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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Complaining about jersey faux pas

Published: January 23, 2009
Section: Sports

In life, we encounter a number of unwritten codes for life and guidance in general situations, and nowhere is it more prevalent than in the clothes we wear for special events. For instance, white socks with dark shoes are a big no-no. Winged collar tuxedos belong in 1987, as does anything day glo, neon or skin tight and then of course, never go to a rock concert wearing the shirt of the band you’re seeing.

I say this because as a sports fan, especially with hockey, there are quite a number of unwritten codes of etiquette governing the choices you make regarding your replica jersey, whether in terms of customizing or just wearing to a random event.

1. Never customize a jersey with your name!

This is the cardinal rule. Nothing screams “tool” like walking around with a jersey customized with your name. You don’t play for the team, you never will, and therefore, no one gives a flying pig about your last name. You just wasted over $100, and infinitely worse, the time I spent trying to figure out who you were supposedly emulating that was playing.

2. Never customize the jersey to put an athlete on another team, or for that matter ,another sport

Unless the player was traded or suddenly became a two-sport athlete, there is really no point for this other than acting some desperate fantasy. Whether it’s having a number 23 LeBron James Cleveland Browns jersey or a Roberto Clemente Pittsburgh Penguins replica, it just doesn’t work and its just plain sad to see a LeBron James Knicks jersey. Maybe not so in two years ,but now – oh yeah.

3. Sports and politics don’t mix.

I was very surprised when I found someone had customized number 12 Washington Capitals jersey to say “Palin” as in “Sarah Palin, 2012.” NO! There is only number 12 to play for Washington, that is Peter Bondra. And for that matter, the only name that should be on the back of a number eight Capitals jersey is “Ovechkin.” I don’t care if it even is in support of a democrat, the answer is no. How would Boston react if someone wore a number 12 Patriots jersey that was customized to name some politician to send a message? The only message that needs to be sent at a game is “go (insert team here)!” You want to start a political rally, go somewhere else.

4. Pick a jersey and stick with it – don’t mix and match.

Lately what has become a trend is taking two different jerseys put putting them together in some sort of horror concocted out of a Mary Shelley novel. Pick a team and go for it, don’t have someone professionally mess up two perfectly good jerseys to make one awful one. Please note the one exception to this is Brady Quinn’s sister who is married to AJ Hawk and thus wore a jersey in college that was a combination of her brother (#10 for Notre Dame) and then fiancée (#47 for Ohio State).

5. Wearing a jersey for a team that isn’t even there.

I myself am a frequent violator of this rule. Not as egregious as the others, but it’s still kind of odd to go to a game wearing the jersey of a team that isn’t even playing. International events may be considered an exception.

These are my examples that I have learned mostly through gleaming blogs like Puck Daddy and DC Sports Bog. If any of you have other suggestions or for that matter, your own photographic evidence of such faux paux, send ‘em in the Brandeis Hoot.