There are three defining moments in my life:
My first time playing Mortal Kombat ("Get over herrrrre!")
Watching the birth of my son
Discovering the Bill Cosby Sweater Tournament
I’ll admit that I’ve greatly exaggerated the importance of video games in my life, but it’s hard to overstate the awesomeness of a winner-take-all competition that combines 80's pop culture, knitwear, and sporting events.
Before you rush over to Billcosby.com to cast your votes for round one, you should be clear on how the tournament works. It’s all about the matchups. It doesn’t matter if three of his cashmere sweaters are better than all of the argyles (ugggh… argyle). In the end, there can be only be one cashmere bracket winner! And that cashmere sweater may go on to be crushed by the winner of the cardigans bracket in the semifinals. Remain focused on the head-to-head matchups and allow yourself to be surprised as the tournament unfolds.
Another thing that may sway your voting is the hilarious range of faces Bill Cosby makes in the pictures. As any good coach will tell you, “Keep your eye on the ball.” For example, when viewing the third picture on the left side of the bracket, the stunned looked in Cosby’s eyes will grab your attention, but don’t let him distract you from the sartorial excellence of the track team running across his sweater. It’s the fashion, not the funny, that’s going to beat the competing sweater.
A warning to the fashionistas: The titles of the four brackets aren’t accurate. Argyles, cardigans, cashmeres, and pullovers can’t begin define these boundary-pushing garments. The spirit of the competition is what’s important here.
Cosby’s sweaters are iconic for their design, nostalgia, and because he routinely promoted historically black colleges and universities ( see No. 7) with them. When Cosby wore a Grambling or Howard sweatshirt on his hugely popular show, it communicated to the audience that this perfect family was associated with these small black private schools. These small gestures gave a nod to Samuel Jackson at Morehouse and Oprah at Tennessee State University. As subtle as it seems, it was powerful imagery for an underserved community in addition to being an informational tidbit about these lesser known academic institutions.
There are a ton of reasons to be excited about the Cosby Sweater Tournament so don’t miss out. The first round ends tomorrow, but you still have ample time to scout the talent. In my opinion, the pullovers bracket is the strongest overall pool from an artistic standpoint, but it’s unlikely that any one of them could withstand the singular power of the Aztec themed sweater in the Cardigans bracket. Figure out the possible matchups and prove yourself to be the most fashionable sporting man on your news feed.
For more conversations like this, be sure to watch Raising America every week day at 12 p.m. ET on HLN. And be sure to tweet @ KyraHLN with the # RaisingAmerica hashtag or leave your thoughts on Facebook.com.