"Hey! Do you want to go to the Oilers game tonight?"
"Sure! Just let me go grab my Packers jersey."
"Yeeeeahhh!! — wait what?"
That's how it starts. And it ends with you or a loved one walking by this fellow at Rexall Place, doing a double-take, and going "Huh?"
Inappropriate jersey selection is a recurring problem in the stands of sports stadiums across the continent. It can cause needless pain and suffering, and it's also the leading cause of divorce in a province that I can't remember the name of right now.
Plus, you know, you could get laughed at. Behind your back probably, but still.
To stop this tragedy before it starts, recognize the signs. Because you may be suffering from inappropriate jersey selection if you are...
Wearing a jersey of a team that's not even playing in the game
So you're headed to a Canucks-Blackhawks game. And you decide to wear your Red Wings jersey, either to stick it to both teams or support the sport in general. But no, neither will happen here. Instead, most people will think you made a wrong turn back in Livonia, or showed up to the arena on the wrong day.
Wearing the jersey of a team that's in a different sport
Because what better way to show your support for the Toronto Maple Leafs than by wearing that sweet Kobe Bryant throwback you ordered online? Oh. Right. By not wearing it.
Wearing a ridiculous personalized jersey
Far be it for me to judge too harshly, but I don't think jerseys with "Dragonmaster," "Chuck Norris," "Your Mom," or the numbers from Lost (they all exist, seriously) really are what the sports forefathers had in mind when they decided to go to the naming policy. Unless those particular documents were buried under a weapons testing facility.
The catalyst for this article. And to answer your questions:
- Yes, that's a guy wearing LeBron's new Miami Heat jersey
- Yes, he's sitting in the stands at a baseball game, and not watching basketball
- Yes, he's in Cleveland
- Yes, he's flashing the Heat logo while police escort him out of the stadium (for protection) while rabid Indian/Cavalier fans foam at the mouth
- Yes, after this photo was taken, hundreds of those same fans followed the guy to the parking lot, prompting police to escort him right to his car
Just don't do that. Never do that. Unless you don't value your fully toothed smile. Or friends.
Special thanks goes to CBCSports.ca senior writers Jesse Campigotto and Kristina Rutherford, and the jersey etiquette conversation we had which spurred the article, along with Yahoo Sports' "Jersey Fouls" blog.