Monday, September 26

Damnit, Rick Reilly

I'm actually kind of a busy guy, and I really don't have time to execute a thorough trashing of Rick Reilly's article about jersey fashion.

But I read it. And I have to do this. Sigh.

The three fastest-growing diseases in America today are diabetes, Lyme disease, and sports jerseys.
I think the manatees from that one South Park lampooning Family Guy write a lot of Reilly's material.

Wearing a jersey used to be for kids. You be Tom Brady and I'll be Darrelle Revis. Now people with actual jobs are wearing them. At 6, it's adorable. At 36, deplorable.
How would the Brady/Revis game work? Does the Brady kid throw to the opposite side of the field as the Revis kid all day?

You can't swing your arms at an NFL game without hitting somebody in one. (A very good idea, by the way.)

You say it's your way of expressing devotion to your team? I say try a hat. It doesn't make you look like an adult Trick-or-Treater.
Hats and jerseys: not mutually exclusive. Why so curmudgeonly?

What's your jersey dream? Someone shrieking, "Oh, my God! There's Brian Urlacher! Oh, wait. No, no. It's just Justin from purchasing."?
I don't have a "jersey dream." I just want to sport the team's colors on Sunday and the jersey looks cool

Women in jerseys? Fine. But dude, you're really going out with another man's name on your back? Do you have no male pride?
Easy, guy.

But like gluten-free beer, the jersey flood seems un-damn-able. But can we at least have some rules?
Gluten-free beer looks "un-damn-able"? I had literally never heard of it until just now. And this "dam" pun doesn't work. At all. Let's get to his ridiculous rules.

Jersey Rule No. 1: You may not wear a jersey past age 29.
a) You are immediately related to the person whose name is on the back.
b) You are the person whose name is on the back. (Team photo required.)

One question: why? Why these arbitrary, hyper-specific rules? Why should a reasonably fit, youthful-looking 31-year-old not sport a jersey? What is the downside here? What's your deal? I'll grant you that as one ages, one should transition out of the jersey, but 29 is a capriciously nonsensical hard cap. He obviously wanted a round number and 40 was too high a threshold, so here we are.

Jersey Rule No. 2: You may not wear a jersey without a shirt underneath it, especially NBA jerseys. We do not want to see your rash. Or your spare tire. Or your nipples. My God, people.
This honestly doesn't happen that often. Plus, it only applies to replicas - authentics are solid enough that it's not a concern. Doubt Reilly knows this distinction.

Jersey Rule No. 3: You may not wear a jersey if somebody else in your group is already wearing one.
There is absolutely zero logic in this. You're saying that, when 100+ Pittsburgh Browns Backers gathered each week to support the club, that only one of us could have on a jersey? Reilly makes these rules with absolutely no reasoning or thought put into them. They seem mostly a framework to set up his embarrassing laugh lines.

This is also known as The Fedora Rule. No two guys in any group can be wearing a fedora. The second man's fedora must be trashed, crushed or sold. You never saw Sinatra and Dean Martin wearing one, right?
Um...I guess no, I didn't. I don't see why anyone in my group would wear a fedora.

Jersey Rule No. 4:
You may not, under any circumstances, wear a jersey AND a hat. Who are you, Tony Romo?

Under any circumstances? Not even, I don't know, sun? There's something amazingly daft about making such absolute, hard-line rules about something based on such flimsy opinions. Plus, I wear a jersey and hat and it looks just fine - so do a lot of people. And the Romo reference is pointless because pretty much every NFL QB wears a baseball hat on the sideline; Romo is famous only for wearing his backwards. Can't you put any effort into this?

Jersey Rule No. 5: You may not wear a jersey with your own name on it if you didn't wear it on a real team once. Please. Are you expecting Bill Belichick to look up in the stands and go, "Flanagan! Get in there at tailback!"?
Again, hilarious joke.

But consider my Ron Francis #10 jersey shirt. Is that permissible under Reilly's set of half-baked guidelines? Unclear on two fronts, as he's left jerts totally unaddressed, and not even considered the possibility of duplicate last names. Are kids named "McCoy" barred from sporting the #12 on gameday? Can the Rubin brothers of Mistake by the Lake Sporting Times not wear #71? Man, think these things through, because your laugh lines aren't funny.

Jersey Rule No. 6: You may not wear a jersey of a player who has been gone from your team for more than a year, unless that player is in the Hall of Fame or will be soon. I saw a guy Monday night at the New York Giants game wearing an Amani Toomer jersey. I believe Toomer is managing a Round Table pizza in Parsippany now. Buy another damn jersey, cheapskate.
Another total lack of thought. Hall of Fame is way too strict of a criterion. Does this mean Browns fans can't put on a Turner, Sipe, Kosar, or Metcalf? It does, and that makes no sense. I will say that Browns fans have a tendency to hang on too long, and often the statement you make is simply reminding fellow fans of a situation that didn't work out (Couch, Edwards, etc.) See, I actually have a logical point here - I oppose jerseys of washouts (unless they're intentionally comical, like a friend's #17 Gardocki I saw the other day) because they serve as reminders of the club's struggles.

