Sporting Colours

Sporting colours, more often known merely as colours or house-colours, are awarded to members of a university or school who have excelled in a sport. Colours are traditionally worn in or on scarves, ties, blazers, gowns, cuff-links, and other items of apparel. The award system gives rise to phrases such as an Oxford Blue, meaning a person who was awarded a Blue by the University of Oxford.

In some award schemes, it is possible to receive a half colour, such as a Half-Blue. Typically, a given institution will award a single colour; for example, Cambridge and Oxford awards are different shades of blue, and the University of London awards a Purple.

American universities tend to award a varsity letter rather than a colour.

The system is common in the majority of British independent schools and old schools of Australia and Sri Lanka. Often blazers are given to denote pupils who have achieved in a sport. The blazers are often distinct from the standard school blazer though often colours simply take the form of embellished arms or braided cord or ribbon edging on the standard blazer. Ties are also used as a common way of displaying representative colours.

  • Oxford University, Oxford University Rifle Club Half Blue blazer and tie.

  • Cambridge University Half Blue blazer and bow tie.

  • An example of a blazer pocket from Carey Baptist Grammar School with school colours in umpiring and musical theatre, as well as house colours and music insignia. Pockets are a common method of displaying awards.

Famous quotes containing the words colours and/or sporting:

    My faith is the grand drama of my life. I’m a believer, so I sing words of God to those who have no faith. I give bird songs to those who dwell in cities and have never heard them, make rhythms for those who know only military marches or jazz, and paint colours for those who see none.
    Olivier Messiaen (1908–1992)

    The Boston papers had never told me that there were seals in the harbor. I had always associated these with the Esquimaux and other outlandish people. Yet from the parlor windows all along the coast you may see families of them sporting on the flats. They were as strange to me as the merman would be. Ladies who never walk in the woods, sail over the sea. To go to sea! Why, it is to have the experience of Noah,—to realize the deluge. Every vessel is an ark.
    Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862)