The Shirt off my Back

Warning: there’s an angry old man at the typewriter today.

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Now, my story begins in 19-dickety-two. We had to say “dickety” cause that Kaiser had stolen our word “twenty”. I chased that rascal to get it back, but gave up after dickety-six miles…

Let’s talk about “jersey fouls.”

I’m not sure who invented this idea, be it some sports merchandising/marketing demagogue, or be it the simple human tendency to march into the arena of war/sport under one selected banner of names, but I am sure of one thing: it pisses me off.

I could go off on the Bills here for changing jerseys last season before this year’s league-wide switch to Nike, prompting fans to buy a new jersey two years in a row – or the Dolphins planning to switch designs next year, which is even more of a dick move, but for the sake of brevity, I’m going to stick to just one sport, and I’m choosing hockey, dammit, because I am already raging enough over the Bills’ decision to slap their fans in their frost-bitten faces by sticking with blackouts.

The best run-on sentence is an angry one. Moving on.

Brad Riter had a good piece on Trending Buffalo a little while back covering his search for some new Bills threads. I loved his angle of being an older guy looking for a way not to appear awkward with the name of some 20-something’s name plastered across your back, but for me, that search is more than awkward.

The whole jersey phenomenon has gotten strange enough and more than a little slightly cultish – but more on that later. First, I’ll bullet point my thoughts as I read Brad’s pointers (pointers in italics).

  • Don’t wear a jersey of a guy who is younger than you. Well, since the Sabres decided not to sign the 1,000 year old Dominik Hasek, I guess I’m stuck with Alumni #’s. I would be set with that, if only I hadn’t placed a LaFontaine name plate on a modern-era Sabres jersey – that’s apparently a “jersey foul” too, since he never wore that precise version of the Blue and Gold sweater. Whatever, dicks.
  • Be a little creative. Don’t get something that 6 of the 10 guys at your tailgate party will be wearing. Fantastic. That gives us 23 names (off the “active roster”) to be creative with. Hmm. I hear Sekera jersey sales are lagging.
  • Don’t get cute/Ironic. Sorry Andrej, looks like we’re narrowing the field back down to the WNY-preferred North American fold. That’s right: I went there. We hate Euros. Why? “Hockey IQ,” my ass.
  • Plan ahead. Screw this. All these guys are to eventually be traded away for, well, the next hot jersey promotion. Trust me. You’ll see the Sabres tweet the new guys’ threads on Twitter every time.
  • Consider body type – his and yours. I’ve been told I’m too tall for a Gerbe jersey. Screw that. Honey badger fears nothing. Disagree all you want: I’ve seen the body types in line for beer and nachos. How many of us are built like this? Oh, you work out? Shut up.

Brad’s cautionary list stops there. He did not make any of these rules up, and he was certainly not preaching them. But boy, he sure showed how ludicrous the social pitfalls of buying a jersey are like these days.

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This and $199.99 can get you mercilessly taunted by your own fan base. Because you are stupid. And the 50,000 guys wearing Miller jerseys are fucking brilliant. Whatever.

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