I must get more Swoosh in my life. More, more, more. It's not
enough to have the Swoosh on every jersey and scoreboard and
dugout roof. It's not enough that the Swoosh is on basketballs,
footballs, soccer balls and volleyballs. It's not enough that
the Swoosh is slapped all over more than 40 universities, eight
NFL teams, six NHL teams (two more next season) and five Major
League Soccer teams.
I want the eye black under baseball and football players' eyes
to take the form of a Swoosh. I want hockey sticks, nine-irons
and yardage markers to be made in the shape of a Swoosh. I want
to know who's in the on-deck Swoosh. I want to watch the Swoosh
Channel. I want Swoosh condoms (Just Do It).
It's not enough that the Swoosh is on Michael Jordan's beret and
Mary Pierce's headband and Gabrielle Reece's beach volleyball
top. It's not enough that the center on the Hawaii basketball
team had his sideburns shaped into Swooshes. I want a Swoosh
tattoo. I want a Swoosh lasered onto my retinas. I want to name
my son Swoosh. (If it's a girl, Swooshie.)
I want these things because the Swoosh is the most ubiquitous
symbol in sports history. The Swoosh is so huge that the name of
the company that goes with the Swoosh doesn't even appear
anymore. In the ads, on the shoes, even on the company
letterhead, all you get is the Swoosh, and you just know. Try
that with Keds, pal.
Happiness is a warm Swoosh. Do you see the way it swooshes
upward, a snappy little check mark, letting you know that
everything in your life is A-O.K.? It's airy, windswept,
uplifting. It's the delighted little final stroke your pen makes
when endorsing the biggest check of your life.
But there is not enough of it in our lives yet. From here on in,
instead of H-O-R-S-E, I want kids to play S-W-O-O-S-H. I want
skis to go Swoosh! I want to get the autograph of Sheryl Swoosh.
Woe to you who underestimate the Swoosh. Tiger Woods, the
coolest athlete on Planet Swoosh, has the Swoosh on the front of
his hat and the side of his hat and the back of his hat and on
his turtleneck and on his shirt and on his sweater and on his
vest and on his pants and on his socks and on his shoes. But
when Woods arrived in Thailand two weeks ago, he found that his
luggage had been misplaced, and he had to play a pro-am without
his usual complement of Swooshes. He lasted just 13 holes before
heat and exhaustion got to him. Don't you see? The Swoosh is the
source of all his powers!
I wasn't always like this. I used to rage against the Swoosh.
"Why?" I yelped at strangers. "Why must the Swoosh run the
world?" Why, I asked, after almost 30 years, did the Denver
Broncos let the Swoosh people redesign the team's uniforms and
logo so that they were suddenly uglier than the jerseys of a
meat-market softball team. I cried out against the subliminal
Swooshing all over the new Denver uniform. "Don't you see it?" I
railed, pointing to the Broncos' new logo. "The horse's nostril!
It's a Swoosh!"
In protest I determined to go an entire day without getting
Swooshed. I made it 14 minutes, just past my Eggo, when my wife
came down in her Swoosh sports bra. Something snapped in me that
morning. I gave in. You cannot fight the Swoosh.
I want my kids to attend the University of California at Swoosh.
I want to get up in the morning and eat a big bowlful of
chocolate Swooshios as part of a nutritionally balanced
breakfast. I want to meet Carolyn Davidson. She's the graphic
designer who, after graduating from Portland State in 1972, came
up with the Swoosh for Phil Knight, Zeus of Swoosh, for $35.
Thirty-five dollars! When she handed it to Knight, she
remembers, he said, "I don't love it, but maybe it'll grow on
me." Twenty-five years and a zillion dollars later, you think
it's all right now, Phil? (Davidson, who in 1983 was given some
Nike stock by Knight and who recently retired, says her second
most famous work is the wallpaper she designed for a motel in
Yakima, Wash.) Carolyn Davidson, stand up and take your place in
Some experts believe the Swoosh is better known than the
McDonald's golden arches. Nine national soccer teams, including
Brazil's, wear the Swoosh. The Tour de France leader wears the
Swoosh. When the U.S. played Russia in hockey's recent World
Cup, both teams were wearing the Swoosh.
The Swoosh is like Jell-O: There's always room for the Swoosh. I
want Swoosh on the periodic table of the elements, right next to
boron. I want Swoosh to be the 27th letter of the alphabet. I
want to order raw eel at a Swooshi bar.
Do not fight it, brothers and sisters. Trust in the Swoosh. The
Swoosh is good and powerful. If our government leaders would
only let it, the Swoosh could bail us out of this deficit thing
like that. Of course, we would have to make a few small
Al, does the presidential seal look different to you?
COLOR ILLUSTRATION: EVANGELOS VIGLIS [Prophet delivering Nike swoosh symbol to athletes]