor for our school’s paper and I usually like to wear something nice as I interview players and coaches after the game.

  I then told him about our school’s tradition of wearing “rich” clothing to hyperbolically mock ourselves and the idea that we have more money than the students of Del Oro.

  The students of Del Oro wear camouflage and rugged farmer-boy clothes also fulfilling their stereotype of being silly country kids – neither stereotype proves accurate.

  I told the man that either way, both students sections partake in a humorous, self-deprecating event

  After this explanation, he grinned in amusement. He then complimented my outfit, told me to enjoy the game and then wheeled away and went along with his evening.

  As I thought of what I wore that night, I recognized the disapproval our administration has shown towards  the “rich out” theme.

  And as I think back, maybe I shouldn’t have worn what I did.

  But in general, I have relatively good social awareness. I am able to read a room and tell when there is awkwardness or uncomfortableness, and at no point that night did I feel that way – I never felt out of place because of the clothes I was wearing.    

  Even as I interacted with our administration or the opposing players in post game interviews and conversations, I never felt judged or out of place, nor was that feeling reciprocated by parents, players, coaches and fans.

  My family supports me in tremendous ways, but a large majority of my clothes have been purchased with money that I have earned myself.

  When I hear that it is offensive to wear nicer clothing to a game, and it fulfills stereotypes that our school does not want to be associated with, I completely understand.

  But if we are talking about certain students at our school not being able to afford the clothes for this theme, every single theme we have for any given game becomes equally controversial.

  I wear nice clothing to school. I can be seen regularly wearing dress shirts and short sleeve button downs, almost all of which are purchased from second hand stores like Goodwill.

  The point is, I spent less money on the clothes I wore to the Del Oro game than I have on purchasing Tribe shirts over the years – so to say it’s a money issue is simply wrong.

  Not everyone can afford the $15 Tribe shirt, but the school heavily promotes them anyway as if it’s a “must buy” for students.

  I remember my freshman year when you weren’t even allowed into the Tribe unless you were wearing a tribe shirt – were we worried about creating an inclusive environment then?

  One of our very own Tribe leaders wore a white Ralph Lauren Polo the previous week as we played St. Mary’s of Berkeley and no one batted an eye. And they shouldn’t have because what we wear to a high school football game on a Friday night shouldn’t matter.  

  I don’t think the issue is that students aren’t aware of what message they are sending – our student body’s knowledge of the topic is what makes it so light hearted and humorous.

  The chants that I shouted on that Friday night were not at all affected by the clothes on my back, nor should they have been.

  So if we truly foster a community at Granite Bay High School that is not defined by materialistic things, why do my button up shirt and dress shoes matter?   

  If I wore the same clothing to school or to any other football game, would we even be having this discussion?