“The 24th of May games [in the late 1800s] were especially festive…the women in summer frocks, the men in flannels,” reads a line from a Trinity College history book. Although students haven’t donned these flannel college sports jackets for decades, a few, like resilient tulips, still manage to pop up at Spring Reunion. “Anyone who could afford the price would buy one,” recalls Rupert Schieder (BA 1938 Trinity, MA 1947, PhD 1954), 85, a former Trinity lad who – some 60 years later – can still fit into his flannel.
This jacket, from the early 1930s, was an important calling card at university dances and sports events, for any young chap wearing one was, no question about it, “a Trinity man.” Another history book states that the colours originated at a football game between Trinity College and Trinity College School in Weston, Ont. To distinguish between the two teams, pieces of red and black ribbon were cut up and pinned on the shirts of the college players. Although few today know the story behind these colours, such a vivid jacket still manages to turn heads – and tradition has nothing to do with it. “It’s fine wearing this around Trinity,” says Schieder, professor emeritus of English, “but getting there from my downtown Toronto apartment . . . well, I am a bit scarlet-faced.”