For the fan in enemy territory

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Urban Sports Apparel: Fashion or Sacrilege?

There is a trend in the the world of sports apparel that has been well on display for a few years now and has gone relatively unnoticed and unchecked. I don't know who started it. I don't know when it started. I just wish it would stop. I am referring to fashionable sports apparel.

You know the ones. Some call it "urban apparel" while others call it "street gear". It's the hats, jerseys, coats, shoes, etc with the logo of your favorite sports team but not their real colors. It is a gross misrepresentation of the team. These teams have their colors and logos for a reason.

There are people who have contributed countless hours of invested thought and energy into creating something that would be pleasing to the eyes of the fan base they are appealing to. For example, the New York Mets colors are orange and blue. They have those colors for a reason.

No one wrote the names of a bunch of colors on tiny pieces of paper and threw them into a hat for Mets executives to draw from. The blue is to remember the heritage of the Brooklyn Dodgers and the orange was to remember the history of the New York Giants (baseball team). Both teams moved to the West Coast (L.A. and S.F.) and the new club, the Mets, had the unenviable duty of replacing them.

What does it say to the history of the team when a fan sports a brown Mets hat with a white logo? Does it say they are proud to be a Mets fan? Not nearly. It says they have matched their clothes well. The hat becomes an accessory, not a statement. Fans wear their apparel to show support for their team, not to color coordinate.

Imagine if the New York Rangers fans wore jerseys that were orange without any blue but it had the Rangers logo on it. Would that still be a Rangers jersey? It seems to me it would look more like the jersey of their hated rival, the Philadelphia Flyers.

This begs the question: when is it too far? New York Knicks hats in Celtic green? New York Giants sneakers in Cowboys silver? At some point there has to be a distinction between the colors. We subconsciously incorporate the logo and the color as a collective concept.

The mixing and matching of colors and logos disrupts the psyche of the fan. If an Philadelphia Eagles fan wears a Redskins-colored, red hat with the Eagles logo on it, are they showing their support for Philly or Washington?

In the end, I understand the concept behind it. I'm not ripping anyone for wanting to be an individual. However, there is a fine line between standing out and forsaking the history and image of your favorite team. If you're like me, a deeply passionate and knowledgeable sports fan, than compromising that logo with colors other than that of your team is not an option.

This tells us who the real, die-hard fans are and who the fair-weather fans are. If a fan claims to belong to a certain fan base and sports colors that are very different, it can be deemed as sacrilegious and therefore, blasphemy.  Most fans would agree that perception is a bit overboard, but I have to disagree.

I have heard the word "passion" thrown around a lot lately. Fans rip other fans because "they are passionate". Fans rip into their own teams because of their "passion".

If this same thinking says they care about their teams so much that they are emotionally invested in them, than they need to publicly display that investment by showing the correct colors and logos that apply to the team that they are so invested in.

Otherwise, it's just talk and they are the type of fan that uses "passion" as an excuse to act unintelligent and rude. That facade may be even more blasphemous.