Thursday, April 14, 2011

I Don't Wanna Grow Up

I assume, by now, you've heard the story about the San Francisco Giants fan who was badly beaten after rooting for his favorite team on Opening Day at Dodger Stadium. Terrible. The victim's in a coma. Tragic.

Could you blame violence on sporting events on fans who are idiots? Often, yes. Could you blame it on alcohol? Probably. Could you blame it on fans wearing jerseys? C'mon. Really? That's a stretch.

A few of my jerseys
I linked to that column on twitter yesterday -- basically, the writer tells fans to "grow up" and stop wearing jerseys to games -- and it sparked quite a conversation, 140-characters at a time. "The culture of fandom violence captured on cell phones aired on youtube soon after is crippling fan experience," wrote one person. "It's aggressive people that cause fights, NOT clothing," tweeted another. "I have so much to say about this ridiculous article 140 characters isn't enough!!!" a third chimed in.

Confession: I'm big fan of sports jerseys. I have been since I was a kid. I own a jersey or two a modest collection. And I enjoy wearing them -- whether my favorite team is playing home or away. I've worn a Mets jersey to Mets games in Philly, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, and even Yankee Stadium. I've worn Syracuse gear to Syracuse-UConn games in Connecticut. I've never had a problem.

In his column, the author John Steigerwald asks: "Are the 42-year-olds who find it necessary to wear their replica jerseys to a road game... fathers who haven't grown up?"

Well, isn't that link to childhood one of the things that makes sports great? Aren't sports -- at their best -- an escape? Don't we all feel like kids when we're celebrating a win or, even better, a championship?!

Steigerwald goes on to write: "Here's tip for you if you actually think that wearing your team's jersey makes you a part of the team: It doesn't."

Thanks for the heads-up, John. I've been wondering why I haven't gotten that payroll check from the New York Mets for the last several decades. 
Look, of course there are some places where it is not appropriate for a man approaching 40 to wear a jersey. I'm not judging, but they probably shouldn't be a regular part of the daily wardrobe. I'm not going to wear one to work. I won't put one on when I'm heading to a parent-teacher conference for my daughter or her school play. And it's not proper attire when I'm going out to dinner with my family.
But I'm going keep wearing a soccer jersey when I go for a run, go to a summer picnic and maybe even while doing some errands. I'll wear my Syracuse jersey on Saturdays and Giants jersey on Sundays during football season. And I'm wearing a Mets jersey if I'm going to see them play. Home or away. Heck, I may even wear one while watching the game on TV.
By the way, apparently a lot of people took exception to Steigerwald's column. Here's his response.

Today's title: An anthem by the Ramones

1 comment:

  1. Adult bullying with ties to their childhood? Gives them something to use to make themselves feel better.
    And besides, wearing a Mets jersey won't make them play any better... ;)