Friday, February 8, 2013

What is #BOOMTIME?

A few weeks ago, I got an email from team management. It read, “We are finalizing the jersey art for the 2013 season and need your help. Inside the collar of the jerseys we would like to add a saying or some motivational phrase to inspire you each time you put your jersey on. Please send some suggestions on what this text should be.” Those who chose ‘Reply All’ were mainly for laughs like ‘This Side Up’ and ‘Don’t Forget to Floss’. The email about the inspirational collar message was soon lost in my mailbox (and my memory) until a freshly packed kit was tossed my direction in the Bahamas. New kits smell so foreign, so cold, like a doctors office. But its the vibrancy of the colors, not the smell that you focus on. And my eyes immediately zoned in on two words on the collar: BOOM TIME...

If you are a regular Tweeter or Instagramer, you have come in contact with the hashtag. Even if you aren’t, chances are, while watching TV, the hashtag appeared on the lower left corner of the screen with a hashtag and to a word that relates to the show. Watch the SuperBowl? See a #superbowl flash on screen? Perhaps you have even heard someone hashtag a word in a sentence. (To which you should always reply #dontusehashtagsinconversation.)
The point is that the hashtag has rapidly progressed from obscure social websites to primetime television. In fact, the American Dialect Society named ‘hashtag’ word of the year ahead of ‘fiscal cliff’ and ‘YOLO’. For those who still associate them with a key pad, hashtags are used to group posts together. For example, assume you are watching a college basketball game. Perhaps the North Carolina Tarheels versus the NC State Wolfpack and Rodney Purvis starts knocking down buckets from the 3 point line. So many that the Tarheels call a time out to regroup. In a moment of elation, you reach for your phone and quickly tap out a tweet: Heatin up #UNCvNCState. In this case, the hashtag lets your followers know you are specifically talking about the UNC/NC State game as well as allow you to search other tweets that have hashtaged UNCvNCState. All that from 4 lines. Thats efficiency! Which is especially handy when you are limited to 160 characters. 
There is, of course, a fundamental flaw with hashtags: they are quite finicky. #UNCvsNCState is not the same as #UNCvNCState. Which hashtag is the correct one? And how do you know? Often its a guessing game or maybe you just don’t care. But many times, sport teams will designate a hashtag as their own. The Carolina Panthers used #keeppounding, the Falcons used #riseup. And the Hincapie Sportswear Development Team uses #boomtime.
BOOM TIME. Two words. All caps. It’s printed in white on the inside of the red collar on every jersey, jacket, and vest. Its our haka, our St. Crispen’s Day Speech. The team’s easy going mechanic Casey first coined the phrase last year, standing by the trailer in his southern drone. ‘Booooom Time’. Apparently it originated three years ago in Athens, Georgia when Ty and Casey were both on Locos, a local team there. A Locos teammate wanted to bring the phrase back. If that was boom time’s resurrection, this is its resurgence. Look for the #boomtime in tweets, on Facebook, use it yourself, maybe buy a jersey and experience #boomtime yourself. The possibilities are endless and with team camp starting today and first race weekend tomorrow, its time to set your watch to #BOOMTIME.