Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Once upon a way-back-when, I was asked to make a baby blanket for a newborn whose parents were about the most rabid Raiders fans the world has ever had to bear the weight of knowing. The task was simple enough; I found some licensed NFL fabric, a gray striped baby-friendly cotton for the backing, satin quilt binding in pale gray, threw a layer of quilt batting in the middle and Bob, as the kids say, was somebody’s uncle. Not this kid’s, his uncle was Chet. Or something like Chet. I don’t remember.

And Bob is my cousin, for the record. But I digress.

Flash forward a few years, and one of my favorite fellow Sharks fans was having a baby. Well, his wife was, but he helped. And I thought “Hey, Sharks blanket, nifty!” and was out the door to the fabric store before you could say “babies are non-self-aware creatures who don’t care what they’re wearing or wrapped in”, already picturing my masterpiece in its completed state.

Except. There was no Sharks fabric.

I go to this particular fabric store pretty often, so I knew the lady at the cutting table. In response to my query, she said yes, they’d had some a while back but it sold and they never got any more.

Because, really, why would anyone restock a product that sold?

Flash forward a few more years, and another Sharks fan was having a baby. Same scenario, same disappointing end.

I’ve looked for Sharks fabric on a few other occasions over the years, and always with the same lack of result. Today, I received an email from another fabric store, saying it is not too late for me to make gifts and they have the perfect sports fabric not only available but ON SALE! To say my manner when I opened the email was blasé would be an insult to blasé. My cursory scan of the email’s content and subsequent clicking of the sale link made hipsters look exuberant. Because I already knew what was waiting for me at the other end of that click.

Licensed NFL and MLB fabric. The only licensed sports-related fabric that anyone seems to make.

And I know it isn’t just that I haven’t been looking in the right places. My search has not been limited to fabric stores to whose email lists I happen to subscribe. I have scoured the Internet in vain. The fabric does not exist.

A search for “San Jose Sharks fabric” on eBay brings us this:

Not only is it not fabric, it is not even close to what springs to mind when I put “my shower” and “the San Jose Sharks” together in the same thought. Although I suppose I could get a couple of them and make myself a pretty spectacular cape.

That same search phrase on Google unearthed this little gem:

Which, while just about fantastic enough to make me want to get married tomorrow, is still not fabric. Which begs the question, why?

Why, NHL? Why do you hate helpless infants and seamstresses? Why can’t we have licensed fabric of our very own? We’d make you proud, we’d make really super ultra mega awesome things, you wouldn’t be sorry, we promise.

Just give us a chance.

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