This morning I had to head in to downtown Chapel Hill and pay a visit to Franklin Street to run a quick errand. As I walked up the block I noticed in the window of my favorite Tar Heel sports apparel store a sign recognizing today as National College Colors Day. Across the U.S., alumni, fans, and students alike take to the streets on the first Friday of the collegiate school year proudly donning the colors of their respective colleges and universities. It’s a fun tradition and it’s special to me because it’s a holiday (of sorts) that coincides with the beginning of football season. What better way to get ready for Saturday gridiron action than to gather in numbers sporting your team’s colors a day in advance of kickoff?
I take a lot of proud in my affiliation with the University of North Carolina. I wear my Carolina blue proudly and not just on national designated holidays or game days. Carolina is a part of who I am. And Chapel Hill is my home. No matter how old I get, I can assure you that I will always have a drawer littered full of Tar Heel apparel to wear. And I won’t save it for special occasions. Putting on my team colors is as natural for me as reaching for my underwear and socks in the morning. I’m not a Tar Heel part time…it’s who I am day in and day out. I’ve bled blue since childhood when I had the opportunity to take my first drink from the Old Well. You won’t need to know me personally to understand the passion that I have for my university as you’ll most certainly be able to recognize it from afar.
UNC has served as a major contributor to the development of the qualities that make me who I am. But Carolina blue is not the only color that I wear proudly. My affiliation to my university is something very special to me, but the character that I embody as an individual is what really carries the most weight in my life. When you see me on the street, I intend to display for you an accurate representation of the person it is that I have become. I want you to see my true colors. I am a man who is flawed. I’m a person who has failed far more times than he has won. But I’m also a fighter. I’m a dreamer. And more than anything else, I’m a believer. So when you look at me, try to see beyond my day’s chosen attire (be it Carolina blue or something different) to witness the true colors that I have to offer you. I wear those colors every day, and they are what truly make me unique.
In life we often spend so much time residing in fear of judgment and criticism that we never allow ourselves to feel comfortable displaying who we are to the masses. We wait for the perfect, non-threatening opportunity to appear and invite us to securely share the traits that make us the distinct human beings that we’ve become. Not surprisingly however, that opportunity almost never presents itself. And as a result the world never gets to see our true colors. No one is going to designate a holiday to celebrate our own individualities. And even if they did, how could we possibly be satisfied with celebrating the uniqueness that we cherish within ourselves just one lonesome day out of the entire year? That’s not enough for me. I want to celebrate who I am every day of my life.
Don’t wait for a special invitation to wear your colors. Display them proudly for the world to see no matter the occasion. If you bleed blue like I do, bleed it all year long. You don’t need an army of like-minded individuals to give you the blessing to embrace what it is that you’ve become. Society can’t possibly broaden its color palette until you offer your unique flavor to the rainbow of life.
May God Bless