- The Washington Times - Friday, March 31, 2006

Kermit the Frog said it’s not easy being green, but the George Mason men’s basketball team is having no trouble at all. The team entered the NCAA tournament as a lowly 11 seed but has marched to the Final Four, all the while wearing their dark green road uniforms.

Perhaps not since the Boston Celtics of the 1980s have basketball players clad in green scored this much acclaim and attention.

But can a color help win games? Experts on color and fashion said it certainly doesn’t hurt.

“Green shows faith and belief in one’s self,” said Diantha Harris, a consultant from Eastport, Mich., who specializes in helping people use color to improve their mental states. “This team really came out of nowhere — it took a lot of belief in themselves to get there.”

OK, but you can’t reach a Final Four just on “faith and belief,” can you? Shouldn’t we give some credit to their ability score and defend, to make baskets both near the rim and from 3-point range?

“Green is also the color of balance,” Harris said.

So there you go.

George Mason’s run to the Final Four began in March with a victory over Michigan State, a national powerhouse that also wears green. But in that game, Michigan State wore white. Coincidence? Maybe, but for centuries, green has had a positive associations.

Dark green is associated with money and prestige and is believed to promote concentration. The Irish believe green is a sign of good luck. Ancient Greeks used to wave green flags after winning battles, and the color also is often associated with the Christian holiday of Easter and resurrection. By extension, it’s often tied to new beginnings, second chances and optimism — all concepts George Mason can relate to.

Some studies have shown that the appearance of green in a room or on a piece of clothing generally makes people feel good.

“Green is a very positive color,” said Margaret Walch, director of the Color Association of the United States, which standardizes colors for textile, furnishing and other industries. “It’s the color of youth and growth, and it suggests boundless energy.”

Boundless energy? Well, that comes in handy when playing in the most important basketball game of your life.

Walch said the color green is often used by companies and organizations that seek to portray themselves as less corporate. And George Mason is anything but corporate.

“It’s a perfect fit,” Walch said.

Practioners of Feng Shui, the Chinese philosophy of nature and environment, say green was often used by ancient Chinese rulers to decorate their furniture and is often emblematic of the “growing phase of energy.”

“Color does have a lot of power,” Harris said. “It speaks to us on a subconscious level.”

So does the use of green indicate that George Mason has a chance to win the national championship? Perhaps.

Said Harris: “It’s the color, really, almost of hope and that anything is possible.”

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