When I’m on the job, I don’t wear Carolina blue.
It’s my cardinal rule — above all else, Do. Not. Wear. Carolina. Blue.
As a student journalist at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, I make an extra effort to avoid wearing any color even close to that shade of blue. For me, it’s all about maintaining professionalism and not giving people a chance to snark about student journalists being fans in the press box.
So when I showed up to Dove Valley for Broncos training camp in a coral dress Thursday morning, I didn’t think twice about my wardrobe choice.
After getting my credential and finding a place to stash my stuff in the media workroom, I ventured out on to the field to check out the thousands of fans waiting for practice to start.
I wandered around, got my bearings, got yelled at for being in a restricted area of the field, and finally found a familiar face — Gazette photographer Jerilee Bennett.
I walked up to her and said hi. At first she looked confused, but after a beat, her face cleared and she registered that she knew me.
Jerilee and I have worked together on a few assignments and know each other well enough that I thought she knew who I was.
It turns out facial recognition wasn’t the problem.
“I saw your dress and I thought you were a Broncos intern,” she exclaimed.
It was at that moment my heart dropped into my stomach. I looked down at my dress and up at a team communications cameraman wearing an orange shirt.
I looked back down at my dress and again up at the orange shirt.
Ever notice that coral and orange look a lot alike?
Well, at that moment, I realized that the two colors are, in fact, very similar. In fact, I would have blended right in with the crowd of orange and navy clad fans on the bank beside the field.
I spent the rest of the afternoon trying to stand next to non-orange wearing people so my dress would appear pinker and not an homage to Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos.
In retrospect, nobody else probably realized that I committed a major media faux paus. Nobody asked me for a roster or for player updates. None of the interns or Broncos staff came up to me to give assignments.
But after the mental ordeal of the day, I’ll be wearing black to sporting events from now on.
… Which could prove an issue when the Tar Heels debut their all black uniforms in October, but to employ another sports writer faux paus with a cliché, that’s a bridge I’ll have to cross when I get to it.