The Purple and Green
Posted: Tue June 29,
Frank Deford is working his third Wimbledon as a commentator and essayist for HBO Sports. Check out HBO's Wimbledon coverage from noon-5 p.m. ET, with a highlights show each night at 7 p.m. ET.
So many things instantly make us think of Wimbledonstrawberries and cream ... grass ... Centre Court ... the royal box. But more than anything else, one thing is most distinctly Wimbledon: its colors. Purple and green.
Probably, in sportsin anythingthe Wimbledon colors are the most unique in all the world. Purple and green. Oh, a few sports teams have unusual colors. The Cleveland Browns, past and future, are brown and orange. The great Italian soccer team Juventus wears black and white stripes, like prisoners. And there are teams with purple, like the Lakers and Vikings, and teams with green, like the Celtics and Athletics, but nobody besides Wimbledon is purple and green, together.
It has been that way since 1909, when the colors of the All-England club were yellow, red, blue and green. These were the same colors as the Royal Marines, so they decided to change.
And they picked purple and green. Some people think it is mauve and green. Mauve, like plum, eggplant, violet and lavender, is a shade of purple. But it is not mauve and green.
It is purple and green. And you know, nobody knows why the club chose purple and green back in 1909. Some say, purple for royal, green for grass, but nobody really knows.
But then, it doesn't matter anymore. What purple and green stand for, in all the world, is Wimbledon.