Saturday, February 13, 2016

42. Sports Jerseys aren't worth it

Sports jerseys are the single worst article of clothing you can buy as an adult. That's doubly true for jerseys with a player's name on the back. Fellow adults, please think twice when you decide to purchase a $115 jersey with someone obscenely rich athlete’s name on the back.

Here are the situations I can tolerate an adult wearing a jersey:

Sporting events - I get it. It’s a way to celebrate your team. I own a Twins jersey (with no name on the back) that I occasionally wear to games. It’s my only piece of Twins memorabilia outside of my hat, so I let it slide. It makes you feel like you’re part of something bigger. (Actually, I think owners could care less if your warm body feels like it’s “part of something” they just want your money to be part of their something.)

Watch/House parties for sporting events - It’s basically the same principle. You’re out supporting the team with your buds.

High school/College sporting events - I’m totally cool with people gearing up for high school or college games. Fans there are more likely to have a personal connection to those sorts of organizations.

“Spirit Days” - I’ve seen lots of “purple Fridays” from companies located downtown. Ok, fine do what you want, but I don’t know if I want my workplace to turn into a pep rally for a team worth a few billion dollars.

Those are it. If you wear your jersey to the grocery store, I will judge you. If you wear it to church, I will look at you with a Cris Carter “C’mon Man!” face. If you dress up in full Purple People Eater regalia in the middle of June, I will judge you.

Why do I feel this way? In the wake of what seems to be constant scandals among players, it just doesn’t seem worth it to invest projecting fandom of a single player. Peyton Manning seemed to be the last guy who would be tainted by scandal, but NOPE. Yeah, there are some really good players who are worth emulating, but how can you really know?

I say this as I’m wearing a Tim Wakefield Boston Red Sox shirsy (shirt-jersey). For the record, I like Wakefield. He was a knuckleball pitcher who worked hard at his craft. I liked him in the movie Knuckleball. But also, this shirt is comfortable, and I bought it for five dollars. So I’m ok with wearing it. (It’s also my only Red Sox shirt.) If he turns out to be a serial killer, I will stop wearing the shirt.

On Halloween, I saw a kid wearing a Minnesota Vikings jersey with the number 42 on it. That was the number of former Viking, and convicted serial rapist, Darren Sharper. Sure enough, his jersey had Sharper on the back. I threw a look to the mom, who was standing at the end of the driveway, and wondered if she knew who her son was emulating.

We don’t have jerseys to emulate the real heroes in our lives, so why wear ones of those whose narratives could come crashing down at any moment?

P.S. - Jack, since I know you’ll be reading this, you can keep wearing your Sanchez jersey. I won’t judge you for it.