A disturbing trend is sweeping America, with innocent people minding their own business being needlessly harassed and persecuted for no reason other than their appearance. I’m of course talking about grown men wearing sports jerseys.
Yes, I am a grown adult. Well, sort of. And yes, I do realize from a base level, the seemingly odd practice that is wearing another man’s name on my back proudly for the world to see. Trust me, I get it. But what you self righteous fucks don’t get is what that jersey actually represents: my love of sports.
You know, the activities you didn’t get picked for during gym class? The games your poor father tried to push you into playing, but your lack of coordination and “sports asthma” derailed. The reason the kids who fucked all the girls you jerked off to, but claimed were “shallow bitches” as they laughed off your Homecoming invitation, scored both on the field and off: sports. While I realize not everyone likes football, I don’t go around bashing your “eat local” tee shirts and whatever shitty band you worship (though, if I’m being honest, we probably couldn’t be friends). I don’t publicly mock your hippy hair and lack of general cleanliness, nor do I question how it’s possible you earn an income looking like an extra from a Fall Out Boy music video.
Yet, for some reason, this weekend, as I attempted to enjoy my 48 hours out of the office, escaping my shirt and tie and everyday stresses, these fuckers just couldn’t let me be happy. As I noted, I’m in the midst of a college football tour around the country, and, excuse me for my excitement over such a venture, wore my Deion Sanders Falcons jersey on the plane to Tallahassee. Deion Sanders is quite possibly the greatest cornerback in the history of football, an electric punt and kick returner, and still considered one of, if not the fastest player ever to don a Seminoles uniform. I had assumed honoring a Florida State hero in the heart of Seminole country would be revered by the locals. Plus, I’m all about comfort on the plane, so four mini bottles of Crown and a jersey suits my travel plans.
So I’m sufficiently inebriated with my boys when the Uber pulls up and we’re ready to go to the hotel. I get in this fucking Hyundai and can tell the long-haired, emaciated driver is going to be a problem. First of all, he’s got an “I’m With Her” sticker on the dashboard, which already has all of us annoyed (though, in fairness, if you talk to anybody working in finance, she’s actually the lesser of two evils). We’re driving for a bit and all is fine, until I notice him checking me out in the rearview mirror. I’m not sure what is happening, and try to avoid what I assume are his unwanted intentions, when he abruptly blurts out:
I realize he’s talking to me.
“What team is that”?
“The Atlanta Falcons.”
He nods. “Big Falcons fan then?”
I don’t really want to play 21 questions with the gender bending Uber driver, so I respond tersely.
“Nope, not really.”
He nods again. “So you just know him or something?”
I look at my giggling friends perplexed.
“Do I know Deion Sanders? No.”
The kid is now laughing in this smug manner that no person in his position should.
“I’m sorry; is something funny?”
I’m a bit annoyed, but more just drunk.
“I don’t know, bro, I guess I just don’t get wearing some random dude’s name on me. Whatever floats your boat.”
My college roommate looks at me knowing something unforgivably grotesque is about to come out of my mouth, to which he is correct. That’s the sort of thing you learn living with me for two years.
“Oh, you don’t? Why’s that?”
“I don’t know, it’s whatever. It’s a cool jersey, I guess. Like, I don’t wear logos. I’m not out here to be an advertisement, and I wouldn’t want to advertise another guy on my back.”
I’m the Old Faithful of needlessly over the top reactions, especially when you add alcoholic fuel to my fire.
“You don’t wear logos because Goodwill doesn’t put them on clothing, you far left fuck.”
And we returned to general silence.
But this is not my first experience with such asshattery. I wore jerseys regularly to tailgates, jersey themed parties, the gym, pickup games, etc. I’ve got a collection of throwback NBA originals, football players from eras and teams I admire, and of course my own fandom. No, I don’t wear them out to the bar, work events, on dates, or really anywhere outside of a completely casual and/or gym setting. Yet, this is just one instance of the classic “another man’s name on your back” persecution all of us jersey wearers at some point endure.
I love sports, and sports require uniforms. Sports are an American institution, as is the undying fandom that perpetuates their existence. I grew up watching games, bonded with my dad while learning to throw a ball, and still feel the rush of walking through the gates of the stadium, even as a spectator.
You can keep wearing your Panic! At the Disco hoodies if you want; just let me have my Patrick Ewing jersey, you judgmental fucks..