If ever you had a hankering for red face masks (the football helmet kind), there was a rack full of them around the 25-yard line.
If a plastic storage bin full of moisture-wicking socks was your thing, it was somewhere around midfield on a table next to a box of padded compression undershorts and used stirrups. Just a few feet away was a pile of silver football-looking jerseys with no numbers, and next to that a table of soccer jerseys almost small enough to fit a budding teenager.
If you were looking for a pair of Nike cleats, or maybe a pair of men’s basketball shorts so big that you could fit in a beer belly and a throw pillow or two, they were on a table at the 35-yard line, the one stacked with enough cherry and silver satin shorts that you could outfit a whole slew of generously proportioned teams.
Welcome to the state’s largest indoor garage sale, a one-time merchandising purge of mostly used (and sometimes weirdly faded) athletic apparel once worn by student-athletes at the University of New Mexico.
Originally scheduled to take place inside the football stadium, it was thankfully moved inside UNM’s indoor practice facility to avoid Saturday morning’s heat. Rows of foldout tables were piled high with outdated items ranging from letterman jackets to pants from football and softball.
Among the items on the ground were random golf clubs, batting gloves, baseball and softball helmets, windbreakers and just about anything else you could think of. If you got there early enough, there were old uniform combinations, some familiar from football and hoops, others from lesser-known sports with gear that was waiting to catch someone’s eye like an old lampshade at an estate sale.
The only thing Saturday’s event didn’t have was a weighted cardboard box sitting on the corner of University Boulevard and Avenida Cesar Chavez advertising a yard sale. The event was organized by Jacquelyn May, UNM’s equipment room manager and guru of all things Lobo gear and, apparently, someone who got tired of climbing over boxes of unused stuff in her storage area inside the Tow Diehm Facility.
Can’t blame her one bit for pulling the ejection handle on all this stuff. Her collection of old shoes was enough to make a Big 5 salesman convulse. Stacked waist-high for about a 20-yard span near midfield was pile upon pile of orange Nike boxes filled with athletic shoes of all types.
The cleats were a huge hit. Starting as low as $15, they were outdone only by the discarded basketball gear that practically flew out of the building at $20 per item. The doors opened at 10 a.m., and by time it ended three hours later, hundreds of Lobo-loving fans went home with a stash that would make any Division I athlete jealous.
Even UNM big shots like athletic director Eddie Nuñez and football coach Danny Gonzales made appearances, rubbing elbows with fans whose only gripe was the gargantuan line at the checkout stand.
Think you have it rough at the grocery store? With just two cashiers taking cashless transactions near the only exit at the northwest corner of the building, the line extended the length of the end zone, all 120 yards of the field along the far wall, plus the sideline to sideline span of the opposite end zone.
Picture being in the slow lane in the grocery store at Christmas, stuck behind dozens of shoppers with full carts, each paying with coupons — and a brand-new clerk asking for price checks on every other item.
But, hey, at least the reward was worth it. Provided you had the arm space (shopping bags weren’t supplied) you could’ve headed home with enough cherry and silver merch to look like one of the players.