The Maturation of Lime Green

Sad Addendum: since this post was written, Seattle Sounders have introduced a neon green/yellow thing that makes them look like overzealous crossing guards.

Until a couple of years ago lime green (which seems to vary in execution from avocado to neon, but is never actually lime-colored) was a sports color reserved for minor league hockey and youth soccer teams. But the Seattle Seahawks of the NFL broke that barrier in 2009, and although those unis are now defunct, the theme of lime green with a rich dark blue has been picked up by two teams I enjoy...and they look good on the pitch.

Then-coach Jim Mora discarded these Seahawks uniforms after only a short time, apparently not because they were ugly, but because "We didn't win in them." The shade of "lime green" was on the garish side, and the uniforms were generally despised by fans, press, and club alike.

I think the Seahawks jersey suffered a little bit from lack of committment (white numerals), but mostly, and obviously, from that particular shade of green. As we see next, a little change in the green and suddenly we're cooking with gas. Another Seattle team around the same time decided to try the same theme (the Northwest Pacific coast of the U.S. is lush dark green rainforest and dark seas; green is a dominant theme, the NBA team of yore sported forest green). Here they are, Major League Soccer's Seattle Sounders.

The green is a little richer, less gimmicky. The Sounders, by the way, have become the most popular team in the league. They played their first-ever game in March of 2009, and they alone among MLS teams consistently fill their stadium, and that with loud scarf-wearing true fanatics. They're a favorite of TV broadcasters for that reason, and they've sparked something of a mini-MLS renaissance.

You guys know that the sport I most mention is rugby union football. This weekend I watched the Highlanders of southern New Zealand (who play in Super Rugby competition) play the Western Force of Western Australia. The match was their last in their current home venue, and in anticipation of a change of scene they decided to change their uniforms as well.

Here's the classic Highlanders look. It's a good sturdy look, although I think it tends toward too busy with the red stripes. Difficult to make iconic, which is no trouble for other New Zealand teams, such as the Crusaders and Blues. The look is legitimately old-fashioned (not necessarily a good thing), while most clubs with an old-fashioned look are actually sporting sleek nods to yesteryear (e.g. the Stormer's hoop stripes).

So this is what the Highlanders rolled out in. The look really stood out on the pitch, and gives a feel of sleekness where the previous arrangement suggested sturdiness. Which is probably good for a team from a, um...less sophisticated part of New Zealand.

The Giant decision? Lime green: not today's version of the nineties' teal. At least not as long as it's combined with navy blue. Best of luck to the Highlanders.