My T-Shirt Collection, part I

Shirt remnant, lion, and cat
Shirt remnant, lion, and cat

For a year or so now, a friend of mine has insisted that I start a blog about my massive t-shirt collection. While this theme will not be the primary focus of the blog, it is as good a place to start as any. I will tell stories about the shirts if I can remember any. Otherwise, I may just make things up.

About the T-shirt Collection

I started collecting t-shirts when I was 14. On my eighth grade class trip to Milwaukee (the public school kids got to go to DC. I went to parochial school in the Chicago area, and we went to Milwaukee. Go figure.), I bought my first t-shirt with my babysitting money. It fell apart in the wash years ago, so this shirt is the oldest shirt in my collection now. It is a remnant, as I cannot fit into the shirt, and I plan on making a quilt from my old shirts at some point.

About the Shirt

In 1977, our high school basketball team got a new coach. That year, the basketball team went 2-22. The next year, the team took third in state, and in 1979, my junior year, the team took the state championship. It was very exciting for high school kids to travel to the University of Illinois stadium (the stadium in the background) and watch our team take the state championship. This shirt was part of the excitement.

Frank Palmasani was the basketball coach in the late 70s and very early 80s. I was in Mr. Palmasani’s homeroom, though I really doubt he would remember a shy kid trying very hard to be invisible from 30+ years ago.

Mr. Palmasani was a very excitable man. My favorite story about him comes from the year of the state championship. We were playing a conference rival in the regionals for state, and he was very worried about the state of his team’s offence against the rival defense. It was very common to see Mr. Palmasani walking down the hall muttering about zone vs. man to man coverage, or hear him talking about working on sideline shots in his classes.

One day just before the big game, Mr. Palmasani got pulled over for speeding, and before the cop could even ask for his license, he launched into his latest strategy for breaking the rival team’s press defense. I never heard if he got the ticket or not, but I hope the police officer was a high school basketball fan.


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