So, I’ve had an interesting issue come up twice now and I thought I’d solicit your opinions. In my previous ward, I played basketball quite a bit. At the beginning of one game the referees noticed that the white jerseys we had looked like the other teams white jerseys and thought they would have a difficult time telling the two teams apart (never mind the fact that if there was a dispute, we would be happy to clarify). Their solution was to have our team take off our undershirts and just wear the jersey.
Well, this presented a conundrum to me.
You see, I was wearing garments. I was told when I took out my endowments that I should never wear the garment bottom without the top and vice-versa. Easy solution, right? Take off the top and the bottom.
Not so fast.
I had been giving temple recommend interviews recently and one of the things we were asked to read was about when we should wear the garment. Basically, we shouldn’t take the garment off at a time when it might reasonably be worn.
I felt like the garment could reasonably be worn.
So, I told the refs I wouldn’t take off my undershirt. “Why,” they asked.
“I’m wearing garments”.
“Oh, it’s fine,” said one ref (with whom I had previously served on the high council).
I definitely didn’t feel right about it. I knew I should either refuse to take it off or just go home.
I caved and took off my shirt and my garment top.
I played pretty poorly that game (no surprise) and felt terrible about that decision. I felt like I had caved under pressure and chosen the wrong path. Well, I told myself, if it ever happens again, I’ll know what to do.
It happened again this past Thanksgiving.
My brothers-in-law were playing basketball at a school in the town we were vacationing in. One of them had hurt his foot, so I stepped in and took his place. He had been on the skins team, so I should have taken my shirt off. I realized that I had my garments on. My experience before came flooding back and I felt that nervous tension creep up. Would I explain my dilemma to them? What would they say? I think they were all mormons, so they probably would have understood.
I chose to say nothing.
I donned the jersey they threw me and left my shirts on. They hemmed and hawed uncomfortably until one guy decided to switch to skins.
So, I chose the right. What happened? I played the best basketball of my life. I scored 15 points in the first game (out of 21) and 12 in the second. I stole the ball about half the time and never ran out of breath.
Okay, that’s a lie. I sucked. I did score the first basket in each of the first two games, but that was about it. It’s hard to run in jeans and shoes that are hurting your feet. Plus, we were at high altitude instead of the sea level I’m used to. Plus, I suck at basketball, which was the only real problem.
But, I still did what I felt was right and I felt good about that.
Incidentally, it occurred to me as I’m writing this that the guy who switched from shirts to skins was probably an endowed member. I wonder if he took off his garment top to switch teams.
So, what do you think? Is it okay to take your garment top off when playing basketball?