This is Claire; in 2018 she was an education major and a member of the Nova Southeastern University women’s basketball team. When asked what the best thing about being a college athlete was she said, she enjoyed being part of a team and the camaraderie that goes along with it. When asked what the worst thing about it was she said, playing in an empty arena. Women’s basketball on a national level has trouble drawing a large crowd.
We tried many things to increase awareness of the women’s team and get people to come to the games. That turned out to be very difficult to do. One of the things we tried was to have the other education majors sign a pair of socks that Claire could wear during a game. What at first seemed a little bizarre to other students very quickly caught on and became a “think,” to sign Claire’s socks.
Each person that signed also did a quick good luck in the upcoming game, video for her. Claire received her signed socks on the team bus on the way to a game. She also received a note that had the link to a YouTube video of all the people saying good luck to her and showing her where they signed her socks.
On the bus, Claire’s teammates saw the socks and watched the video and as you might imagine, they wanted signed socks too! Then parents, grandparents, and administrators heard about sock signing and wanted in on the action. But unlike Claire’s classmates, they assumed there was money involved and asked how much it cost to sign the socks, and this is where the light bulb went off. If they expect to pay to sign socks, they will surely do it if they knew the money was going to a good cause. Here we knew it could be a fundraiser but how do we turn it into one?
Once we had the feel for how much fun it was for everyone involved to participate in sock signing, we chose to contact the Joe DiMaggio children’s hospital and ask if we could have the kids in treatment sign socks for our players. Truth be told, they didn’t quite “get it” when we explained it to them the first time. But if it was for the kids and it had to do with writing on clothes, they were willing to give it a try. As it turned out, the kids loved it, the kids parents loved it, the hospital administrators loved it and best of all the players LOVED it the most!
So we know it works, it’s fun and serves a purpose. We believe that if presented correctly, all three apparel companies, Nike, Adidas, and Under Armor would agree to participate in some fashion. We know people will pay to participate in this. We also know that if we told high school students that this is what was being done at the college level, they too would start sock signing campaigns.
Claire’s First Sock Video
Grandparents Wishing their player good luck
Claire and Jordan thanking Children’s Hospital kids after a game.