Could you identify a team by their footwear?

Have you ever noticed that the uniforms of many sports teams playing on the international stage end at their feet? It would seem that players are given complete freedom to use whatever boots they choose. This often results in a crazy array of colours and styles that look oddly out of place.

I only became aware of this when the New Zealand All Blacks were the only rugby team that wore the same boots at a recent international tournament. The contrast caught my attention. Further research made me realise that multi coloured footwear has been the norm in recent years, even for the All Blacks prior to the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

Now when I see random team footwear on the international sporting stage it drives me nuts because I think it looks ridiculous. It might drive you nuts too if you haven’t noticed it before!

Sometime prior to the 2015 Rugby World Cup, someone in the All Blacks camp made a decision to reverse the trend and for me the result was striking. This team suddenly looked more professional than rag-tag and more like a team, than a team of individuals. They also went on to win the World Cup.

Sporting success obviously doesn’t rest on the type of footwear a team uses, but when a team uniform reflects a culture that challenges the priority of individuals in favour of the team, it has to give that team some kind of competitive edge.

The All Blacks’ choice to wear a complete uniform causes me to reflect on whether I am a team player in life; in respect to family, work colleagues and other groups with whom I relate.

Do I play for myself or do I play for the team?

Photo: vverve/