2008 came and went and it was time for me to usher in the New Year with a traditional hangover and an all-too-early wake up call. You’d think I’d have the common sense to either not push the limit of New Years Eve festivities or not plan to attend the first New Year’s Day bowl game – with an 11:00 AM kickoff, no less – but I think you will soon come to find that I am not necessarily a sensible person.
That position, however, does not hold true when it comes to fashion sense at sporting games. As an avid sports fan, I’ve attended my fair share of sporting events and have seen my vision go blurry from watching countless hours of sports on Saturdays and Sundays ….. and Mondays and the occasional Thursday night. I have also made my fair share of comments regarding fans and what I deem an obvious violation of fan attire etiquette.
Although women have, since the beginning of time, cornered the market on fashion sensibility, I maintain that men have carved out a nice little niche when it comes to defining what is acceptable sports fan attire and what is the equivalent of a fashion personal foul. So it absolutely blows my mind that I find the overwhelming and vast majority of offenders to the sports dress code to be guys.
For those of you scratching your head right now and wondering why you should continue reading, let me present to you an overview of the universal sports dress code.
The fundamental foundation for wearing team colors to a sporting event is you must wear colors for one of the two teams playing in that game. If you’re going to a Cubs-Cardinals game, wear either Cubs or Cardinals gear. That’s it, plain and simple. Just because you’re going to a baseball game does not mean you get to wear your San Diego Padres throwback jersey, unless of course you’re actually going to see the San Diego Padres.
There are varying degrees to which you can violate this rule, and these degrees are analogous to penalties in football. A 5 yard penalty is not as offensive as a 10 yard penalty and so on.
The following faux pas are still in violation of the code, but in the grand scheme of things not that big a deal:
• Wearing colors of another team within the same sport. An example is the guy who wears his New England Patriots jersey to a Jets-Dolphins game. He’s not there to support either of the two teams playing, but rather to boast the dynastic superiority his team has had over the two others in the last decade. This is also tolerated when you’re attending a game in person but will be attending a viewing party for your team later (as is usually the case with New Years Day bowls, etc.)
• Wearing a non-active player jersey. This is when someone gets the team colors correct, but doesn’t realize the player whose jersey he’s wearing hasn’t played for that team in 5 years. This leads to a subset of the fundamental rule that dictates once a player from your team either retires or is traded, you can no longer wear that player’s jersey in public. Bite the bullet and go get a new one. Official throwback jerseys do create a bit of a grey area, but the simple rule of thumb is if you cheered for a player as a grown adult, then it’s NOT a throwback jersey.
There are, however, more egregious violations of the code.
• Wearing colors for a team from a different sport. It’s wholly unacceptable to go to a New York Rangers game wearing a Yankees hat. Leave it at home or get a new hat. This rule also includes going to a college event with colors for the local pro team. You can’t go watch the Temple Owls play hoops while sporting your Sixers gear.
• Wearing colors for a team from a different city altogether. Derived from the rule above, this is specific to the moron that wears a Minnesota Vikings jersey to a Duke basketball game or the guy who wears his FSU apparel to go watch the Braves.
The possible scenarios by which the sports dress code can be violated are virtually limitless, as is proved on an almost daily basis at venues all across our country. I think it’s every sports dude’s responsibility to keep his buddies in check so as to not get flagged for wearing the wrong threads. As for me, I need to go make room in my closet for my new Chad Pennington jersey …. right next to the Dan Marino, Jason Taylor and Zach Thomas jerseys I can no longer wear.