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I can remember precisely the first time I saw a customized jersey. I was six years old and in a mall with my mom. In front of me was another kid, around my age, sitting on his dad’s shoulders. He was wearing a blue Oilers jersey with Gretzky embroidered on the back. I couldn’t take my eyes off this kid and his awesome jersey. When I finally snapped out of it, I turned around and my mom was gone. She had gone into a store and thought that I was with her…but I wasn’t. I was hypnotized by this jersey.

I decided to head out to the parking lot and wait for my mom in the car. But I couldn’t find it. I started panicking and frantically looking around at all the cars – none of which were my mom’s. By the time she found me, I was scared and crying and pretty sure I was about to be kidnapped. Come to think of it, it’s a little weird that I don’t have intense emotional reactions to jerseys to this day. But I don’t. Actually, I love them.

My mom got me my first jersey when I was 12 – a white Jets jersey for Christmas. I wanted to put my own name on it but everywhere we went didn’t have the right number fonts. I thought to myself, “If I want this done, I’m going to have to do it myself.”

Mom went to the fabric store to look for something that resembled sewn on number fabric used on jerseys. All she could find was jeans patches. She got red and white so I could make the sleeve numbers. I wish I still had that jersey so I could see how bad a job I did. I’ve come a long way since then – I don’t do a bad job anymore. Who knew all those years ago a seed was planted that would allow me to not only put my name on jerseys – but my name would also be on a jersey company.

I’m Keener. And we are Keener Jerseys.

Hypnotized By My First Jersey
23 Sep 2001: Cal Ripken Jr. #8 of the Baltimore Orioles is congratulated by teammates and coach Terry Crowley after Ripken hit a sacrifice fly to score Chris Richard and give the Orioles a 2-0 fourth inning lead over the New York Yankees at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Maryland.<> Mandatory Credit: Doug Pensinger/ALLSPORT
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