Who wears short jorts? The St. Thomas men’s tennis team wears short jorts, and the players are embracing the fashion trend that many thought went out of style decades ago.
Jorts are denim shorts cut from a pair of jeans, and junior Brendan O’Connell was the first on the team to sport a pair.
“The real idea came up when I went to Poland with some friends and we were just talking about when we were younger, and I asked if anyone ever wore jorts,” O’Connell said. “A lot of us did. So, we decided we should wear them at St. Thomas as a joke.”
Not everyone on the team was enthusiastic about pulling on a pair of jorts, but on the tennis team’s spring break trip to Hilton Head, S.C., more jeans were cut and more players were on board with the movement.
“It’s one of those things where we all thought O’Connell was crazy. We were like ‘Jorts? Who wears jorts?’ But it kind of caught on like the domino effect and pretty soon everybody on the team had hand-crafted their own pair,” senior Peter Wright said.
Junior women’s tennis player Kirsten Haukoos said she’s responsible for cutting O’Connell’s first pair of jorts.
“I cut it to mid-thigh, and then they kept getting shorter and shorter. Brendan has gone through two or three pairs,” Haukoos said.
Freshman tennis player Brittany Alexander was also present during the first jort cutting in mid-February and said she got a kick out of it.
“Words can’t describe how funny it was. Everyone laughed so hard until there was no sound coming out because it was so funny to watch them cut these pants,” Alexander said.
Wearing jorts may have started as a joke, but Wright said it has brought the team closer.
“It’s a nice way to take the seriousness away for a minute because you start stressing out and start putting too much pressure on yourself to win, and that is when we start talking about jorts,” Wright said. “It helps us relax.”
Wright said that wearing jorts also helps his game too.
“I was stretching out for a forehand once and the range of motion that the jorts provided was surprising,” Wright said. “I felt like it gave me that extra oomph that I needed to get the ball back over the net. It kind of added a dimension to my game.”
Wright said the men usually just wear their jorts to parties and practice every once in awhile, but on their spring break trip, they modeled their denim shorts on the tennis courts when they played mixed doubles with the women’s team.
O’Connell said they definitely received some looks.
“It was pretty funny to see people looking at us like, ‘What is wrong with these kids?’” O’Connell said.
Wright said that he thinks some of the looks were out of jealousy.
“There was this old guy watching us, and we’re pretty sure he was jealous of us and our jorts. He wanted to go put his pair of jorts on that he had hiding in his closet,” Wright said. “I think a lot of people in the back of their minds are really wondering what it is like to wear jorts.”
For junior Tameka Williams, she thinks this is a style that needs to be brought back.
“It seems like a trend that should stay in the past, but I think it’s cool that they’re all confident about it,” Williams said. “It shows that they maybe don’t care what people think.”
Terry Peck, the men’s and women’s tennis coach, said he sees the humor in the jorts.
“I guess on the positive note, it’s a real cheap fashion statement. It’s not costing them any money,” Peck said. “Other than that, I’m not going grocery shopping with any of them.”
Sophomore Abby Becker also gives the guys credit for having the confidence to wear their jorts.
“It’s kind of cool that they are doing this and not caring what others think. I respect that,” Becker said.
Wright said knowing that some students respect their fashion statement might give them the motivation to wear their creations around campus.
“Considering I’m a senior and I have three weeks of school left, I would not be surprised to say I might wear a pair of jorts on a nice day in the Lower Quad,” Wright said. “That’s definitely fair game I say.”
Olivia Detweiler can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.