Hilarious "Parsippany" joke, though.

Jersey Rule No. 7: If you have a nose tackle body, you must wear a nose tackle's jersey. We do not need to see your 385 pounds busting out of a DeSean Jackson jersey. It's unseamly.
Please, please stop with the puns. Eh, buy whatever jersey you want. None of us has an NFL body - if we applied this across the board we'd all be wearing kicker and punter jerseys.

Jersey Rule No. 8: Absolutely no cutesy wrong-color jerseys. No pink Yankees jerseys. No camouflage Cowboys jerseys. And no new University of Maryland jerseys. They look like an explosion at a Benjamin Moore store.
Only a Sith speaks in absolutes. I personally don't like the pink fashion because I think women look quite good flashing the team's actual colors and the pink is distracting. (Again, I've provided an actual reason). And camo is inherently ugly - I mean, it's a color scheme specifically designed not to be seen.

Jersey Rule No. 9: No wearing NBA shorts with your NBA jersey at any time. Horrible. It makes you look like Red Klotz. (Corollary: Do not wear all-white to watch a tennis match, either. Pathetic.)
Six people got that Red Klotz reference. And I can't remember seeing anyone over 14 do this. We're inventing problems here.

Jersey Rule No. 10: No wearing your jersey anywhere but a) to the stadium or b) home. Nobody at the urologist's office wants to talk about your Ray Lewis jersey.
How about (c) the bar? Seriously, re-read your column one time before publishing it.

I agree that jersey-wearing should be reserved for Gameday, but that's more personal preference than strict edict.

If you still qualify under all these edicts, then you must sign these waivers before donning a jersey:
Oh boy.

Jersey Waiver A: By wearing a jersey, you are waiving your rights to any sexual activity for the evening. No woman in history has ever said, "Oooh, that guy wearing the jersey of another man! That's hot!"
Speaking from experience, but without getting into great detail: this is not the case.

Jersey Waiver B: By wearing a jersey, you are waiving any semblance of coolness.
We're just declaring things by fiat now.

"It's like going to a concert in the T-shirt of the band that's playing that night," says Ari Pillar, 29, who was wearing a simple, cool retro Giants T-shirt Monday night. "It's cooler to wear another band's T-shirt. But wearing a jersey of somebody you're watching? That's way high up the Dork Scale."
This is a side note, but I've never agreed with Pillar's point here. Now, I oppose the wearing of a concert t-shirt that you just bought at the concert that night, because it smacks of poserdom and often creates an unfortunate t-shirt-over-collared-shirt fashion faux pas. But wearing the band's t-shirt? Why is that bad?

Consider this situation. It's the year 2000. I'm 20 years old. I've had a boss-looking NIN t-shirt for a few years, and I wear it to every show I go to. I'm going to see Nine Inch Nails. Why would I not wear this shirt? I think it's cool to show that you've been a fan for a few years. Cannot understand the downside here.

(A note on T-shirts: Enough cussing, especially those West F***in Virginia T-shirts that West Virginia fans are wearing. Your athletic director, Oliver Luck, was right. Show a little class. And Ohio State fans: No "Ann Arbor is a whore" T-shirts either. And, Wisconsin students, we've all seen 1,000 variations on "Huck the Fuskers" already. Try something original.)
Frankly, I agree. It's not necessary to be vulgar or overly negative, and doing so reflects negatively upon your fanbase. I rip on michigan as much as the next guy, but I wouldn't ever want a "fuck michigan" shirt. I prefer a more supportive, positive fandom. (Note that the guy in the photo is at a Penn State tailgate).

My corollary to this is: you shouldn't need an entire sentence to say something funny on a sports t-shirt. If it takes that much time, it has no chance of being funny. Brevity is the heart of wit. And "Got ______?" is never, ever, ever funny.

Jersey Waiver C: By wearing a jersey, you are waiving any contact with the very person you're worshipping.
Easy with the vocab choice, Rick. We're not "worshipping" them. And frankly, I'm just fine if I don't meet Josh Cribbs. I'm not one to get star-struck.

Jersey Waiver D: By wearing a jersey to a road game, you waive your right to a busted-free nose. Wearing a Lakers jersey to a Celtics game is like wearing an Obama T-shirt to a Dick Cheney book signing. Bring gauze.
Such a contrived simile, my goodness. And "a busted-free nose"? Did you even try to rephrase that so it made sense? "Busted" isn't a noun.

I'm begging you and all jerseyites out there: Rent, lease or purchase a life.
My hobby is your profession, friend. I've got a lot more going on than sports, but thanks for the condescending bullshit ending to this mess.

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